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"T 71 THEN does this here Mike Horgan get out, 

VV Agnes?" 

James Tierney, Incorporated, formerly known in 
his old police headquarter days as Bonehead Tierney 
or Solid Ivory, pawed a bristly reddish-white mus- 
tache as he sat at his desk in his suite high above 
downtown New York, the guardian of the riches of as 
profitable a clientele as ever a private detective might 
desire. Some paunchiness had come with the years of 
fat living and there was a heave and roll above his 
collar in the back as a collop sought release from the 
conventions of dress ; yet his blue eyes were as keen as 
ever, the strength of his jaw showed beneath the 
plumpening cheeks and his interest in the game of 
man-hunting was never so great. 

Agnes Doherty placed before him a loose-leaf book 
of record. He turned to the H's and read: " 'Hor- 
gan, Michael, Burglar. Second Term.' I was sure 
his time was about up, ' ' he said as he made a memo, 
on a calendar before him. 

The sunshine of an early spring day filled the south 
windows of his private office on the twenty-third floor 




of the Eagle National Bank Building in Nassau street. 
As he swung about in his chair from the flat-top desk 
he gazed reflectively out over the tip of Manhattan 
Island, nosing its way between the two rivers into 
the sunlit bay like a great horned lizard. 

His heavy eyelids dropped and from one of the 
cortices of a camera-like brain came the picture of a 
tall, dark-complexioned man with deep-set gray eyes, 
narrow and aristocratic features and lips hinting a 
smile. A voice, too, came up to him from the well- 
ordered depths of his memory, a pleasing, kindly voice. 

"He ought never to be let out, Agnes," he said, 
turning to the girl who was busying herself with her 
powder rag. "First class help in our line of business 
is hard to get and he's clever. He's clever, that Hor- 
gan fellow. He's educated, too; maybe a college man 
with a kink in his brain." He fumbled with heavy 
fingers the correspondence before him and a smile 
came to his red countenance. "It wouldn't be sur- 
prising," he added. "They tell me they talk free love 
in these colleges as easy as they talk Latin and Yid- 
dish. But I ain't sure about that because the only 
college I went to was in old Mulberry street when 
McCafferty was inspector in charge of the bulls. 
However, as they say in the papers, love is property 
just the same as bonds and jewelry and cash. If they 
learn to be careless with taking a guy 's wife or daugh- 
ter they'll get to taking other things and it's the gen- 


tlemen with taking habits we're hired to keep track 
of. Ain't it so, Agnes?" 

"Sure." She folded away the powder rag and be- 
gan to prepare the tips of her fingers. 

"Who can we spare to send up to Sing Sing and 
shadow this Mike Horgan?" he asked. 

' ' Silk Hat Harry Duveen ? ' ' she suggested. 

He ridiculed the idea with a roar of laughter, star- 
ing at her like a surprised walrus with bristles and 
wet blue eyes. 

"Why, Horgan uncovered Silk Hat six or seven 
years ago," he protested. "Another thing about 
Harry is that he couldn't travel in the same class 
with this feller. Mike Horgan is a real gentleman and 
Harry is only a rhinestone. What we gotta do is to 
put some nice honest squarehead close to him to keep 
him company. Horgan will go straight for about 
three months and then he'll weaken on the honest 
toil. We'll be there when he does and shoot him back 
up the river. Then the burglar insurance companies 
can rest easy for a while. Get me?" 

"Sure." Agnes' carmined lips smiled her admira- 
tion for "B. H.," as she surreptitiously but affection- 
ately referred to him. "There's Gloomy," she sug- 

"Gloomy is the boy,'* he agreed. "They don't 
make 'em any more patient and pertinaish. . . ." He 


"Pertinacious," she assisted. 

"Pertinacious than Gloomy Cole. Get out the pic- 
tures and the records, stuff him up with them, hand 
him some expense kale, about two hundred smacks, 
and see that he gets on the right train for Sing Sing. 
Tell him to give me a report as soon as Mr. Mike Hor- 
gan hires a room for himself." He pulled out a dia- 
mond studded watch and studied it with pride, for it 
was a token of appreciation from a great bonding 
company for having run down a bank teller who had 
wearied of counting other people's money and had 
tried to retire with a dress-suit case full of treasury 

In his time there had been no better gum-shoe artist 
at police headquarters, despite the pet names given 
him. Stolid and without imagination, he dealt liter- 
ally with facts, but his brain was a sensitive plate and 
his eye the lens of a photographic machine. Of the fa- 
mous detective heroes of fiction he knew nothing, for 
there were too many crooks at large in the world to 
bother with those held between book covers. 

"Well, I got a luncheon of the Manufacturing 
Jewelers ' Association at twelve, ' ' he grunted. ' ' I got 
t watch those old boys or somebody '11 come along 
and take their watches and chains from 'em. They're 
certainly careless. They let in their help without 
ever thinking they might be hiring first-class dips and 
then yell when a crate of phoney lavallieres goes 


astray. I got to get 'em. to try and do better than 
that or they '11 have to hire another detective service. ' ' 

Agnes brushed his shoulders with the tips of her 
fingers as he buttoned his ready-made coat around his 
balcony, handed him his hat and assured him that she 
would stuff Gloomy Cole with the Horgan dope. 

"He's got lots of time," he informed her, "but he 
can be hanging around Ossining making friends and 
digesting what you give him. I don't want this 
Horgan to give us the slip." 


FOR a burglar, Michael Horgan had a singularly at- 
tractive face, long and narrow, with a well- 
shaped beak, wide mouth and gray eyes set w r ell back 
under a good forehead. Time, he was turning thirty- 
five, and a sense of fun had wrinkled his tan-colored 
skin at the outer corners of the eyes and laughter had 
seamed his thin cheeks. 

The "P. K.," which is the pet name for the prin- 
cipal keeper in Sing Sing, gave him a library job 
during his first term, a matter of two years, and, at 
his own request, detailed him to hospital and pharma- 
ceutical work when he showed up the second time. 
His prison behavior warranted these favors. In the 
gray-clad army of malefactors were physicians, law- 
yers, an excellent poet, an editor, several architects 
and artists, a number of ministers (in for bigamy) 
and other men of culture besides the raft of the un- 
lettered and uninspired. But Horgan seemed to lead 
the best of them in enthusiastic devotion to duty. He 
wrote a great deal in his spare moments and studied 
much. When his first bit was ended he hied him 
forth cheerfully with a bundle of manuscript under 
his arm only to return in a little more than twelve 



months, empty handed and with another stretch of 
three years in "stir" before him. 

Father Healey, the Catholic chaplain, who had taken 
many a condemned man through the little green door, 
far downstairs, and had helped his soul to its flight 
"through the wires," declared his conviction that 
Brother Michaelis, as he called Horgan, would have 
made a great saint or a great physician, a mender of 
human souls and bodies, were it not for the absurd 
theory he once offered that burglars might have been 
put on earth to help equalize the distribution of 
wealth, just as bees were created to carry pollen from 
flower to flower. Toward the end of his second term 
Brother Michaelis could have passed his examinations 
for a license to practise medicine in almost any State 
or country. From long and intelligent service, care- 
ful study in the library and keen observation in the 
operating room, he could, too, have acquitted himself 
well in surgery. 

He had never tried to escape. In fact he was a 
disk man, wearing a little white circle of cloth on his 
arm during all his first term to show that his conduct 
w r as perfect as a prisoner. Second term men wore a 
blue disk until they violated one of the many rules and 
regulations, when it was pierced. Horgan still had 
his blue disk inviolate as his second term drew to a 
close. The third disk would be red, a warning to his 
keepers that he was beyond redemption as far as the 


outside world was concerned, an habitual criminal, 
confined for life. 

Brother Michaelis accepted the kindly alias given 
him by the priest and went him one better by calling 
the walled city overlooking the Hudson the Monastery 
of La Trappe, a fitting enough name as many of the 
unwary wicked can testify. His supposed mania did 
not in the least trouble him while he was in retreat 
from the world, for the only treasure within reach of 
his hand, books, were his for the asking. Food, shel- 
ter and warmth were free. There was no landlord, no 
dunning butcher, no fellow human asking a heavy 
profit on the baggy clothes that covered his nakedness 
or the shoes that he wore. 

"It is a very interesting state of affairs," he con- 
fided to Father Healey as the time drew near when he 
would be free again. "It's very interesting that So- 
ciety has to turn the key on a man before it will pro- 
vide him with the simple essentials of life and that it 
will let him starve if he 's in ill luck but will give him 
a free grave when he dies. Georges Clemenceau, when 
he was a young man, once advocated a bill providing 
for free bread in the French Republic on the ground 
that if the State could afford to give a grave to a dead 
man, utterly useless, it might afford to give food to a 
live one from whom some economic gain might be had. ' ' 

"Brother Michaelis," laughed the padre, "if you'd 
start by saving yourself you might learn a thing or 


two about saving the rest of humanity. Tha next 
time you come here it will be for life, remember, and 
you're not an old man. Watch your step, brother. 
Watch your step." 

The convict's eyes clouded for a moment. 

''Remember, with burglars it's a case of three 
strikes and out," Father Healey called back over his 
shoulder. "There must be somebody in the big out- 
side sunny world that could be made happier for your 
presence and help. Think it over!" 

He thought it over as he moved about between the 
cots in the hospital, getting things in ship-shape for 
the night, as the barred patches of light crept from the 
floor to the wall and the sun sought its bed under the 
hills across the river. 

Bill, an old pal of the jimmy and drill, would be 
glad to see him, he thought, and so would Nancy, his 
wife, and their kid, Bubs. But Bill had reformed 
and was going straight, at least he was in the narrow 
path when he last heard from him on account of the 
boy. Bill had written. 

"Watcha lookin' so damned sad about, Mike?" 
came a weak voice from the cot nearest him. "Ain't 
your time most up? Take a slant at me. I got fif- 
teen years yet and the pneumonia." 

Brother Michaelis forced a smile as his relief came 
into the room and hurried out to report for supper 1 
call and his cell. 


ABOVE the Hudson, the Monastery of La Trappe, 
its walls, wide and high, illumined by huge arc 
lights, sat like a great scarab framed in diamonds. 
The narrow windows were dark and the shadowy vil- 
lage, straggling downhill, northward to the river, 
slept peacefully. 

Brother Michaelis, stretched out on the cot in his 
cell, still "thought it over." It was the way that 
Father Healey had put it that kept him awake. Some 
one might be happier for his presence in the great 
outside world. If there wasn't some one now, say 
if he found that Bill and Nancy and Bubs had forgot- 
ten him, he might come upon such a person in time, 
even a woman with love in her eyes, just as Bill had 
come upon his woman. 

Then, too, the next trip would be the last time in, 
until a brown-painted box was provided him instead 
of clothes and a hat. "I got fifteen years yet and 
the pneumonia." The words of the ill convict stuck 
in his mind. Poor Jim would never get out alive and 
he wasn't a bad sort at that. He'd only killed an 
enemy of his. From time to time Christian nations 
did that on a wholesale scale. 



The men in the cells in his section slept with sin- 
gular peacefulness. Their breathing was soft and 
regular, like that of healthy children. A regular 
tapping on the steam pipes in the corridor took his 
mind abruptly from his cogitations. Some other con- 
vict was awake and was sending out underground in- 
formation in the Morse code. Michaelis spelled out 
the prison gossip slowly. "Bill Preston killed on a 
job," was the news. It brought him to a sitting po- 
sition with a gasp of surprise and horror, for Preston 
was his long-tried Bill, Nancy's husband, and the fa- 
ther of Bubs. He twisted his lean fingers together as 
he spelled out the words that followed. "The bulls 
got him. Died in Fordham hospital. Said to tell M. 
to help Annie and the kid." 

A groan escaped his lips and the guard in the cor- 
ridor flashed his light in the cell. 

"What's the matter, old fellow? Sick?" 

"Yes," replied Michaelis. 

"Want the doctor?" 

"No." Horgan turned his face to the wall and 
pulled up his blanket. One of the three people who 
cared or might care about him was gone. He had seen 
Bill touched and ennobled by the fire of pure love. 
He had seen Nancy fan that flame with a devotion that 
brought its great reward when they married and her 
man took the narrow way. He had lived with them 
during the first year of their marriage. He had seen 


the first sweet radiance of motherhood on Nancy's 
face and had watched the little fists of the baby pound- 
ing at her breasts, making her blue eyes shine like 
amethysts. Nothing but terrible want could have 
made Bill go back to the old game. 

The morning came without Brother Michaelis having 
had a moment's rest. He soused his head in cold 
water and reported to the hospital for duty. 

"Jim's been asking for you," he was informed by 
the night orderly. "Him over there." He pointed 
to the convict who had "fifteen years to go and the 
pneumonia. " ' ' There ain 't anything can be done for 
him except by the carpenter, ' ' the other added. ' ' Bet- 
ter find out what he wants. He knows you're going 
out in a few days and maybe he wants to send a mes- 
sage to some of his people." 


THE man who had slain his enemy motioned to 
Michaelis to lean close to him. 

"I got a present for you, Mike," he whispered. 
"You been in twice and the next time . . . you know. 
Well, they'll get you back in again, Mike, never mind 
how straight you go. When I was taken sick I'd just 
finished a nice little job down back of the kitchen. 
Look in the wall of the last potato bin. There's a 
brick loose, held in place with chewing gum. Take it 
out and the others will come out. You'll find a little 
passage-way to the sewer that empties in the river. 
It 's an old brick sewer and I made a hole in the top. ' ' 

"I'm not coming back, Jim," Horgan assured him. 
"I'm going to go straight. You lie still like a good 

"We all say that," Jim whispered, his face drawn 
with pain. "You might go as straight as Father 
Healey himself, but you've been in twice and down 
at headquarters they've got your old mug and your 
measurements and your finger prints and when they 
want some one to put over a conviction on, you'll 
have a lovely time staying outside. Mike . . . Mike!" 



Each word was taking a moment from the little life 
left him. 

"Yes, Jim." 

"I'm telling you not to forget that potato bin," Jim 
continued. "It might take 'em a long time before 
they close in on you and you might be doing fine with 
a wife and children and going to church regular. 
Then you'll need that hole in the wall. . . . Say, 

"Yes, Jim." 

"You ever know of a woman that went crooked 
once and got any help when she started straight 

Brother Michaelis drew back from the cot, surprise 
at the question showing in his gray eyes. "I only 
knew one," he replied. 

"Was it her mother helped her?" 


"Her father?" 


"Who was it, Mike, helped her? Her husband?" 


"Who, then?" 

"A man who loved her and was her friend." 

"He didn't get what he wanted, eh?" A little 
flash of fire came to the dull eyes of the dying man. 
"I get it," he added. "I was one of them and so I 
killed the guy." 


"That's rough stuff, Jim, and you're a pretty sick 
man," remonstrated Michaelis. 

''You're educated, Mike, and I ain't. Excuse me. 
What I was thinking about was that if the world 
damns a woman for one mistake there ain't any man 
can expect any better, especially from his own kind. 
It's a matter of what's wrongest. With a woman it's 
a man. With a man it 's money or power. The more 
money and power the rich get the more laws they 
make to protect them from the poor and them that 
want to take some of it, one way or another, from 
them. Once you're caught trying to help yourself 
to what others got away with you're tabbed for life. 
Remember that potato bin, Mike." 

"You'd better keep quiet, now," urged Michaelis. 
Some of the gray of a bed of ashes on a cold hearth 
came to the face of Jim. He clamped his jaws to- 
gether and with tightly closed eyes tried to fight the 
death agony as the final hardening of his lungs, which 
would leave them like lumps of red granite, set in. 
Horgan held him to the cot during the last spasm and 
then sent a trusty to the carpenter shop. 


PROPERLY stuffed with "the dope" on Mike 
Horgan, Gloomy Cole joined him on the road 
which twists and dips from the Monastery of La 
Trappe to the railroad station in the village. His 
guise was that of a laborer; his powerful shoulders 
and back muscles were packed in a jacket which was 
far too small for him; a blue and white bandana 
served for baggage, holding two pork chop sand- 
wiches, a small tin cup, a package of tobacco and two 
pairs of socks. His pseudonym of Gloomy fitted his 
face, broad, colorless, sad, clean-shaven. There 
seemed too much of it as it spread out below a little 
derby hat and there didn't appear to be room enough 
above the eyebrows to hold more than enough brains 
to keep his brogans lifting over the road. But in the 
lapel of his straining jacket he wore an I. W. W. 
button, token of his membership in the organization 
nearest to sheer Anarchistic tenets. 

In the process of stuffing Gloomy, Agnes Doherty 
had described Horgan as a gentleman who was crazy 
in the head, a nut, but one which required a capable 
squirrel to handle when he got in action. ' ' The boss 
thinks he studied too hard or maybe his mother was 



a victim of kleptomania about the time he was born," 
Agnes had confided to the faceful Cole. "But as 
long as they don't keep him in a greenhouse, where 
all bugs should be, we gotta tail him because we're 
in the business of protecting people whose brains ain't 
twisted. His name ain't any more Horgan than 
mine is. Look at that long, horse face of his. It 
don't fit any Irish name. The boss says if he ain't 
from some old American family of English descent 
he'll eat his old hard hat." 

Gloomy jogged along the road in the smile of a 
fine May morning. Across the river the gently rising 
land was touched with the pale halo of new life, the 
young grass and the little leaves. Above, a satiny 
blue sky dotted with cotton balls. In every bush and 
nearby tree, even in the eaves of the tumble-down 
shacks lining the road, the birds sang in the full elo* 
quence of love at the year's youth. Thrush, robin, 
chat, sparrow, chickadee, bluebird and goldfinch made 
a blithe chorus of welcome for Michaelis as his long 
strides brought him beside the man with the wide 

"It's a fine morning!" he said cheerily as he fell 
in step with Cole. 

"For some people," agreed the gloomy one. 

"For everybody, I'd say." The conversation was 

"Damn if I'd say so," protested Cole bitterly. 


"There ain't jobs enough to go around. Last winter 
was hellish. Nothing to eat but the mission hand- 
outs, stale bread and weak coffee. And cops and 
bulls always a-plenty to make you move on the minute 
you thought you had a place for a flop." 

"What's your job?" asked Horgan, 

"Stationary engineer. It's a joke. The engines 
are stationary but the engineers ain't. Soon as you 
get comfortable on a job the building is finished and 
you got to dig out for another. And you never get 
paid right. The contractor gets all the money. Then 
the speculators get busy and make a lot of crooked 
profits, buying and selling the property. Everybody 
gets a large slice but the men who build the place. It 
ought to be the other way around." 

' ' Socialist ? ' ' asked Michaelis. 

"Not me." Gloomy spat angrily. 

"Union man?" 

"Not me. I'm against all of them. I hate the 
whole bunch. What we need is to simplify matters 
by (giving ownership to the people who create the 
products of industry, complete ownership. Then 
there wouldn't be any capitalist class. There 'd only 
be one class, the workers." 

They made the last turn of the road and descended 
the steep street running through Ossining to the rail- 
road station. 


"Which way, Bo?" asked Gloomy. 

1 'To New York." 

"Me, too." 

Each bought a ticket, the detective more than 
pleased with his progress. If the released burglar 
really was a radical they would be friends before they 
reached Grand Central station, for he knew how to 
talk the language of the malcontents of the world. 
He was, in fact, one of them at heart. 

"What's your business?" he asked Horgan, when 
they were comfortably in the smoker. 

"A student." 

"A student? Of what?" 

"Of anything and everything, people and other 
animals, governments, arts and sciences." 


"But mostly of people as I meet them. Of recent 
years, however, I have gotten around but little and 
my attention was confined entirely to those in my 
own class." 

"Laborers like me?" asked Gloomy. 

"In a way, perhaps, like you. They hated every- 
body but themselves." 


"Very much, so, advocates of direct action, jungle 

' ' Is that so ? " Gloomy Cole had a queer little feel- 


ing that this soft voiced man was stringing him. 
Plainly he meant to class him with convicts. Was it 
possible that Horgan suspected him? 

"But can you get a living out of being a student?" 
he hazarded. 

"After you've learned enough. Now, what I've 
been doing is this : taking a post-graduate course in a 
religious order, where I could study all I pleased and 
be fed and sheltered. Now that I have finished my 
preparation for life outside I am going to offer myself 
as the subject for a tremendous experiment." 

"I'll tell the cock-eyed world that Agnes is right 
when she says this guy's a nut," Gloomy thought. 
Then aloud: "What's the experiment, boss?" 

"I'm going to pay back to society what I owe it and 
see whether it will give a chap a fair start after his 
debts are cleaned up." 

"I don't get you. What'd you do to society?" 

"I was a thief." 

"Huh." Tierney's man did not like this honest 
statement. A lie would have been more to his taste, 
for he himself was lying. A little tightening about 
his heart suggested shame and some color crept to his 
broad face. "But you're going straight now?" he 
asked softly. 

"Yes." Horgan offered his shadow a cigarette. 
"You'll find that one the best you ever smoked." 

"Turkish, eh?" asked Cole, inhaling deeply. 


"A special brand I make for myself." 

"It's certainly a swell pill." 

They smoked in silence until Horgan hooked an 
elbow on the sill of the window and apparently pre- 
pared to take a nap. Gloomy studied his man with 
eyes that seemed to get heavier with each glance. 
The car was overheated. The steady click of the 
wheels under him added to his drowsiness. He fought 
to keep awake but at last surrendered, threw back 
his head and, with his Adam's apple jerking up and 
down, began to breathe heavily in deep slumber. 

Brother Michaelis stirred, glanced at the laborer be- 
side him with a smile, stepped lightly over him and, 
as the train slowed up at the Tremont station, dropped 
off and walked away from the tracks in the direction 
of Fordham. He had doped the cigarette in the 
prison pharmacy for just such an emergency if it 
should arise. 


JUST across the Harlem river from Fordham the 
Prestons lived in a tiny Bronx flat. Michael 
felt sure that had Nancy moved, following the death 
of her husband, she would have sent word to him. 
He struck out to the west. On his way he would stop 
by Fordham Hospital and ask information as to the 

His thoughts were sad, and yet not altogether so, 
as he made his way westward through the wide pleas- 
ant streets, past pretty gore-strip parks where many 
children played in the sunlight like butterflies; by 
stretches of undeveloped land where dandelions 
sparked and past occasional old farm houses that had 
escaped the scythe of the tenement builders. 

Nancy was a brave woman ; she had ever been that, 
and, to his eyes, was beautiful as she was brave. 
When she and the man who was to be her husband 
first met, her fine mass of hair was dyed the color of 
straw, her laughter a bit hard and her slang ready 
but when they had come through clean, one to the 
other, the love between them had saved them both. 
As poor Jim, dying in the agony of pneumonia, had 
said, it was a matter only of which was wrongest, 



with a woman it was a man and with a man money. 
He had stood strongly championing Nancy the night 
before they decided to get the license and plunge into 
the cold and unfathomed depths of respectability. 
She had not followed woman 's most ancient profession 
steadily for a living, but only when all legitimate 
means of getting her rent and food had failed. On 
the other hand, Bill Preston was a igrade or two lower, 
for it was not altogether through necessity that he 
violated the laws. He wanted easy money. 

The stately buildings of New York University came 
in view. He turned north from Burnside avenue on 
Aqueduct avenue toward the hospital. Trees and 
green lawns, ovals for the sports of young men, snug 
houses for the shelter of their teachers in the arts 
and sciences, noble buildings turreting above the land- 
scape, wherein was the peaceful quiet of people with 
thoughtful minds, held him entranced. From Uni- 
versity Heights he could see to the south the city lying 
in a silver veil, long and narrow, a peninsula of roofs 
from which pointed an occasional steeple mindful of 
a world after this where the wicked cease from trou- 
bling, according to Job, but where hell fire and real 
trouble just begin for them, according to dogmatists 
of various stripe to-day. The marts and habitations 
of nearly six million people, with their hopes, sorrows, 
sins, ambitions and disappointments, lay there in the 
haze made by their own chimneys. Underground and 


above ground and on the ground they hurried like 
mad for a dollar or two, cheating each other, stealing 
outright when they thought it safe, building up trick- 
eries to get other people's money within the law if 
they could, so that they might achieve "honor" as 
well as wealth; the courts sat daily and even nightly 
to untangle the poor fish from the heavy nets of the 
police, and the dark streams to jails, prisons and mad- 
houses ever grew wider ; the fish not yet caught in the 
net leaped high in the sunlight and showed their splen- 
did glitter and iridescence on Fifth avenue. Through 
Eleventh avenue they ran in heavy shoals, some taking 
the hook and bait and perishing and others not, but 
none ever striking upward and out of the current to 
the sunshine and luxury of six blocks east. 

Michaelis was going back to this game. It did not 
frighten him. It made him smile. Nancy and Bubs 
would be glad to see him. He would have two people 
in the world to help. The boy was six years old and 
would be calling him Uncle Michael and perhaps would 
really love him and put his little arms around his 
neck and snuggle with him cheek to cheek. 

He entered the office of the hospital and asked for 
his information, his dignity of bearing and the kindli- 
ness of his gray eyes getting him prompt service. He 
was informed that William Preston had died in the 
free ward three months before and the address of his 
widow was given him. It was the same address 


across the Harlem in the Inwood section. He was not 
informed of the cause of Bill's death and thought it 
better not to ask, as the office attendant evidently 
thought him a person far from the humble if exciting 
sphere his friend had occupied in life. 

Three months. Nancy and Bubs could come pretty 
near starving in that time, he thought, so he lost no 
time in crossing Fordham bridge and finding the little 
flat, three tiny rooms high up in a block of cheap 
apartment houses. The name Preston was still on the 
hall bell and he went up six flights of stairs with all 
speed when an answering click came to his ring. 

Her arms were bare and covered with soapsuds as 
Nancy appeared in the door. All of the straw-col- 
ored dye, save one streak above her right ear, had 
worn itself out and the soft dark natural color of her 
girlhood had returned. It did not bring into relief 
with the same brilliant effect her blue eyes but it 
made a different sort of beauty and a beauty sweeter 
to behold. 

"Michael!" He was sprayed with soap and water 
as her hands went up in astonishment and delight. 

' ' How is the boy, Nancy ? " he asked. 

She escorted him through a narrow hall to the 
kitchen where steaming and well-filled washtubs in- 
formed him how she was making a living. 

"Bubs is sleeping," she told him. "He didn't 
turn out a strong child. It's going to be a big fight 


to save him. But he knows all about his Uncle Mi- 
chael and he '11 be glad to see you when he wakes up. ' ' 

"And Bill? "he asked. 

"I didn't write you." She studied his face for a 
moment. "But you know. I got in word through 
a visitor and it was passed along. I was afraid the 
letter would be read, afraid they might follow you 
after you got out and I knew you would find your way 
back. ' ' She attacked the pile of washing with savage 
energy but kept the story going rapidly, hiding her 
tears from him as they splashed against the wringer 
over which she bent. 

"We had an awful time last winter," she said. 
"Somebody down in Wall street wanted somebody 
else's steamship lines or railroads and went out after 
them. By the time he got what he wanted a dozen 
banks were in trouble, some bank presidents gone to 
Paris, business was upset, building was held up, the 
flour market was cornered, the beef barons made up 
their losses with a little addition to cheaper cuts and 
. . . you know." 

"And Bill couldn't get a job?" 

"He could not. The boy was awful bad. He just 
had to eat, Michael." 

' ' Can you make me down a bed and give me a lodg- 
ing as in the old times ? " he asked. " I '11 go out and 
get something for lunch." 


"You are sure you weren't followed?" she asked, 
anxiously. "They never gave my Bill a chance." 

"I think that I was," he replied, "but I lost the 
shadow. ' ' 

She followed him to the door. Suddenly her 
strength left her and the tears streamed down her 

"Now, Nancy," he remonstrated. He put a hand 
on her shoulder and kissed her on the cheek. 

"They ain't tears, Michael," she smiled. "That's 
perspiration. Hurry back." 


GLOOMY COLE, sometimes called The Gloom, 
Old Face, and Tombstone by his associates in 
the employ of James Tierney, Incorporated, entered 
the assembly room of his boss 's suite and made himself 
as inconspicuous as possible among the many opera- 
tives awaiting assignments to cases or the opportunity 
to report on work done. He had taken time to go 
by his lodging and lay aside the laborer's garb and 
the I. W. W. badge with which he had hoped to trick 
Mike Horgan. 

There was lots of time as far as he was concerned. 
He would have gladly postponed his entrance into the 
private office of "B. H.," as he referred to Tierney 
in abbreviation of his old police sobriquet of Bone- 
head, until the day of judgment. 

Gloomy kept his ears cocked for information con- 
cerning the mood of his employer. What he got was 
not encouraging. The men leaving the inner sanctum 
passed the word along that Bonehead was taking turns 
at eating the carpet and gnawing the solid mahogany 

"What's the trouble with him?" the man sitting 


next to the depressed one asked one of these in- 

"A guy he was just getting the goods on strong 
gives him the slip this morning," was the reply. 

"Himself?" asked Gloomy, hopefully. 

"Give Tierney the slip?" gasped the operative. 
"Not much. Nobody ever gives him the slip. It was 
poor Willie Dunham got in wrong and he's been 

The door of the private office flew open and Tier- 
ney 's walrus-like face appeared in it. An eye long 
trained for quick work swept the room and picked 
out Cole. The jaw of the boss dropped in sur- 

"Whatcher doin' there?" he demanded. 

"Come to report," replied Gloomy, weakly. 

"Walk in." 

Tierney closed the door behind his man and went 
to his revolving chair at a flat-top desk. 


As usual, the unfortunate Cole found himself sit- 
ting with the sunlight shining full on his face while 
his boss sat with the sun warming comfortably the fat 
on his neck. There was no way to hide a lie from 
him in that glare. He could catch the lightest change 
of expression, the most fleeting shadow that might 
come to the eyes of the man before him. 

"I joined him just as he come out of Sing Sing and 


we struck up a conversation on the way to the rail- 
road sta ..." 

"Where is he now?" broke in Tierney abruptly. 

' ' We got on the train together and was talking when 
he gave me a Turkish cigarette ..." 

"I ask you where this gentleman crook with the 
twisted brain who calls himself Michael Horgan is 
now . . . this minute." 

"And I took a few puffs and then." Gloomy Cole 
opened his large hands and held them palm outward 
toward his boss. Tierney knew what had happened. 

"He doped you and got away." 

"He did." 

' ' Did you give him the two hundred smacks expense 
money I told Agnes to let you have ? ' ' asked Tierney, 
leaning over and pretending to be in breathless 
anxiety to get the money. "Did you hand it over 
to him with our compliments and tell him J. Tierney 
was hired by the bankers and jewelry makers and ice 
cutters of Maiden Lane, New York City, New York, 
U. S. A., to help along poor persecuted second term 
burglars? Did yah?" 

"When I woke up," answered the patient, broad- 
faced operative, "I counted the money and found i 
all there. And here it is." He slapped a wad of 
ten twenty dollar bills on Tierney 's desk, paying not 
the slightest heed to his ironical outbursts. Tierney 
studied his man with interest. He might as well have 


tried to get a rise out of the statue of Liberty with a 
toothpick for a lever. Gloomy was a stolid one, his 
own type of the old police days. 

"I'm asking you if you can explain to me how it 
was you ever got back here with those oak leaves?" 
he begged, holding out the crisp yellow notes. "Did 
you have a cop escort you?" 

"I thought I'd hike back up the fine and inquire 
at the stations around Tremont for him," Gloomy 
continued, "but second thought brought me here to 
ask you if you had any more dope about his people so I 
might hunt for a line among them." 

"Say, I could murder you for this fine piece of 
work," snorted Tierney, "but it wouldn't do any 
good and it would be too expensive, with Agnes com- 
ing around for contributions for a floral wreath. I'm 
going to keep you out after Horgan. There ain 't any 
relatives I can find, for Horgan ain't his right name. 
He's come from some high-and-mighties in this town 
and they're laying low. Only once did any inquiry 
come to the police about a man suiting his description 
and that was made by a lawyer who for giving infor- 
mation has a clam talking like a United States Sena- 
tor when he 's wound up tight. That man would ache 
all over if a judge compelled him to give a direct an- 
swer to 'What's to-morrow?' ' 

"Gimme a tip on what to do, boss?" asked Gloomy, 
relieved beyond measure. 


"Git up to Sing Sing and find out all you can 
about what Horgan done during his bit. He might 
have trained himself for some outside job and that 
would cut down the field some. Find out if he ever 
wrote to anybody or got any letters. Find out every- 
thing you can and then come back." 

"Thank you." Gloomy twiddled his derby in his 
fingers as he paused at the door. "I thought me job 
was gone." 

"Don't mention it," replied Tierney. "If you 
had more brains I would have fired you. But you've 
learned your lesson. Next time you get on a subject 
sink your teeth in like a bulldog and don 't let anything 
shake you loose, hunger, cold, money, sleep, nothin'. 
Hop along." 


AT first Michael had dreams of a place in a drug 
store. He tried every chemist's shop in the 
Bronx without success although in several he could 
have landed had he been able to give recommendations 
as to his honesty. 

"It's no easy job to break from one profession to 
another, Nancy," he said one morning as he stared 
out of the kitchen window across a descending plain 
of tin roofs and jutting scuttles to the Hudson and the 
high-rising Palisades on the Jersey side. 

"I know it," she replied. 

"Swedenborg even went so far as to establish class 
circles in heaven," he mused aloud. 

"Some of those foreigners are sure smart people," 
she agreed from the steam of the tubs. "In the old 
days my man would generally bring in five or six of 
them in the course of a year, Wops, Harps, Heinies, 
and even a Chink once, a disciple of Confusion, I 
think he said he was." She dried her hands and 
arms and stirred a pot of oatmeal on the glowing stove. 

"I think it was staring over there at the Palisades," 
he continued, "that made me think of Swedenborg. 
In his work on 'Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell,' 
he says that the angels of the Celestial Kingdom dwell 



on the mountain tops; the merely second rate angels 
occupy the hills and the what-you-might-call the scrub 
angels, just as all we countless common people might 
hope to get to be, dwell in places that appear like 
ledges of stone. I rather like that idea, especially as 
he points out that rocks signify Faith. ' ' 

Nancy waved back her tumbling hair with its sheaf 
of straw and joined him for a moment at the window, 
her cheeks filled with roses from the toil over stove 
and tubs. 

"We could be right comfortable over there," she 
informed him, gazing wistfully at the great gray and 
brown wall across the river. "Think of all the beau- 
tiful country, the fresh air and fields over the top. 
Bubs would be a little man inside of a year if we could 
live in the open. If I owned as much land over there 
as a table cloth would cover I'd make the table cloth 
into a tent and off we'd go." 

' ' Speaking of angels, high and low, large and small, 
Nancy," he asked, his lean face illumined with a 
smile, ' ' how is Bubs this morning ? ' ' 

"The oatmeal is ready and if you'll take it to him 
you can find out yourself. ' ' 

With the oatmeal bowl, Michael tiptoed down a nar- 
row hall to the door of a closet-like room. He gave 
three slow raps and then two quick ones. 

"Who goes there?" demanded a feeble voice. 

"Brother Michaelis, who has traveled far." 


"Have you the word and the countersign?" 

"I have." 

"Give me the word." 

"Allaeazar. Allacazam. Hokus-pokus. Conju- 

"Enter with the countersign." 

Bubsy had pulled himself up on one elbow and was 
frowning toward the door. His curls stood up about 
his little ears like the lather of a shampoo. His thin 
face, white as paper, was as beautiful as the petal of a 
freesia and his eyes were deeper blue than his mother's, 
a true violet. 

"Viands, Worshipful Sir," said the pilgrim, with a 
deep obeisance. 

"Gee!" The little lad fell back on his pillow, his 
hands, like blue-veined marble, motionless. "I don't 
feel hungry, Michaelis." 

"But it's against the laws and orders of the broth- 
erhood not to be hungry at eight in the morning," 
urged Horgan, gently. He sat on the edge of the 
bed and lifted the boy in his left arm, feeding him the 
first spoonful. "There's real cream for you! That 
stuff would put fat on a tenpenny nail. And the 
sun's shining outside. That's the boy. Clean it up 
and lick the bowl and there '11 be no medicine go down 
you to spoil it. Honor bright." He kept up the 
liveliest patter until Bubs had cleaned the bowl and 
was laughing as he allowed himself to be dressed. 


Never did he slacken his flow of slang and elegant 
phrases, mixed in a hodgepodge of nonsense and wis- 
dom, but several times Michaelis bowed his head over 
the little pipe-stem legs and his eyes became moist. 
All the boy needed was plenty of good food and 
plenty of fresh air to fight off the gnawing little white 
devils in his veins, but everything else in the world 
seemed easier to get than those two things. It was a 
pity that burglars had never formed a benevolent and 
protective association or a fraternal order with funds 
to provide for the bereaved dependents of members In 
good standing, he thought. Policemen had such an 
organization and they were no less liable to sudden 

"Did he eat it?" came from the mother down the 

"He did, and polished the plate," called back Hor- 
gan. "And now we are off for an elegant stroll down 
by the river." 

At the door of the flat Nancy gave him fifteen cents 
and asked him to get a piece of chuck steak on the 
way back for the boy's broth. 

Michael laughed as he slipped the dime and nickel 
into a pocket of his well worn but neat trousers. 

"And go by that jewelry factory and see if there's 
anything doing on that job," she suggested. "I feel 
it in rny bones that there's a good salary coming to 
you before long." 


AFTER two hours they returned, Bubs on the 
back of his faithful friend. 

Brother Michaelis gave the three long and two 
short knocks on the door and then getting on all fours, 
with Bubs astride his back, pretended to be a knight's 
charger, neighing and pawing and then romping into 
the narrow corridor clear back to the kitchen. 

"Where's the meat?" demanded Nancy. 

"In the saddle bag," replied Bubs, pulling a small 
package from his friend's pocket and dismounting. 

Michael's long face was bright with smiles as he 
rose and brushed off his knees. "And I landed the 
job!" he announced. "Five dollars a day and only 
eight hours work, half day Saturday and all day Sun- 
day. The rest of our lives will be a picnic. And it 
is a beautiful place to work in, bubbling pots of gold 
and silver for plating, boxes of bright gems to set, 
pink cotton and plush cases, rings and things every- 
where, to be sold by the gross. And all I have to do 
is to keep the machinery oiled and tuned up. It will 
be having fun at thirty a week. ' ' 

Nancy was overjoyed by the news. Times had been 
bitterly hard and for awhile she had feared that her 



husband's old friend would never be able to find a 
way of earning his living honestly. Her hands trem- 
bled as she cut up the little piece of meat and prepared 
the broth. 

Michael, staring out of the window toward the 
Palisades, was even more grateful. "You know, 
Nancy," he said slowly, "I think those scrub angels 
of the rocky places have got a better chance than the 
higher class angels of helping out the folks they left 
behind. They're not so far away as the others. I 
can imagine old Bill looking over the edge of a boulder 
and straining his eyes in our direction. ' ' He glanced 
around. Bubs had gone to another room. ' ' It might 
sound ridiculous to some people to imagine a burglar 
edging into heaven, but those people who think it 
absurd have forgotten the last act of the Savior on 
the Cross, His promise to the thieves on either side of 

"Yes, Michael." 

"Now we've got a good start to make something out 
of Bubs and we'll just get down to the job and give 
the world something worth while in him. He '11 square 
our account with humanity." 

' ' You Ve been a father to Bubs, ' ' she said. ' ' You 've 
just snatched him from the grave and you know how 
he loves you . . . more than he loves me. . . . You 
couldn't do anything to set him back. Could you?" 

"Nothing. And never could you, Nancy." 


THE pantry of the Widow Preston fairly bulged 
with good things to eat after Michael's second 
pay day. With the third pay day, the three acquired 
clothes and shoes and on the afternoon of the fourth 
pay day they had a picnic on the Jersey side of the 
river, crossing on the Dyckman street ferry. Summer 
was advancing and the foliage crowning the Palisades 
was thick and brilliant. They sought and found little 
paths made by adventurous city youths which took 
them high up the great wall cutting them off from 
the wide-spreading country to the west. Michael, 
with his long arms and legs, could have made the top 
with ease, as many a boy from the Bronx and Harlem 
had made it, but the cries of Bubs and his mother 
brought him back to thrill them at the river's edge 
with tales of great mountains and canyons he had 
read of in his library days. 

Color began to come to the cheeks of the lad. The 
food and the fun and the fresh air were telling. Mi- 
chael knew that if his financial status did not change, 
the boy was saved and he had come to love him so 
and to be loved so by him that he felt that were the 



treasures of Golconda opened before him and all the 
policemen and detectives in the world were in conven- 
tion assembled at Omsk or some other such remote 
place he would not have even the slightest desire to 
consort with the old companions of earlier days. He 
had finished with them. 

He whistled and sang at his work and the foreman 
of the factory liked him and trusted him. His higher 
intelligence was recognized and he was advanced and 
given a position in the shipping department at five 
dollars more a week. Here he handled thousands of 
dollars' worth of jewelry each day. 

So far he had not come across any one who had 
known him in the old times and his past life seemed 
well buried. Away from work he was never without 
his faithful little pilgrim, Bubs, and, save for their 
little journeys to the further shore of the river, he 
was content to remain close to their neighborhood. 
The people crowding the little corner stores thought 
he was the boy's father and he was happy to have them 
think so. 

The end of June had come. Toward the close of the 
day's work, two strangers entered the factory and in- 
quired for the general manager's office. They were 
clean-shaven men approaching middle age, with a pe- 
culiar turn of their palms backward as they walked 
and with a heavy stride. They were so clearly the 
physical type of New York detectives that had they 


entered shouting aloud their occupation an experi- 
enced crook could not have been better warned. One 
was of Italian and one of Irish descent, an easy work- 
ing team evidently. Michael Horgan knew them both, 
Vegas and Murphy of the Bronx Bureau. He ducked 
behind a pile of boxes instinctively. There could be 
only one reason for their visit some one in the factory 
had been stealing and although he was innocent of 
any thought of wrong-doing Horgan realized that the 
end of his little paradise was at hand. They knew 
him and his record. There was time for him to reach 
the flat and tell Nancy and the boy good-by. But he 
dared not try it. The pay-master had his address, a 
description of him would be easy to give, for his long 
narrow face, his gangly structure, his ready smile, his 
love for children and strays of all sorts, his amusing 
patter and other idiosyncrasies marked him sharply 
against the common run of the employees. 

An ex-convict in a jewelry factory! He could 
imagine Vegas and Murphy breaking the news to the 
management. It was useless to remain. If all the 
saints, celestial, middle-class and scrubs, came to his 
assistance their evidence would be laughed to scorn 
at police headquarters. 

Bubs would be waiting for him in another hour. 
He had promised him instruction in a new ritual, 
that of the Legion of the Come-Back-and-Put-It -Over. 
He managed to get his hat without any one seeing him 


and to slip to the street. He coughed and struck 
his chest several times to try and get rid of a hard, 
choking feeling as he hurried in the opposite direction 
from the homeward path he had trod so faithfully and 
happily of late. 


MICHAEL, giving his great experiment a fair 
and honest start, had not tried to sail under 
false colors with his first job. The firm employing 
him had his name, Horgan, and his right address. 
Vegas and Murphy would want no further evidence 
than his two convictions. "Whoever had been doing 
the stealing was safe from them. The big net would 
be thrown out for the old brother of the Monastery 
of La Trappe who had been a novice in the world 
of honesty and respectability for a little while only 
to be made the fox in a chase. 

And what a net it was ! Michael knew the style of 
its weaving, for he had studied it at close range. A 
telephone message to detective headquarters would 
send men with his description to every one of the great 
city's outlets, men from the bureaus and police sta- 
tions nearest the railroad terminals and steamship 
lines, so that not a moment would be wasted. Every 
platoon of city cops lined up for inspection and de- 
tail for duty would be given that description and a 
look at his photographs, full face and profile. In the 
streets of New York ten thousand men would be on 
the lookout for him. To the nearer cities in which he 



might seek refuge, should he dodge through the first 
lines successfully, telegraphic descriptions would be 
rushed, to be followed later by printed matter ; incom- 
ing trains in these cities would be watched. Mile by 
mile the net would spread in all directions, finally tak- 
ing in all cities, towns and villages large enough to 
boast a shanty of a police station with a bulletin board 
and then the little post-offices of hamlets would be 
placarded with his photographs and a reward-offer 
that would enlist the interest of bucolic cupidity. 

For a time his heart was heavy as he thought of 
Nancy and Bubs waiting in vain for him that evening. 
He had made her give up the back-breaking washtubs 
as a means of living and Nancy had responded to the 
little measure of comfort and security against want as 
a tired flower will to a cup of water. And Bubs! 
Why, the lad had pink cheeks and round ones at that ! 
Good food and good fun with Uncle Michael had ral- 
lied the army of red corpuscles within him and the 
dreadful white hordes were in fast retreat. He would 
miss his mother's laugh of happiness as much as he 
would the joy of his namesake's companionship. 

But there would be a far worse state of affairs for 
them if the pack struck his trail and ran him to earth. 
Three strikes and out, he remembered, was the rule 
for burglars. He was brought to full realization of 
his peril, as he hurried through side streets toward the 
Hudson river, by catching a glimpse of a familiar 


back in a little crowd leaving the subway station at 
Dyckman street. On stepping from the curb, the man 
turned his head to watch for passing vehicles with the 
unconscious swiftness which is the possession of the 
New Yorker. It was the broad-faced shadow he had 
put to sleep in the coach coming down from Ossining. 
He drew to cover and watched him. He hurried east 
in the direction of the jewelry factory. Three men 
who knew him were already on the job. 

The safest outlet from the city was the Dyckman 
street ferry to the Jersey side. If he kept away from 
Englewood, the nearest city of any considerable size, 
with its one police station, he would be comparatively 
safe from the placarding for time enough, perhaps, 
in which to change his appearance with a beard and a 
different style of clothes and headgear. It was the 
season of the year when labor was in demand for sub- 
urban building. He might find a hiding place along 
the wooded Palisades and with it a job upon which he 
could sustain himself. To get in touch with Nancy 
was a matter that required the most careful thought, 
for her mail would be watched closely and her every 
step dogged for weeks if not months to come. 

A few yards from the ferry he got a lift from the 
driver of a motor truck, slipped him his fare and a 
half dollar and remained hidden under the hood until 
the river was crossed and the winding ascent of the 
cliffs made safely. There was no one in sight as he 


dropped from the front of the vehicle and started 
northward along the road close to the precipice. 

Although he did not know it, he had crossed the 
State line between New Jersey and New York, run- 
ning east of the old town of Tappan, when night came, 
and was back in the jurisdiction of his pursuers when 
he looked about for a place to sleep. A tiny village, 
far from the Northern Railroad, which runs through 
the valley .lying west of the Palisades, dozed in the 
pleasant early summer evening. From its perch high 
above the gently flowing stream, which pays no heed 
to either the shadows of New York's bridges and the 
careless dead from its gutters or the beauty of the 
shore of the Sleepy Hollow land, the little gathering 
of friendly houses looked across to Dobbs Ferry. A 
bell tolled solemnly the news that it was eight o'clock 
and time for the meeting at the fire house or the 
church. Dogs bayed the sound. 

Michael made a detour and as the stars reached their 
fullest brilliance and a meteor burned a pencil's path 
across the vast he found shelter in a little summer 
house tucked between two great gray boulders. Pull- 
ing his coat about his ears he stretched out on a bench 
to sleep with the scrub angels, the smile coming back 
to his lean countenance as he thought that the spirit 
of Bill might be nigh. 


THE sun and the matin chorus of the birds awak- 
ened him. The morning was faultless; the sky 
as beautifully blue as Nancy 's eyes ; the river a broad 
band of silver ribbon ; dew glistened on the leaves of 
the trees and the petals of daisies while the golden 
buttercups brimmed with it ; a humming bird, a shim- 
mer of green satin, paused in the air on its thunder- 
ing wings to empty one of the exquisite goblets; a 
friendly chipmunk sat upright on a rock near Michael 
and gave him a look of approval. He brushed out 
his clothes and took a careful survey of the territory. 
To the south was the tiny village he had detoured. 
To the north an Italian villa in process of building. 
Nearer him were the overgrown foundations of a coun- 
try house that had been destroyed by fire. The little 
structure in which he had taken shelter had belonged 
to it. Evidently no one ever visited this little refuge, 
unless the birds could be counted on as visitors. Their 
homes were tucked in all corners of it and the cheep of 
their fledglings could be heard demanding breakfast. 
With a blanket and a pillow, a pail for water, a towel 
and soap he could live well there until winter came. 



Willow branches could be woven into a fine wall 
against wind and rain on the weather sides. 

A steam whistle clamored from the direction of the 
new country seat and it was time for him to go and ask 
for a job. He found that, because of the isolation of 
the site, the contractor was having great trouble in 
keeping enough men on his pay roll to carry the 
building along on schedule. He hailed Michael gladly. 
Was he a skilled worker? Could he use trowel and 
mortar board? Michael was sure that he could lay 
mortar with the next man. He might be slow and 
bungling the first day or two but after that he would 
be all right. He had been sick a long time, he said, 
but was well and strong again. He was hired on the 

A boy in primary school can learn to use a plumb 
line and level in a day. Michael learned it in an hour 
and when the whistle blew at twelve o'clock he was 
laying brick with speed and skill and a light heart 
although his fingers were bleeding and his back ached 
a little. Mortar smeared his clothes and hat and little 
splashes of it were on his face. He was glad of it. 
He hurried down the road to the little village, found 
its store and laid in a stock of provisions that would 
last him several days. He was already established in 
the neighborhood as one of the workmen "up the 
road." His passport was the mortar on his face, 
hands and clothes. Toil with the hands and the marks 


of it will admit honest man or knave unquestioned to 
any town. 

The contractor was a kindly but shrewd man. Most 
of the laborers working for him came from distant 
towns and that meant time out of bed not paid for. 
They were sullen in consequence. Michael was smil- 
ing and eager for the task and always the first man 
on the job. 

"If you have any relatives would like to work on 
this job," the contractor said one day to him, "bring 
them along and as sure as my name is Dan Burns 
they'll work for me until I croak. I've got jobs 
enough to last until the snow flies." 

Burns watched the new mason tap a brick neatly 
down in the mortar as he waited for an answer. Mi- 
chael was about to tell him that he had no relatives 
when a plan for getting in touch with Nancy entered 
his mind. 

1 ' I only have a sister, ' ' he replied. ' ' She 's a widow 
with a boy six years old and needs work. She 's a fine 
laundress and housekeeper." 

"I have a job waiting for her at home," replied 
Dan Burns. "If she is a steady worker she'll be a 
member of the family for life and never know want." 

"I'll try and get her address," Michael told him. 
"It may take a little while, though.'* 

Every night for more than a week he studied the 
problem of getting in touch with Nancy without giv- 


ing his pursuers a chance to strike his trail. It would 
have to be tried some time, for she and the boy would 
need the money he could earn and send them by a 
plan yet to be devised. Once he ground his teeth and 
clenched his fist in his refuge among the rocks as he 
thought of Bubs losing what he had gained in his 
fight against the little white devils in his blood. The 
law asked too much when it demanded his clean little 
life. He and Nancy were legitimate game for the 
hunt but poor little Bubs ! In a large school pad he 
had bought in the village store he wrote down ' ' Some 
of the greatest handicaps to the pursuit of human hap- 
piness are those caused by lack of vision. The law 
has no vision, no foresight; only hindsight. It is a 
rigid thing, a very thick wall with each brick a su- 
preme court decision laid carefully on the foundation 
of the ten commandments and the additional com- 
mandments reaching up to the last thin layer of city 
ordinances saying: 'Thou shalt not carry a lighted 
cigar, pipe or cigarette in the subway,' and 'Thou 
shalt not throw waste paper in the streets. ' ' ' 

Thinking that his great experiment promised well, 
that he would be given a chance to go straight and 
serve some good purpose in the world after having 
paid his debt, he had spent most of the money earned 
in the jewelry factory on much needed comforts. The 
two people in the world he loved and was loved by 
would soon be in want. His week 's pay burned in his 


pocket. He dared not mail it from the village and 
he dared not travel any distance in order to mail it 
from some other town. There was one way. Bill 
Preston's way in the old days, a code message through 
the personal column of the one New York paper which 
Nancy read. He could send such a message with the 
money to pay for it and have Dan Burns mail it for 
him when he reached the city. It would be impossible 
for the detectives to trace this, he felt sure. 

The next evening he gave Burns the letter to the 
business office of the newspaper and asked him to mail 
it when he was on his way home in his machine. 


NANCY PRESTON'S little Bronx flat was amply 
covered for the police department by Vegas and 
Murphy, plain clothes men with a fine record for team 
work. For James Tierney, Incorporated, Gloomy 
Cole and another operative took the job in eight-hour 
shifts. It was only a matter of patience, a little ex- 
pense money and salary day coming around regularly. 

"If Gloomy had only held on to that Horgan guy," 
reflected Tierney, comfortable in his private office in 
the skyscraper section of New York, "the Bronx 
Jewelry Makers Corporation wouldn't have given a 
good job to a two-term man." 

"And they one of our best regular customers," 
added Agnes Doherty, beside him with pad on her 
knee and vanity bag handy. 

"And putting him in the shipping department!" 
exclaimed "B. H." "All he had to do there was 
to change the address of the largest shipment so a pal 
could gather it in. By the time the express company 
unwound enough red tape to start looking for it other 
shipments would have followed and then Horgan 
would have strolled on to the next bunch of Incorpo- 
rated suckers. ' ' 



"But we got the woman," hopefully reminded 

' ' Oh, yes. And a pretty one, too. There never was 
a likelier one stepped Sixth avenue of an evening. 
She with her straw-colored hair shining out through 
fog, snow or rain and showing off her blue eyes under 
the sailor hat. Some girl, Nancy, and she was the 
last one you'd think would quit the game and go 
straight as a string. We used to watch her on account 
of Bill Preston. But she married Bill. And it shows 
you, Agnes, how careful you got to be in this busi- 
ness. Even when the two of them was living on the 
square we kept tabs on Bill and so when he started 
crooked again we were right there with him and got 
him. We got him!" 

"He's off the books now, isn't he?" she asked. 

Tierney swung in his chair and stared from his 
sunlit window out beyond Manhattan Island to the 
bay where silver heels were kicking between the Bat- 
tery and Liberty. Sure, Bill Preston was off the 
books, he reflected, but it was his own fault. He 
pulled his gat when cornered. 

"Anything else?" asked Agnes, folding up her note 

"Nuthiny he grunted, but stirred himself from 
his reflections before she reached the door and shouted 
to her to wait a minute. 


"You got the personals clipped?" he asked. 
"Bring 'em in and I'll look 'em over." 

Pasted on separate clips of paper, the personal ad- 
vertisements printed in each morning paper were laid 
before him. He began a careful study of each, check- 
ing it off as he hunted what might be a hidden message 
from one crook to another. Out of the crop he got one 
that held him. It read: 

"Straw. Dan fires. Houses of Harlem. 
Home. Ting-a-ling. Housekeeper. Uncle." 

For a long time Tierney stared at the little two-line 
advertisement, pawing with a mighty right hand at 
his bristles. Then he clipped it clear of the others 
and pasted it on a sheet by itself. "Have I got 
something ? " he asked himself, repeating the words of 
the code slowly. Again he swung in his chair and 
stared out at the dancing silver heels with unseeing 
eyes, his fat fingers laced behind his round reddish- 
gray hair. 

' ' Straw ! " he shouted finally. ' ' That 's her. Nancy 
Preston with her straw-colored hair. Bill used to 
call her that. Straw! That's Nancy! Uncle! 
Maybe the kid called Horgan that. Maybe he did. 
That's just what a kid would call his dad's friend 
living in the same house." A smile of happiness 
came to his lips. He was beginning to feel as if he 


would show results to another client who paid him an- 
nually a good fat retainer for keeping the gentlemen 
of the night from taking his pretty things. "Now 
then. ' ' He came out of his doping stage and began to 
reason the possible relativity of this jumble of words 
to conditions surrounding Nancy and Michael. 

Dan fires. . . . What was Dan firing? They were 
not in the arson line, just plain burglary. Fires stood 
for a name. It might be Burns. Houses of Harlem. 
... It was an address Michael was sending, but there 
were lots of houses in Harlem and that meant nothing 
in the way of direction. Perhaps it was Dan Burns' 
business. He might be a builder in Harlem. Home. 
Ting-a-ling. . . . That was easy. It meant, "Look 
up his home in the telephone book." 

He acted on the advice and found Dan Burns, 
Builder, in the book, his office address and number 
and also his home address and number. 

"I guess we'll get Mr. Horgan," he said as he 
hurled the telephone directory into a corner of the 
room, his soul exulting. 


ONE day, while Michael was anxiously waiting 
results of his attempt to get in touch with 
Nancy, Dan Burns gave him the plans of the villa 
and asked him to take the place of his foreman who 
had failed to show up. 

"Eight here is where we've got to do careful work," 
he advised over the ground floor drawings. ' ' In this 
wall of the sitting room you see what looks like a 
closet. Well, it ain't a closet. The door will be hid- 
den and only the plain blank wall will show. It's a 
hiding place for the old geezer's money and silver 
and diamonds. The owner of this house is taking 
no chances with burglars and he is one of these old 
misers who likes to have a fortune in cash stored away 
in case all the banks go wrong or there's a revolution 
or anything like that. The door swings open at the 
touch of a button and a little conduit protects the 
wires so they'll be safe from mice and wear and tear. 
The button sets in the wall over here under the wall 
paper and I guess he aims to hang a picture over the 
spot to guard against somebody accidentally touching 
it. Nearly all these fine houses have a vault like this 



but generally they depend on the old-fashioned tum- 
blers to open and shut it. ' ' 

Michael followed the contractor closely and prom- 
ised to put the finishing touches on the job him- 

"This is a remote place to have a lot of money 
stored," he suggested. 

"If he had any brains he'd leave it all in his New 
York bank, ' ' laughed Burns, ' ' but this old money hog 
has been at the grabbing game so long that he can't 
go a day without the feel of the stuff in his hands. 
Honest. I been to see him about this house dozens of 
times. He's got a private office where he can watch* 
his cashier all during business hours and his eyes and 
mouth water whenever two gold pieces clink together. 
Down in "Wall street they say he's so rich he couldn't 
begin to figure out where he stands." 

"I don't envy him." 

"Me either. But I'm doing all I can to relieve 
him of some of the load. ' ' 

The contractor was turning away when he remem- 
bered something. "Your sister was on the telephone 
this morning and I come near forgetting to tell you," 
he said. Michael hid his anxiety with an effort. 
"She's coming around to-night to talk with my wife 
about the job. I hope she takes it. If you want to 
send her any message you'd better write it out for I 
might forget it." 


"Thank you. I'll write one for you before we 
knock off. I'd like to send her some money." 

As he worked on the vault for the Wall street man, 
Michael gave careful thought to the form of the letter 
he would write Nancy. His heart, at times, beat very 
fast. She was so brave and kind, so wholesome and 
sweet, despite all the past. Struggle and sorrow had, 
indeed, brought out the gold within her. The dross 
had been burned away in the furnace. And Bubs, 
the very thought of the lad, brought a hint of tears to 
his eyes. How the boy adored him ! 

At noon he hurried to his summer house refuge and 
wrote this letter which he sealed with all his cash and, 
later, gave to the contractor. 

"Dear Nancy: 

' ' Burn this as soon as you read it. Do not, by 
any means, take it a step from the house. Chew 
it and swallow it if necessary. I am working 
for Mr. Burns out in New Jersey, not far away, 
but it is too early yet for us to try and see each 
other. The bulls are hard after me. Some one 
in the jewelry factory was a thief and the mo- 
ment I saw the men from headquarters enter the 
place I knew they would hold me on the two old 
convictions. Even if there was a chance of my 
winning in court the odds were too great to risk, 
a life term if convicted. So I had to get away 
in a hurry. Take the place with Mr. Burns. I 
am going to do the best I can to shake myself 
free and if I do am going to try for a degree in 
medicine in some distant city and start prac- 


tising. I don't know whether it pays to try to 
help the souls of people. Perhaps they haven't 
got any. But I'll know about that when my 
great experiment is ended and may write down 
the result. I know that you will not believe me 
guilty for a moment. Don 't try to get in touch 
with me. Take the job and hang to it for the 
boy 's sake. Press him to your breast for me, my 
dear, my dear." 

That night he went to the edge of the high cliff and 
strained his eyes to the south where the lights of New 
York made a great white blister in the sky, shutting 
off the stars above. 


JAMES TIERNEY, Incorporated, put two men on 
the house of Daniel Burns, Builder. It was no 
mean house, for the Burns family had prospered. 
They had long passed the apartment stage of existence 
and their residence, in what might be called a fashion- 
able section of the upper West Side, often boasted 
its line of automobiles when Mrs. Burns entertained. 
Her guests, occasionally noted in the Sunday news : 
papers under the discreet general heading of "Fur- 
ther Happenings in Society," to distinguish their so- 
cial caliber from events of like nature given by the 
Fifth avenue folk, included such notables as Supreme 
Court Justice Felix Muldoon, Surrogate Francis X. 
Muldoon, City Chamberlain Grattan Muldoon, Com- 
missioner of Charities Aloysius Clancey, Coroner's 
Physician Martin Lacey and always, bringing up the 
end magnificently, City Magistrate De Peyster Schuyl- 
kill, of the true Knickerbocker strain, a part of whose 
obligation to Tammany was social. 

Mrs. Burns even knew some of the most widely ad- 
vertised celebrities of the divorce courts by their first 
names and had served on committees with them, her 
name being printed with theirs. Daniel didn 't mind, 



for he liked all humanity in his big way, unless it was 
of the Reform element in politics, and, with his ad- 
vancing fortunes had bought his wife "a truck load" 
of silver for the table and a van load of large hats 
and highly colored gowns for her wardrobe. 

Tierney chuckled when his man Gloomy Cole re- 
ported that "Straw" Nancy had taken a job as house- 
keeper with the Daniel Burnses, had sold out her few 
household belongings, given up her little flat and 
washtubs and with her boy was snugly sheltered on the 
top floor of the contractor's home. 

Nancy had managed to give the slip to the head- 
quarters men, Vegas and Murphy, but not to Gloomy, 
who had to redeem himself for the cigarette episode. 
This pleased Tierney. He could now lead the hunt 
with his own pack without fear of having his trails 

"Agnes," he laughed, "I knew Daniel Burns when 
he was just Danny Burns with one horse and a small 
truck hardly big enough to carry a half dozen two-by- 
fours. Some morning he'll wake up with his St. 
Patrick's Day silk hat and his wife's tarara gone, 
along with all the gold dishes and Bedelia's grand 
opera jewels worth the ransom of a United States 
consul in Mexico." 

"They do fly high, don't they?" Agnes joined his 

"They do," he agreed, "but their engine is skip- 


ping and if they ain 't careful they '11 make an expen- 
sive landing. There was never a better lay-out for a 
big job. A jane inside and a gun outside. Believe 
you me, I'm going to close in on 'em right now. 
Gimme me derby. ' ' He reached in the top right hand 
drawei of his desk and lifted out an automatic which 
he slipped in his hip pocket. 

"Gimme that list of contracts Danny is putting 
through," he ordered as he placed his hat at a slight 
angle before a wall mirror. "Tell old Texas Darcy 
to pack his gun and get down in the runabout. If I 
ain't mistaken that Italian villa over in Jersey is 
about where we'll get Mr. Horgan." 

"Is he desperate?" asked Agnes. 

"Dunno, yet. But he'll have to go some to beat 
Texas to it. I Ve seen that old crap shooter roll a tin 
can up the road with his gat. Good-by, Agnes. I'll 
telephone you when to tell Gloomy to walk in on Mrs. 
Burns and break the news to her and take 'Straw' 
Nancy to the West Hundredth street station." 


A SENSE of neatness as well as of economy made 
Michael purchase a pair of working trousers 
and a flannel shirt in the village. The suit in which 
he had escaped from the jewelry factory he cleaned 
as best he could and folded away in waterproof sheath- 
ing paper under the bench in the abandoned summer 
house. Later, when the time came for him to make a 
start for some distant city, he would have money 
enough to equip himself with the proper garments. 
But that time would not be until the pictures of him- 
self placarding police stations and postoffices had 
grown dim and cops and cupidous people had wearied 
of looking at them. His beard was of slow growth 
and thin and seemed rather to accentuate his lean dis- 
tinguished features than to blur them. 

The day before he was to receive his first communi- 
cation from Nancy was a Sunday. After making him- 
self some coffee in the shelter of the donkey engine, 
used in hoisting stone lintels into place as the villa 
rose under the hands of his fellow masons, he ex- 
plored carefully the brink of the Palisades. Intuition 
or the natural caution of the hunted animal made him 
seek an avenue of escape that would not be known to 



possible pursuers. There were no little paths down 
the steep precipice to the river like those that he and 
Bubs had found near the Dyckman ferry. The black 
rock jutted out here and there in ledges to which one 
might leap if desperately driven, places where eagles 
could find refuge but not man. At the forge, where 
the tools of the workmen were sharpened, he could 
fashion a grappling hook and, with a rope attached, 
he might manage to descend to the base of the cliff. 
He determined to try his hand at this during the com- 
ing week. He returned to his shelter and spent the 
day writing in his school pad. One passage he 
scratched out and then wrote in again : "The hunt 
is the oldest of the sports of man. If it so deadens 
a human being's sensibilities that he can kill with 
joy a she-bear or doe, harmless in its own wild sur- 
roundings, and deprive its young of the mother 's milk, 
what must it do to him who hunts his own kind ? ' ' 

In the evening he watched the reflection of the sun- 
set over the mansioned hills of Dobbs Ferry and Tar- 
rytown, beheld the pale stars appear between little 
clouds with golden edges against the deepening blue 
and listened to the evening songs and, later, the bed 
calls of the birds. As night came and the chorus of 
insects stridulated on the summer air he turned his 
face southward and stared at the white apophysis in 
the sky above New York. The blister whitened and 
widened as the full glare of the countless lights of the 


city of six million was achieved. Far below him the 
placid Hudson reflected the stars; back of him 
stretched a belt of heavily wooded land and beyond 
this the spreading acres of the open, starlit, fragrant, 
peaceful, where were the friendly lights of cottage 

He returned to the willow thatched shelter between 
the boulders and, not daring to use a light for fear of 
attracting the attention of some village couple caught 
in the gossamer net of love, stretched on his bench and 
slept with his "scrub angels." 

The morning air, when he jumped to his feet with 
the first beam of the sun, was heavy with the incense 
of growing, blossoming things. The blood tingled in 
his veins and he could not but think of the contrast 
of a free life in the open and the life behind stone 
and steel a little way up the river. If men inclined 
to offend the laws, he thought, could but realize what 
they had in the earth itself, the sky, the stars, the 
wind and rain, the sunrises and sunsets, the glorious 
trees and pleasant fields, healthy, simple tasks await- 
ing them on every hand, and then imagine the shift 
to a cell, a constant gray light, toil without remunera- 
tion, the shuff-shuff-shuff of thousands of feet over 
the stone floors to and from the cell corridors, to eat, 
to work, to sleep, there would be no deliberate crime. 
A shudder passed through him. It would be worse 
than death, and the big net from police headquarters 


by this time had been spread the country over to catch 
his fleeing feet, trip him and hold him until the courts 
sent him back for life. For life ! 

The whistle of the donkey engine took him to his 
task on the villa, now risen a story and a half with 
its miser's vault all finished save for the placement 
of the secret door. 

Burns came out from the city early and with a grin 
of delight handed him a note. It was from Nancy. 
"She's doin' fine," he informed him, "an' we couldn't 
get along without her. ' ' 

It was too early for her to run such a chance, Mi- 
chael thought, as he drew aside from the other workers 
and opened the envelope. He read with quick glances 
over his shoulder from time to time : 


"For God's sake beat it. The house is 
watched. The bulls may follow Mr. Burns any 
day. I thought I had lost them. I know you 're 
running straight. Don 't worry about me. Just 
get away from there. Bubs is fine but if they 
get you it will kill me. 


Down the highway from the village came at high 
speed a runabout. Before Michael could seek cover, 
it was in the road leading up to the house and within 
a few feet of him. A heavily built man with bristly 
mustache and reddish hair touche? with gray was 


standing with the door open, searching every work- 
man's face. The other, trim of build, of fair com- 
plexion and with sharp rat-like features, had hopped 
from behind the wheel to the ground. 

"There he is!" Tierney's heavy forefinger was 
leveled straight toward Michael. 


"T X THAT'S all this?" shouted Dan Burns. His 
V V workmen dropped their tools to gape at the 
little drama unfolding before them. 

' ' Git 'em up ! Git 'em up ! " shouted Texas Darcy, 
his nervous cigarette stained fingers twitching as he 
pushed an automatic against Michael's stomach. His 
sharp features were tight with an eagerness to slay. 

Michael's answer was to seize his wrist and twist 
the weapon aside as he fired. With the report, Tier- 
ney dropped in his seat in the runabout, his face white, 
a stream of blood coursing from a wound in the right 
jaw. The bullet had struck a rock and in its deflec- 
tion had grazed the detective. Michael and Tierney 's 
man went to the ground in a clinch, the workmen 
scattering out of range. As they fought, Michael for 
his life and Darcy to free his pistol hand, Tierney re- 
covered from the shock of his wound and, drawing his 
pistol, slid from the machine to hurl his igreat weight 
into the fray. 

Burns was no coward and although he knew Tier- 
ney and his business he was not the kind of man to 
stand by and see murder done in the name of the law. 
"Just a minute!" he cried, catching Darcy by the 



back of the neck and dragging him from Michael's 
arms. "Git back there, Jim!" Tierney, dazed by 
the fury that had swept over him with the warm flow 
of blood, obeyed and the contractor protected Michael 
from further attack. Tierney pulled a pair of hand- 
cuffs from his coat pocket. "I got a warrant for this 
thief," he panted. "You're making a mistake, 
Danny. If he wants to resist, we're here to give him 
a fight." 

There wasn't the faintest chance of escape. Mi- 
chael held out his hands and in a second the steel 
bracelets were snapped on his wrists. Darcy threw 
open the rumble seat of the car and motioned the 
prisoner to get in beside his employer. "And if you 
as much as turn your head," he warned, "I'll put a 
bullet through the base of your skull. ' ' Tierney 
wiped the blood from his cheek and threw in his 

"Mr. Burns!" Michael called to the contractor. 
"Give her a fair chance, won't you? Before God I'm 

"Your sister?" he asked. 

"Sister!" laughed Tierney. "Say, Danny Burns, 
that woman in your house ain't his sister. She's an 
old timer and so is this guy. But you won't have to 
bother about that. She won't be there when you get 
home. I'll want you as a witness to-morrow morn- 


"I don't know anything about either of them," re- 
plied Burns. 

"But you saw the fight he put up, I .guess," re- 
minded Tierney, "and a little charge of felonious as- 
sault goes along with this robbery case, I guess. ' ' 

The machine was off in a cloud of dust for the 
ferry, Darcy reminding Michael of his peril by occa- 
sionally touching him between the shoulders with his 
pistol. At the Fort Lee ferry house Tierney hand- 
cuffed his prisoner to Darcy while he telephoned 
Agnes Doherty. 

"Tell Cole to git Straw Nancy around to the sta- 
tion on a charge of aiding and abetting or something 
like that," he instructed his secretary. "If Mrs. 
Burns makes a row just break the news to her that 
she's an old customer. Maybe if Gloomy tells her to 
look at that yellow streak in her hair she'll be able 
to dope it out." 


EXCEPT for such minor details as preventing 
Michael Horgan from getting bail and arrang- 
ing the evidence for the district attorney's office, 
Gloomy Cole, when he was informed of the arrest, felt 
assured that the clean-up of the case would come with 
the locking up of Nancy Preston. It had been a long 
watch and when he received the word from Tierney's 
office to "make the collar" he stepped to the task 
with a lighter heart than his wide and dismal counte- 
nance could possibly suggest. 

All afternoon there had been visitors to the Burns' 
home, for it was the receiving day of the contractor's 
wife. Tammany's elite had rolled up and entered 
and lively music from the open windows of the draw- 
ing room told of dancing and a merry enough party. 
In the forenoon an expressman had called for the 
family baggage and it was evident that the next day 
would see Mrs. Burns and her two half-grown daugh- 
ters off to the seashore. Trailing the tribe in its 
hegira would not have been so simple a job. Cole 
was grateful that his chief had closed in on his man 
and with his usual efficiency was putting the ease 



safely away for the summer months at any rate. With 
the court recesses coming on, there would be no chance 
of a trial before autumn, but the clever gentleman 
burglar who had doped him with a cigarette would be 
safe in the Tombs for the interim and probably Nancy 
Preston as snugly put away. 

The butler was serving refreshments when Gloomy 
pressed the button at the head of the brownstone steps. 
Nancy, in a maid 's dress, a bit of lace resting as lightly 
as a white butterfly in her brown hair, her blue eyes 
as clear and bright as those of a girl of sixteen, an- 
swered the door. She recognized the shadow immedi- 
ately and knew that Michael had not gotten her warn- 
ing in time. Her first thought was of Bubs, playing 
in her comfortable room on the top floor. She had 
just left him, after slipping from her duties for a 
moment to put her arms about his little body and steal 
a kiss. If this sinister looking man took her away, 
what would become of him? Panic came to her 
heart and she stood staring at Tierney's operative 
with pitifully white face, her knees shaking under her. 

"What is it, please?" she managed to ask. For 
answer he moved his coat slightly so that she could 
see the badge pinned beneath it. 

"Who do you want to see?" 

"I want you to come with me," he said. "There 
ain't no use in making trouble. Get your hat and 


take off your apron. There's a man on the job back 
of the house. You can't get away." 

"Me?" she asked. "What have I done? I'm 
working here for a living for my little boy and my- 

"Interfering with the due process of law," he an- 
swered glibly enough. "Helping a burglar to get 
away. Better come along without making a row." 

Nancy held herself to her feet by clinging to the 
edge of the open door. "For Christ's sake," she 
pleaded, "have some heart. I've been a clean honest 
woman for seven years. If you lock me up what will 
my little boy do ? He isn 't strong like most children. 
If you separate him from me it will put him in his 
grave. You'll murder him . . . you'll murder him." 
The tears were flowing down her cheeks as she looked 
in vain for a sign of compassion in the face of the 
man in the door. Suddenly a black curtain fell be- 
fore her eyes and she dropped to the floor of the 

"Hey!" called Cole as the butler entered the hall* 
"Get Mrs. Burns quick. I don't want to break up no 
party here." 

"What's the matter?" the butler demanded, pick- 
ing up Nancy in his arms. 

"I'm arresting this woman. Take her in that room 
back there and call the missus." He pointed to a 


little cubby hole at the end of the hall where Dan 
Burns was wont to welcome the less socially ambitious 
of his friends. 

In a few moments the contractor 's wife joined them, 
Cole closing the door behind her. 

"Excuse me, Mrs. Burns," he began, "but I've got 
this girl under arrest and she's fainted." 

"Under arrest?" she repeated. "What has she 
done?" Nancy lay like a dead woman on a lounge 
against the wall. 

"She's mixed up with a burglar named Mike Hor- 
gan," Cole explained. 

"A burglar!" Mrs. Burns was horrified. The 
music of the dance and the laughter of her guests 
came faintly to them through the heavy mahogany 
door. "This is horrible!" she whispered. "My 
guests cannot be offended with such an intrusion. 
Get her out of here as quickly as possible. Take her 
downstairs and out at the servants' door. Quick 
about it." Her anger began to rise. "And if you 
bungle the job Mr. Burns will have to know the rea- 
son why," she warned. 

"She'll come around in a minute, ma'am," said the 
butler, loosening Nancy's waist and chafing her 
wrists. Cole's prisoner opened her eyes slowly and 
closed them again. A moan escaped her bloodless 

"Can you sit up now, Nancy?" asked the butler. 


She struggled to an elbow and looked about her. 
"Where's my Bubsy?" she asked faintly. "I was 
dreaming something happened to him." 

"He's all right." The butler helped her to a sit- 
ting position.. 

"What's the matter?" she asked and then, catch- 
ing sight of Cole, she remembered and turned in an 
appeal to the mistress of the house. "He's taking 
me away and I haven't done anything; not a thing, 
ma'am. Before God, I'm a clean straight woman. 
If they lock me up what '11 happen to my boy?" 

Under her fine clothes and the hardly acquired 
polish of her prosperous days, the mother instinct in 
Mrs. Burns was stirred. She turned to Cole. "This 
girl has been a faithful worker and is honest as far as 
I know," she said. 

"Maybe," agreed Cole, "but she's been running 
with an old burglar and the two of them might have 
cleaned out the house any time if we hadn't been 
watching them." 

"I can hardly believe that." 

"It's a lie, Mrs. Burns," sobbed Nancy. 

"And she's an old street- walker besides. They 
used to call her Straw Nancy." Cole annihilated any 
remote chance of Nancy getting help from her mis- 
tress. "See, there's some of the yellow dye still in her 
hair. Not much," he added, "but there's enough to 
show you why she got that name." 


"A street- walker!" The mistress of the house 
thought of her two girls. ' ' Get her out of here ! ' ' 

"But my little boy, Mrs. Burns," begged Nancy, 
falling to her knees. 

"We'll attend to that," Cole said, picking her up 
and half carrying her to the stairs leading to the 
basement. "I'll take him around to the Gerry So- 
ciety." One of his hands went quickly over her face 
to stifle the scream of despair this news would cause. 
In the humble walks of New York City life, where the 
love-tie is powerful between mother and child, strong 
through all vicissitudes and even viciousness, fear of 
this institution is greater than the fear of death. 

Nancy fought like a tigress for her whelp until once 
again the merciful black curtain descended. In a 
taxi, the stolid, efficient, emotionless operative of 
James Tierney, Incorporated, bolstered the senseless 
form of the mother in a corner and took her to the 
police station. 


Burns family went to their cottage by the 
* sea for the hot July and August weather, all ex- 
cept Danny, who put off his vacation until the splen- 
did villa on the brink of the Palisades opposite Dobbs 
Ferry was ready for its owner, who was eager to spend 
the autumn on his new estate. 

The rusty Criminal Courts building on Centre 
street, in downtown New York, was practically de- 
serted, save for the idlers in the pay of the city and 
county subpo3na servers, coroners' clerks, janitors, 
slovenly and insolent elevator men, a handful of news- 
paper reporters and copy boys and a drifting stream 
of anxious men and women concerned with the fate 
of loved ones hopelessly lost in overcrowded dockets 
while the judges were away resting. The broad stairs 
and dark floors of the cracked and seamed temple of 
justice gathered dirt and rubbish and the evil odor of 
uncleanliness. The talk in the corridors was of politics 
of assembly district and precinct caliber and of small 
jobs. The eloquence of street cleaners and sewer men, 
of rum-smelling heelers and henchmen, freighted with 
filthy words, rose high. In the Tombs, joined to the 
building by the Bridge of Sighs, Brother Michaelis of 



the Convent of La Trappe was kept close to his cell 
with a minimum of exercise on warning from Police 
Headquarters that he was "a bad actor." Not many 
blocks away Nancy Preston was held a prisoner in the 
House of Detention, a place especially designed for 
people against whom the Criminal Statutes might not 
be invoked directly but whose freedom might cause 
worry to those engaged in preparing prosecutions for 
the fall term of court. It kept the bandage over the 
eyes of Justice tilted upward just a little on one side. 

A little further uptown and still east of Broadway, 
Bubs was a prisoner in the care of the Children's So- 
ciety pending the return to the city of the summer 
swallows. Everybody who was anybody had igone to 
the sea or the mountains. The nobodies fell into the 
lock-step of Manhattan at the rush hours as usual 
and at night panted and sweated at open windows or 
on fire escapes. Some of the more desperate, down in 
the East Side, slept on the sidewalks after midnight, 
their young offspring stark naked beside them. 

Nancy cried for her little lad until her heart was 
left dry and hard. Then she sat still and white save 
when a sigh too deep for her strength of body and 
soul threw her into a spell of trembling and set her 
pretty face twitching. 

At the beginning of September came a welcome re- 
liet. The House of Detention received for safe-keep- 
ing a gorgeously dressed and painted female of care- 


fully concealed middle-age. Her remarks were fluent 
and strong as she prepared to make herself at home 
for the time of her stay. Her anger worked off, she 
finally undertook to make the acquaintance of her 
fellow prisoners and even went further by inaugurat- 
ing an afternoon social affair with a greasy deck of 
cards, the game being "Rummy." 

"My name's Mazy Lamont," she announced. 
"Hazy Mazy." 

Nancy looked up and studied the woman's face. 

' ' They 've got me wrong as usual, ' ' continued Hazy 
Mazy. "There ain't a bird in this little town playing 
in worse luck than me. If they'd only pinched me a 
week ago I'd been all right. I had the money then 
for my bondsman but I was clean broke when this 
trouble started." 

The Rummy game was not yet under way. Nancy 
left her chair by the barred window and went to the 

"Do you remember me?" she asked. 

"No," replied Mazy after a careful scrutiny. 

"How's Jennie?" 

"What do you know about Jennie?" demanded 
Mazy, startled. 

"If my hair was yellow, would you remember me?" 

Mazy studied Nancy 's blue eyes. ' ' You ain 't Straw 
Nancy what went straight ? ' ' she asked. 



"Oh, my God!" The tears sprang to the eyes that 
had been so brazenly cold and Mazy 's arms went about 
the shoulders of the broken little mother of Bubs. 

"You poor dear, you poor dear," she exclaimed in 
her sympathy. "Tell me what's the matter." They 
drew aside from the other women. 

"I must get a bondsman," Nancy told her. 
"They've taken my little boy to the Gerry Society and 
he's not strong. They might give him all the medi- 
cine and food in the world but he's never been out of 
my arms a night since he was born and his little heart 
will be broken." 

"Gee!" cried Mazy, her eyes wide with wonder. 
"I didn't know you had a baby, Nancy. Where's 
your man?" 


" Oh ! And what you in f or f " 

"As a witness against a friend, a good friend, the 
only one I've got on earth." 

"And they'll put it to you if you don't come across 
against him." 

"It's my little one, Mazy, I'm fighting for. I must 
get to him. I've got to get him back. You have 
your Jennie. ' ' 

Mazy Lament's colored finger tips went to her tem- 
ples under the bronze puffs of hair and her lips trem- 
bled. "When she got control of herself she sat closer 
to Nancy in their corner and whispered: "I got to 


tell you, Nancy. I got to tell somebody." Nancy 
took one of her hands and held it tightly. "My Jen- 
nie's finished boarding school and has met a young 
man. I ain't seen her in five years and I'm afraid 
to go near her. She would know, Nancy. She would 
know with one look what kind of a mother she's got." 
Her painted cheeks were wet. ' ' If I could only get a 
good look at her and touch her hand maybe or hear 
her say something, Nancy! But I'm afraid. All I 
could do was to send them the money and say it was 
from an aunt. It was sending her all I had for the 
wedding that broke me and got me in here. They're 
going to be married this month, before I get out of 
this place. I was thinking I might go to the church 
and sneak up in the gallery and see them. It's out 
in the country a few miles. She'll have a fine white 
veil and orange blossoms. I sent them myself with a 
beautiful organdie dress and I was going to buy the 
bonnet. . . . Oh, my God, Nancy, my God, Nancy . . . 
me a poor prostitute buying wedding clothes! Oh, 
Nancy, if I could only see her just once." 

"If we could get a bondsman," suggested Nancy. 
"There was Luther Littsky. What became of him?" 

"Littsky?" she repeated dully, drying her eyes. 
" Littsky 's a rich man, made it in girls; arrested a 
dozen times and beat 'em out every time with his 
money; the witnesses weren't locked up on him and 
they got theirs and beat it." 


"If I could get word to him," Nancy suggested. 

"Oh, yes, I remember!" cried Mazy. "That little 
beast always liked you a lot. He was wild when he 
heard you'd gone straight." 

"I've got to go to my boy, Mazy. Can you reach 

"I dunno; maybe." 

"And you might get to ... to ... the wedding." 


DETECTIVE headquarters was on the wire. 
Tierney lost no time in clapping the receiver of 
his telephone instrument to his ear and Agnes lifted 
her fingers from the board of her typewriter. 

"You say Miska put up the bond for her?" he 
asked after getting the message. "Well, ain't he 
one of them Broadway gonophs? Ain't he the one 
who runs the art and antique shop? Sure I know 
him. . . . Sure I know he's got money. . . . Put up 
a real estate bond, did he?" He paused to wipe the 
perspiration from his forehead, hitching himself with 
his elbow closer and closer to his desk, fearful of losing 
a word. When headquarters gave him a chance to 
break in again he was purple with rage. "Well, I'll 
just spill you somethin'," he all but screamed into the 
instrument, "Straw Nancy will beat it unless you 
keep that kid of hers tied up safe somewhere ! What ? 
They let her have him? Good night and thanks for 
the lobster!" He dropped the receiver in place and 
swung about in his chair. Agnes 's fingers began 
flying over the keys. "Cut out the tick-tacks," he 
snapped. "Is Cole outside? Send kim in and beat 
it for your lunch. ' ' 



"Lookit!" Tierney began as Gloomy slid into a 
chair. "Straw Nancy is out and has her kid. 
There's money back of her. You know Miska, who 
sells fresh antiques on Broadway ? ' ' Gloomy nodded. 
"Is he banking for any burglars just now?" 

"No. But his partner, Luther Littsky, might be." 

"Oh, Luther is his partner, is he? Lemme see, 
lemme see." He stared out the window for a igood 
three minutes. ' ' Say, maybe Nancy sold out to him, ' ' 
he muttered. ' ' With rings and stuff on her and those 
blue eyes she'd look all right to Littsky. I'll say 
she would." He mulled this theory as Gloomy sat 
staring at the floor. "Say," he began aloud. "She 
was straight a long time. If she's selling out to help 
Horgan she must have fell in love with him. And 
it's some price for a woman to pay, although they'll 
pay it if it's the last card." 

"Maybe, it's her kid she's paying for," suggested 
Gloomy without lifting his eyes. 

"Huh." They were silent for several moments. 
"She fought like a hell cat when I told her I'd take 
him to the Gerry Society," reminded Tierney 's aide. 
"And all night she screamed and yelled in the sta- 
tion cell." 

"Well," decided Tierney, "we ain't aiming to put 
her away anyhow. It's Mike Horgan we're after." 

"And I (guess we've got him good and tight," 
added Cole. 


"Is that feller Hindman what saw him change the 
address on the box of stuff in the shipping room stick- 
ing to his story?" 


"And the driver of the wagon can swear Mike put 
that box on himself ? ' ' 


"And you got the witness to prove he lit out the 
minute Vegas and Murphy showed up?" 

"I got a dozen of 'em." 

' ' Then I guess we can go to the bat with this case. 
We don't want any adjournments, y 'understand. 
Have everybody in court in plenty of time." 

"They'll all be there." 

"Has Mike got a lawyer?" 

Gloomy shook his head. 

"I wonder if the guy at the other end of that rob- 
bery sold him out?" Tierney pondered this possi- 
bility. That sort of thing seldom happened. Crooks 
always stuck together to the last ditch. Then his pale 
eyes twinkled. "Gloomy," he laughed, "I got a 
right to that name Bonehead. There '11 be a lawyer in 
court for Horgan. Just watch. We got Nancy so 
quick she didn't get a chance to pass along the word 
to the right party with the bank roll. But she man- 
aged it from the House of Detention. He'll have a 
lawyer all right. Littsky is the man with the bundle 
for this bunch of crooks. You just stick around and 


watc~ him from now on. He hangs out in the lobby 
of that hotel where the wiretappers stop, right in the 
center of the bright lights. You can tell him by 
his lean black jaw. He's got a beard that takes three 
barbers to shave off every morning and eyebrows so 
black and strong you could use the hair for needles. 
He dresses in the latest style and his hands and feet 
are pretty like a woman 's. The bulls at headquarters 
all know him and all the girls know him." 

"I never was in on any white slave case," Cole ex- 
plained with a hint of apology for his ignorance. 
"But I can pick him up." 

"Go to it." 

With Gloomy 's departure, Tierney fell to dreaming 
out of the window again. ' ' I 'm sure a Bonehead, ' ' he 
laughed. "I should have let Straw Nancy stay right 
where she was and put Agnes in the house to watch 
her. Then we might have landed the whole bunch. 
But it does seem funny that Littsky is gone in with 
the yeggs. That ain't his line. I wonder if he's 
after Nancy. I wonder if he wants her bad enough 
to get real estate put up for her." 


LUTHER LITTSKY'S money was as good in New 
York City as the money of Trinity Church Cor- 
poration. It opened the door of the House of Deten- 
tion for Nancy and Hazy Mazy Lament and did it in 
a perfectly legitimate way. It also took Bubs from 
the care of the Gerry Society and furnished him and 
his mother a shelter in one of the many rooming 
houses in the Fifties west of Broadway, where sinners 
occasionally rub elbows with a stray saint to the help 
of the latter 's understanding. It aided in a miracle 
as blessed as that which turned another woman from 
the highway to become a companion of the Mother of 
the founder of Christianity, in that it bought a cake 
of soap for Miss Lament. Layers of paint were 
scrubbed from her face and much charcoal washed 
from her lashes. Her gaudy clothes and pin-heel 
shoes were laid aside. From the corner of the gal- 
lery in a little church not many miles from Forty- 
second street, she saw her daughter radiantly happy 
in the white organdie dress and from an upper win- 
dow watched her schoolmates shower her and her hus- 
band with rice as they drove away. Then she re- 
turned to New York to share Nancy's room. 



"I can't tell you about it for a week, Nancy. I'd 
holler so the landlady would throw us out." Mazy 
drew Bubs to her lap. "But I'm done. I'm goin' 
out after a job and be respectable." For a moment 
she studied her reflection in the warped bureau mirror. 
"God!" she exclaimed, "I didn't know I was getting 
as old as that. ' ' Then she studied Nancy 's face for a 
moment and sighed. "Look it, Nancy," she ex- 
claimed. "You're as pretty as a picture! There's 
something in your eyes never was there in the old 
days. I guess it was having Bubs to love, having him 
close to you all the time." 

A knock at the door ended her conjecture. Against 
the gloom of the hall the figure of Luther Littsky 
appeared, slick as a model for a Fifth avenue tailor. 
It was late afternoon and the reflected light in the 
room from the white-painted airshaft cast no shadows. 

"Well?" he asked in a slight accent. "May I come 
in?" His black eyes, under heavy eyebrows, danced 
and his dark lips smiled. Mazy jumped from her 
chair and offered it to him, taking Bubs to the bed, 
where she perched with him on her knees. 

"Take the kid for a little walk," he suggested. 
"I want to talk with Nancy for a few moments." 
When the door closed behind them, he bade Nancy be 
seated and himself sat facing her. Breathless, she 
waited for him to speak. 

"You've had a tough time, haven't you?" he asked, 


leaning forward, his elbows on his knees, his silk- 
gloved hands lightly clasped. She nodded. "What 
are you going to do when this case is over?" 

"I think I can get a job." She felt it useless to 
say this, for the fire in his eyes warned her that the 
strange passion he had felt for her years before was 
there within him still. 

"I don't know what it is that makes me want you 
so, Nancy, ' ' he began a little excitedly, brushing aside 
her answer as unworthy of comment. "But I want 
you and have always wanted you. It ain't your looks, 
because I had a prettier girl when I first saw you. 
You're smart enough but it ain't that. The other girl 
was plenty smart. She rolled me for eight thousand 
before she left the key of the flat with the janitor. 
What's it, Nancy?" He reached a hand to her lap 
but she moved her chair back. "I don't know," she 
said simply. 

"Then suddenly you get married and go straight 
and work hard and have a baby and ..." He stood 
up and thrust his hands in his pockets. "I'll tell 
you, Nancy, why it is I want you. You're a ,game 
one. There ain't any gamer. And another thing, 
you're something I ain't. You're honest. And 
you're decent." 

"What did it cost you to get the bond for me?" 
she asked. 

"That doesn't matter." 


"I'll pay it back. I 'm going to work. I'm a good 
washwoman. ' ' 

"A washwoman!" He laughed until the moisture 
came to his black-rimmed eyes. 

"I made a living at it after my husband died." 

"You worked at a washtub?" 


"You with those eyes and that soft sweet skin that 
don't need any more paint than a baby's needs? 
Why, you ain't any fool, Nancy. You know the game 
of life. You know it don't pay to be honest, not in 
this little old town. ' ' 

"I have a son to think of. ' ' Her shoulders straight- 
ened back and joy and pride shone in her eyes. He 
marveled at her. She looked the clean and good 
woman that she was, whatever she might have been. 

"And you're going to try to fight it out without a 
friend? "he asked. 

"I have a friend." 

"A gentleman?" He sat down again. 

"He is a gentleman." 

"Maybe he didn't know they had you locked up," 
he suggested. 

"He did know but he couldn't help me. He is in 

"Oh, a gentleman crook, eh?" 

"He's no crook but he's in the Tombs." 

"Oh. It's this fellow Mike Horgan. Sit down, 


Nancy, won't you? Tell me who this fellow Horgan 
is. I been trying to find out ever since I learned 
you was a witness of his." 

' ' He was a friend of my husband. ' ' 

"A burglar?" 

Her brows knitted as she thought how to answer 
this. "All I know is that Bill brought him home one 
day before we were married and he liked me and we 
both liked him. He 'd just come out of prison, a short 
term, and had written a book about it. He didn't 
seem to worry about being an ex-convict. Then he 
was arrested and he got another term, although he 
wasn't in on the job. He could have cleared himself 
but the guilty man had four children. He took the 
blame and laughed and said he had to write another 
book. We all thought him a little off in the head. 
He might be. But he made Bill and me the happiest 
two people in the world. We never met anybody 
like him before, always thinking of himself last and 
always getting happiness out of seeing other people 

"He's a nut, I guess." Littsky had watched her 
face closely all the time she talked and he had not 
failed to see the roses creep timidly to her cheeks in 
the gray light of the room. Nor did the added bright- 
ness of her eyes go unheeded. 

"You love this fellow?" he asked. She did not 
answer him. 


"You want me to get a lawyer for him?" 

"Oh, if you will only help us!" she cried. "He 
... he. ..." She could not go on. 

"Sure I'll get a lawyer for him, Nancy. I'll do it 
right now." 

"I'll work my hands to the bone for you." 

He left her wondering what had come over him, 
wondering if Michael's theory that there was gold 
down in the heart of the poorest, meanest, most be- 
nighted of humanity was true, left her almost ready 
to sing his praises and he took a taxi to the office of Al- 
bert S. Alberstein, a lawyer as well known in the 
underworld as he was himself. 

Rosy-cheeked, round-bellied, bediamonded, Alber- 
stein greeted his client vociferously. 

"I want you to defend a guy named Mike Horgan," 
Littsky informed him when the door was closed. 

"With pleasure and all the resources of the firm," 
the lawyer assured him. 

"He's a burglar and broke. He's a friend of a 
girl friend of mine." 


"I'm putting up for the girl, get me?" 

"Oh, yes." 

"Here's five hundred." Littsky peeled off five one 
hundred dollar certificates from a heavy roll. ' ' I was 
afraid the court might assign a lawyer to defend 
him, one with brains." 



"And he might get off. I want him put in." 

Alberstein squeezed the money into a waistcoat 
pocket. "Of course, if he really is a burglar," he 
said with a smile, ' ' a conscientious practitioner should 
not help to turn him loose on the public. I ask you, 
should he?" 

Littsky's eyes snapped. "Put him in the chair if 
you can, as far as I'm concerned," he laughed. 


IT was the witness Hindmau who landed heaviest 
for the prosecution in the case of the People 
against Michael Horgan. His story was brief but 
every word of it hit hard. He swore that he saw 
the defendant scrape away the address on a box of 
goods and with brush and paint box substitute an- 
other. He was employed in the packing department 
and had himself packed this box, was sure of it being 
the one he had handled. Horgan, he testified, stood 
so that he could not see the new address when he dis- 
covered him nearby. The prisoner then loaded the 
box in an express wagon, face down, so that the change 
would not be noticed. 

Michael, seated beside his counsel, Alberstein, 
leaned over and whispered: "That man is the thief. 
His story is a lie." 

Alberstein smiled and nodded to his client. 

It was a case of no importance and the court 
benches were empty, save for Nancy and Mazy, Tier- 
ney and Gloomy Cole, Littsky and the witnesses who 
would swear that they had seen Michael just before 
the detectives, Murphy and Vegas, arrived and missed 
him immediately afterward. The paymaster was also 



there to testify that the prisoner had not asked for his 
wages before leaving and the foreman of the shipping 
department to testify that Horgan had given him no 
notice that he was quitting the job. Daniel Burns, 
the contractor, and a number of his workmen were also 
in the Tierney bench close to the rail as witnesses to 
the fact that the prisoner had fought his captors. 

Behind the judge's dais, a tall painting of Justice 
holding aloft the scales with one hand, a crystal sphere 
in the other, made a background for His Honor who 
sleepily scribbled with pen and ink on a sheet of 
paper, his jowls falling over his collar, his stertorous 
breath stirring a fulsome mustache. Behind the ele- 
vated witness chair where Hindman sat and covered 
his work with perjury was a panel in oils of three 
female figures, the Fates, and behind the desk of the 
court clerk on the other side of the dais a picture of 
three male figures seated on a marble slab, represent- 
ing Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. The jurors 
presented from their box twelve vacuous faces. Al- 
though the fall session of the court had been in prog- 
ress hardly two weeks the room already smelled of 
unclean humanity. 

Tierney squeezed into the witness chair when Hind- 
man had finished covering himself and his associates 
in thievery. He testified, under the guidance of the 
assistant district attorney, that he was a private de- 
tective and that the jewelry manufacturers that had 


been robbed were among his clients. "I'm paid to 
keep track of professional crooks," he swore, "and 
had a man ready to shadow the defendant the day he 
left Sing Sing after his second term." 

"Just a moment," ordered the Justice, looking to- 
ward counsel for the defense. Alberstein was busy 
making notes. 

"If the counsel for the prisoner does not make ob- 
jection I shall order that part of the witness's testi- 
mony stricken from the record. It is not competent 
testimony in this case. The prisoner is being tried for 
the crime specified in the indictment and is not being 
retried on some other case." 

"I thank your Honor," said Littsky's lawyer. 
Tierney smiled. They could strike it out of the rec- 
ord but the jurors had been igiven the information 
that Horgan was a two-term man. 

Tierney told of his efforts to find the man who had 
robbed his clients, his translation of the newspaper 
code message to a woman who had been known as 
"Straw" Nancy in the Tenderloin, his discovery of 
her and finally the arrest after a bitter fight in which 
he was shot in the face. 

The other witnesses followed, clinching the case, 
and adjournment was taken for lunch. 

After an hour and fifteen minutes in the neigh- 
boring restaurants of Franklin, Centre and Lafayette 
streets, judge and jury reentered the courtroom. The 


first tingle of winter was in the air outside but within 
the towering red Criminal Courts building a full head 
of steam heat was on. With their stomachs well 
lined, in this oppressive atmosphere, the voices of the 
counsel for the defense and the district attorney 
sounded to the jurors in a gradually diminishing hum. 
The black-robed fat man under the scales of justice 
nodded, fighting off the attacking somnolence occa- 
sionally by frantically scribbling curlicues on his pad. 

Suddenly a uniformed court attendant shrieked: 
" Nancy Preston." Another at the corridor door 
screamed the name and the jurors shuffled their feet 
and surreptitiously rubbed their eyes. His Honor 
cleared his throat and was on the verge of another 
cat-nap when the witness appeared at his left, her hand 
on a greasy Bible held together witE a dirty rubber 
band. As the clerk rumbled out the Oath, His Honor 
saw, as through a gray veil, two patches of blue as fair 
as the blue of a Maytime sky. They roused his mind. 
The young woman was clad in black, a pale blue jabot 
relieving the somberness, a blue flower tucked under 
the brim of a black, untrimmed velvet hat hinting of 
a period of mourning that had passed. Her brown 
hair was heavy about her ears, the one hint of dye 
being hidden. Her face was pale but the pallor did 
not detract from its sweetness. 

Nancy's little cotton-gloved hands hung limply 
over the arm of the chair. A beam of the lowering 


afternoon sun, striking through a window back of the 
jury box, illumined her form. She looked straight 
at Michael, beside Littsky's lawyer, and smiled. 
There was so much of hope and love in the expression 
which crossed her features that Littsky's eyes blazed 
with bitter anger. Michael watched her closely, color 
coming to his lean, dark countenance. He had ad- 
vised against her taking the stand. Alberstein, mind- 
ful of earning the Judas money given him, had in- 
sisted that she testify. 

"You may tell all you know about this case, Mrs. 
Preston," said the lawyer, half rising in his chair. 

"I know he didn't steal anything or have anything 
to do with stealing," she began, talking straight to 
the justice. 

"Tell your story to the jury," His Honor bade her. 
She turned in her chair and continued. "He was a 
friend of my dead husband. He came to board with 
me and help me and my little boy. He never went 
anywhere except to work. He spent all his money 
on us because he loved my little boy so and my boy 
loved him so. Bubs called him Uncle Michael. We 
were very happy. If he had been a thief I would 
have known about it." She paused and cast down 
her eyes. 

"Well?" urged Alberstein. 

"I know thieves," she confessed. Littsky's money 
was earned by his man of law. Her whole past lay 


open to cross-examination. "When I was a girl," she 
continued, "I had a hard time. My father was a 
drunkard and my mother died when I was ten years 
old. I went to the public school for two years and 
learned all about the street. Some of the children, 
a lot of them, had vile diseases. Lots of the girls 
couldn't be anything but bad. When I went to work 
and was ill and then lost my job I couldn't pay my 
room rent. I was nearly starved. There was a girl 
with yellow hair and blue eyes and she always had 
plenty of money. I ... I ... dyed my hair and 
went with her. I didn't know it was very bad. The 
man I met was kind. He wasn't to blame." Her 
little gloved hands went to her face. An attendant 
offered her a glass of water. She found her hand- 
kerchief and dried her tears. "Then I met my hus- 
band and Michael came along, ' ' she continued. ' ' We 
didn't know much about right and wrong but we 
learned from him somehow. He never preached at us. 
He was just kind and gentle. So we got married 
and the baby came and we were happy for a long time. 
Michael gave us all that and we loved him for it." 

The prisoner's eyes shone. The simple narrative 
was indeed a tribute worth cherishing. 

"You may take her for cross-examination," Alber- 
stein informed the assistant district attorney. Tier- 
ney entered the gate in the rail and drew a chair be< 
side the prosecuting officer, opening a note book as he 


did so and giving it to him. He was all prepared for 
that one hoped-for "slip" on the part of counsel for 
the defense. The assistant district attorney studied 
the notes carefully and then rose and faced the wit- 

"You are a widow, Mrs. Preston?" he asked. 


"Of what did your husband die?" 

Michael flashed Nancy a look that told her to stick it 

"A wound," she replied, clasping her hands tightly. 

"By whom inflicted?" 

"I was not there." 

"If the court pleases, I shall enter the record of 
William Preston's death as exhibit A." 

The court glanced at it and allowed it to be read 
to the jury, the cold, stark narrative of a burglar 
killed on a job. 

"Were you ever known by any other name than 
Nancy Preston?" the assistant district attorney asked. 

"None except my maiden name," the witness re- 

"When you were a street walker were you not 
known as 'Straw' Nancy?" 

"I couldn't help that." A sob escaped her as the 
alias, one of the meanest and cheapest of police blights, 
was applied to her. 

"I will ask if you recognize this bit of paper." 


She was handed the note of warning she had sent Mi- 
chael the day of his arrest. 

"I wrote it," she admitted. 

"Telling him to beat it?" 


"Aiding him to escape if you could?" 

"Ah, I had to help him. He was innocent." She 
could not stand any more of the grilling. The fight 
in her was gone. 

"I hardly think it is necessary to go further with 
this witness," suggested the court. "She admits that 
she was the wife of a burglar and had been a street 
walker. She admits trying to warn the defendant." 

"You may stand aside." The district attorney's 
representative, following the ancient custom of his 
office, had brought out everything harmful that he 
could against the woman and the prisoner. The jury 
was given no single word of the seven and more years 
of uphill struggle, of a crooked path laid enticingly 
before a hungry and shelterless child having been 
straightened out without help from society, of her 
duty well done as a mother and wife, of her time at 
the washtubs. She stepped down from the witness 
stand as merely Nancy Preston, alias ' ' Straw ' ' Nancy. 

Short as were the arguments and instructions to 
the jury they sounded to the jurors as the distant 
buzzing of bees on a hot summer's day. The twelve 
good men and true dragged themselves from their 


chairs, retired, and in a few moments returned with 
the verdict of guilty. 

Michael was remanded to the Tombs to appear again 
before the judge to be sentenced the following week. 
The prison guards gave him a moment with Nancy. 

"Kiss Bubs for me," he said. "Don't give up, 
Nancy. He 's worth all the fight you can make. ' ' In 
her weakness and despair she laid her head against 
his shoulder and he whispered: "As soon as they 
stop hounding you, let me know where you are." 


ACCOMPANIED by James Tierney, the assistant 
district attorney in charge of the case of the 
People against Michael Horgan entered the chambers 
of the trial justice on the day set for sentencing the 
convicted man. 

"Here are the records in the Horgan case, Your 
Honor, ' ' said the prosecutor. ' ' Mr. Tierney has some 
data additional to that collected by the police." 

"Let me have it, Mr. Tierney." The judge put' 
aside the volume entitled "The Prisoner at the Bar" 
and turned to the private detective. His eyes were 
vague and the lids droopy as Tierney took a chair be- 
side his desk. The sun poured through a deep win- 
dow to his heavy shoulders. 

"This feller Horgan," began Tierney, "has got a 
lot of brains. Most crooks don't use their brains if 
they have any worth mentioning." 

"Really." A ghost of a smile flitted across the fat 
features of His Honor. 

"That's right," Tierney assured him. 

"Perhaps you mean that the crooks that are caught 
are a bit deficient in intellect," the judge suggested. 
He seemed ready for deep slumber, merely a little 



slit of light showing under the heavy curtains of his 
eyes. Tierney's fat hands rubbed his knees as he 
thought this over and through his lowered lids the 
judge watched the eager play of the ten fingers. 

"Of course," admitted Bonehead, "there's an awful 
lot of people on the outside lookin' in that ought to be 
on the inside lookin' out. But if everybody was con- 
victed for what he'd done against the law there 
mightn't be enough people left to make up a jury 
panel." He turned to the assistant district attorney 
as if for verification of his theory. 

"I'll not need you, Mr. District Attorney," drawled 
the judge. "I know that you are pretty busy. You 
may leave Mr. Tierney, or did you say his name was 
Kearney? I would like to hear what he has to say 
about Michael Horgan." Tierney's fingers came to- 
gether on his knees. This judge was the limit, he 
thought. Why, he couldn't keep awake long enough 
to get a man's name right. 

' ' You were saying, I believe, ' ' mumbled His Honor, 
as the prosecuting officer withdrew, "that it would be 
hard to get juries if all the guilty ones of humanity 
were locked up." 

"Well, your honor," Tierney replied hesitatingly, 
"I was thinking of the law's maxim that it is better 
to let ninety-nine guilty escape than one innocent man 
suffer unjustly." 

"Mr. Kerney ... I beg your pardon. Have I the 
name right?" 


"Tierney is my name. James Tierney." 

"Ah! Mr. Tierney, if you really believe that the 
ninety and nine escape punishment by the law for 
their evil conduct that in itself would justify the ex- 
istence of so many private detective firms, would it 
not?" Tierney, not knowing what this conversation 
was leading to, smoothed his palms one against the 

"Mebbe so," he said. 

"Of course, the greater number of convictions se- 
cured by a private investigating firm the more clients 
and the greater profit," the judge said slowly. "It 
is a parallel to the police system of promotion. A de- 
tective who puts it over on every case becomes a lieu- 
tenant, then a captain and then an inspector. It is a 
splendid system. Merit is rewarded. Reward is the 
chief objective?" Tierney didn't like that comment, 
and his fists doubled. "May I ask why you double 
your fists ? ' ' the judge requested, looking up into Bone- 
head 's eyes. "Are you angry?" 

"I came in here with the additional stuff on this 
burglar Horgan," blurted Tierney. "If you want it, 
I '11 give it to you, Your Honor. ' ' 

"I shall be glad to hear it." 

"If a man steals twenty dollars, Your Honor," 
Tierney began, "and the police get the goods on him 
he is tried and sent to jail so quick that he finishes 
his sentence before the man who steals a thousand dol- 
lars gets indicted by the grand jury. If he steals a 


million he might be tried but he'll be acquitted. If 
he steals two million a subscription is taken up and 
a monument is built for him." The judge smiled 
broadly. "Ain't it so?" continued Tierney. "All 
the world knows about the case of the young Pitts- 
burgh millionaire and his trials for murder. There 
were reporters at that trial from every great city in 
the world, with telegraph and cable wires stretched 
down from the skylight to the floor of the court room. 
Especially in England, the people watched the test 
of Money against Justice. The first trial lasted three 
months. Did his money put the law on the bum? 
Ill say it did. And there was the case of the down- 
town banker who was convicted of rocking the boat 
and starting that big panic in nineteen hundred and 
seven. He was sent to Atlanta prison. But did he 
serve his term? He did not. He said he was too sick 
to serve it and he got a pardon. Then, after a few 
golf games he goes right back to the same old job of 
trimming the Wall street push." 

Tierney paused in his dissertation, but seeing that 
he held the interest of the judge, continued: "It's 
always a fight between two sides, Your Honor. They 
are the criminals and the cops. The court is only 
the referee. On my side we know that once a man 
goes wrong he'll go wrong again in nine out of ten 
times. If he's got brains and education like this 
feller Horgan he's got to be tailed all the time, for it 


ain't the man with the blackjack that is hard to 
catch. It's the man with brains or money that makes 
us sweat. The police don't frame innocent people 
but they'll frame crooks. There ain't enough money 
in the world to make me send an innocent party to 
prison but with crooks it's different. Horgan is al- 
ready a two term man and my operatives and the 
headquarters' bulls know the company he keeps. He 's 
better off where he can't cause trouble. Before the 
trial they had him down before the inspector 
and sweated him for days. They even came to me 
for questions that might trap him and make him 
weaken. ' ' 

"Did he answer their questions?" asked the judge, 
picking up his volume and glancing at it idly as he 
opened it where a slip of paper marked his last page. 

' ' Sure he did, ' ' Tierney answered. ' ' But he didn 't 
tell 'em anything." 

"Did he speak of the young woman who was his 
only witness?" 

Tierney 's hands were thrown up in a gesture of 
disgust. "Sure," he said. "He told 'em Nancy was 
the finest woman in the world because she could get 
away with the game of being on the level." His grin 
was wide. "What'd'yuh think of that, judge? He 
told 'em the old Straw Nancy, a 'cruiser,' was a 
saint." Tierney could not restrain his mirth and 
laughed aloud. 


"But is she a woman of the town now?" asked the 

"Mebbe not," Tierney acceded, "but her note to 
him, telling him to beat it because the bulls was after 
him showed she was in on his get-away if he could 
make it." 

"Perhaps she loves him." 

Tierney 's finger nails bit into the flesh of his palm. 
The fat old fool in the black silk robe was a sentimen- 
talist, he was sure. The judge watched his clenched 
fists over the top of his open book. 

"It is evident that she firmly believes in his inno- 
cence. And, to tell you the truth, Mr. Tierney, while 
the case against Horgan was strongly enough pre- 
sented it was entirely circumstantial and it does not 
seem at all impossible that he was wilfully denied the 
right chance to come straight in life after his last 
term. Tour own evidence, which I excluded from 
the record, told of your putting a shadow on him the 
moment he left prison. What is your idea of a just 
sentence for this man?" 

"His record shows him a habitual criminal and he 
could be sent away for life, Your Honor." 

"And the woman he helped and the child he spoke 
of, what becomes of them ? " he asked. 

"They ain't his woman and child." 

"She might weaken and go back to the streets, Mr. 


"Then it would be up to the cops to watch her." 

"And about the little boy?" asked the judge. 

"There's the Gerry Society." 

The judge nipped the leaves of his volume, but 
glancing at a little clock on his desk, put it aside and 
rose. "The prisoners are waiting to be sentenced," 
he said. Tierney followed him to the court 

Michael was brought before His Honor, handcuffed. 
Beyond the rail Nancy sat with tightly clasped hands 
and pallid face. 

"Michael Horgan," said the judge, "you stand con- 
victed of grand larceny in the first degree. The rec- 
ord given me by the police department is not in your 
favor. But it is left to my discretion to say whether 
you should die in prison or have still another chance. 
I choose to say the latter and therefore sentence you to 
ten years at hard labor." 

"There is a charge against Nancy Preston, Your 
Honor," reminded the assistant district attorney. 
"The chief witness is here. Perhaps we can get it 
disposed of. The docket is pretty heavy." He sig- 
naled to Tierney to come within the railing and a court 
attendant took Nancy by the arm and led her, half 
fainting, through the gate and to the judge's dais. 

' ' I presume that all the evidence against this woman 
came out in the trial of Horgan," said the assistant 
district attorney. 



"Is there any other evidence?" The judge lifted 
his heavy eyes toward Tierney. 

"She admitted writing the note to Horgan," re- 
plied Tierney. ' ' What more could the judge want ? ' ' 
he asked himself. 

"And you press the charge?" asked His Honor. 

"I just turned over the evidence to the right offi- 
cers of the law," he replied, fearful of this judge who 
carried mercy in his heart. 

"What have you to say, Nancy?" 

"Nothing, Sir. I did all I could to live straight 
and honest. I'd do it all over again but he wouldn't 
let me." 

"Who wouldn't let you, Nancy?" 

' ' Him. ' ' She nodded toward Tierney. " He 's had 
a man watching me night and day since Michael went 
away." f 

"That's my business," muttered Tierney. 

The judge frowned and with an effort held back 
what he had in mind to say to the detective. 

"Nancy," he said slowly and impressively, "it 
sometimes seems to me to be the first law of the land 
to kick a man or woman when he or she falls. In all 
the volumes I have read on the application of the 
criminal law as a protection to society I have found 
only two in which the theory of big brotherhood on 
the part of the righteous to the unrighteous has had 
any consideration. No one seems to know the author 


of these two books and it appears that the publishers 
believe the manuscripts they accepted were sent by 
one who had himself been hunted, had suffered prison, 
had been, perhaps, denied justice and had written out 
of intimate knowledge. The law is not a human 
thing although it is framed for humanity. It is iron, 
hard and bloodless. For that reason I am compelled 
to find you guilty by your own admission but I am 
going to suspend sentence and set you free. The 
sacrifice you made on the witness stand for Horgan 
should be written in letters of gold to be read on the 
final judgment day. I hope your child will grow to 
be worthy of a mother as brave as you. You are free. 
God help you." 

For several moments she stood staring at the judge, 
fighting down a hard lump in her throat. Michael 
was going away for ten years. It did not seem pos- 
sible. She had forgotten entirely about herself. The 
sound of his voice stirred her from the lethargy of 
despair. He was talking to the judge. "I would 
be very grateful if I could have permission to speak 
alone with Mrs. Preston for a moment," she heard him 

"You may take them to my chambers," His Honor 
instructed the guard from the Tombs. 

In a corner of the judge's room, the door open so 
that the guard in the corridor could keep an eye on 
them, Nancy took both of Michael's hands in hers and 


pressed them to a flaming cheek. "As soon as I can 
get work," she whispered, "I'll start to save and ap- 
peal the case." 

"Listen, Nancy," he replied, an arm protectingly 
about her shoulders, ' ' I have a letter here I want you 
to mail to Mr. Vernon Snowden, a lawyer. It is not 
sealed. Enclose your address to him. He will pro- 
vide you and Bubs with everything until I am free 
again and have finished the task before me. Mail it 
as soon as you leave this building and he will send aid 
to you. But on no condition tell him where I am 
until I have seen you first. You need never to worry 
about money again." 


IN the week between the conviction and sentence of 
Michael, Mazy Lament, whose declaration that she 
was going to become respectable was no whim of the 
moment, landed a job as a waitress in an all-night 
restaurant, her trick being from midnight until eight 
in the morning. 

"Perfect hours for me," she exclaimed joyfully. 
"If I had to get up in the morning instead of going 
to bed it would ruin my constitution. Anyhow it's 
best to break in on any change a little bit easy. I 
knew a girl once stopped drinking everything but 
water, just sawed it off sudden, and stuck to it. An- 
swer : Dead. ' ' 

Nancy, always grateful for the part she had played 
in getting Bubs back, did her best to share in her 
cheerfulness but as the days passed and she failed to 
get a place which would permit of her having her 
child with her all the time she realized how hopeless 
it was to expect genuine companionship with Mazy. 
Not that she thought herself any better than the 
woman who had so bravely hidden herself from her 
daughter, sacrificing everything in life for her with- 



out complaining, but she had long forgotten the slang 
of the street of bright lights and after her own heroic 
years had come to yearn for higher things in life, a 
friend or two to love and respect, her baby to nurse to 
strength and health, a tiny corner of the world, if 
only one room, to call home. The thought of Mi- 
chael's quiet voice, his almost divine patience and 
regardlessness of self, his splendid joy out of her 
Bubs, the sprightliness and playfulness of his imagina- 
tion in their fun together or over the lad's first les- 
sons, the complete happiness that had been theirs 
those few months in the little Bronx flat, brought her 
to bitter tears every night as soon as the door closed 
behind Mazy. 

"You are free. God help you." The words of the 
fat judge often rang in her ears and sometimes they 
terrified her. They seemed to warn her of greater 
evils to come. Sometimes she would awaken with the 
sounds of some returning lodger and lie trembling 
with her boy in her arms at the thought of Luther 
Littsky and his sparkling black eyes. Once there was 
a low tapping at her door and she told herself that he 
had come to collect his bill. For answer she got out 
of bed and pushed the bureau against the door. The 
person in the hall went away. It might not have 
been Littsky but some other man, perhaps one of the 
roomers who had taken her for that kind of a woman 


or thought her so desperately poor that the clink of 
his money might tempt her. 

There was no one in the house with whom she could 
trust her boy. No man or woman under its roof 
stirred before eleven o'clock or noon and the majority 
were all-night prowlers, taxi-drivers, small-fry gam- 
blers, girls from the burlesques and women who would 
smile through their paint when they gave their occu- 
pation as "housekeeper" to the census taker. She 
took Bubs with her daily in her journeys through the 
streets to answer advertisements for help. A glance 
at the poorly nourished little lad killed every chance 
she might have had to get a place as a servant or 
laundress. Having him with her as she worked in a 
shop or restaurant was, of course, out of the question. 

The few dollars she had been sent by Michael 
through Dan Burns were soon reduced to a few pieces 
of small silver. She would not have minded borrow- 
ing from Mazy but out of her first week's salary she 
had to buy a uniform and pay a commission to the 
employment agent who had placed her and there was 
left barely enough to get her through until another 
pay day. Littsky had not come near her since the 
conviction. Nor had the woman who ran the house 
asked her about rent money. 

To keep Bu^s fed, Nancy lived on crumbs, drinking 
a great amount of water in order to distend the stom- 


ach and relieve the pains of hunger. As her physical 
strength was sapped the distance she could travel 
each day became shorter and her prospects of getting 
work became darker. 

She could not borrow more than three dollars and 
a half on her wedding ring at any of the nearby 
pawnshops but at last she had to leave it for that sum 
in order to be sure of milk and crackers for the boy. 

By the end of Mazy's second week in the all-night 
restaurant Nancy was suffering from nausea accom- 
panied by violent headaches as the result of mal- 

"What you need, Nancy," her friend declared as 
she started for work just before midnight, "is a big 
steak and fried potatoes and you're going to get it 
to-morrow morning. This is pay night and we split 

"I was thinking that if I could get enough money 
to rent a room in a quiet place where I could trust 
the boy away from me I'd be sure to land a job, 
Mazy," Nancy replied. "But I'm afraid of these 
people here." 

"Say!" cried Mazy. "It's funny the landlady 
hasn't cheeped about the rent. She knows I'm 
workin'. Has Littsky been around yet?" 

Nancy shook her head. 

"Did he try to get fresh with you the last time he 
was here, the time he sent me out with Bubs?" 


Nancy nodded. "Well, 111 just give you a tip, 
Nancy. He's starving you out, that's what he's do- 
ing. I '11 bet anything I got he knows just how many 
crackers is left in that box on the washstand. Did 
he tell you how to get in touch with him ? ' ' 

"Yes, through the landlady." 

"Well, you just hold out 'till morning, Nancy. 
Maybe things will change with that beefsteak. I'll 
bring it home with me." 

"Perhaps the letter from Michael's friend, Mr. 
Snowden, will come in the morning," thought Nancy 
as her friend took her departure. . . . But the letter 
lay in an accumulation of personal mail on the law- 
yer's desk in his office downtown as he was spending 
the last few days of quiet and rest from work in the 
Adirondacks on the advice of his physician. 


"TTELLO, dearie!" 

-- - Nancy had undressed and was ready for 
bed, her soft brown hair plaited and tied closely about 
her shapely head. 

"Who is it?" she asked, leaning close to the door. 

"It's only me, Mrs. Tifft, the landlady. Open the 

"I'm undressed and going to bed, ma'am," replied 
Nancy, trembling at the thought of a demand for rent 
money at midnight. Bubs lay carefully covered and 
asleep, his well-worn little clothes folded neatly over 
the foot of the bed as Uncle Michael had taught him. 

"It's all right, dearie," came from beyond the 
door. "I've brought you some supper." 

In a violently colored kimono, her yellow hair done 
up high on her head, Mrs. Tifft entered, bearing a 
tray of covered dishes piping hot. As a heavenly 
cloud, the aroma of good things to eat immediately 
filled the bare room. Bubs stirred in his sleep. With 
a grin on her heavy features, intended as the smile 
of a helping angel, the landlady placed the tray on 
the top of the bureau as soon as Nancy had cleared it. 



"There now," she said cheerfully. "Isn't that a 
layout worth while? Everything hot from the rotis- 
serie around the corner, right off the spits, roast tur- 
key, mashed potatoes, gravy, hot rolls, celery, coffee, 
and say, lookit ! ' ' She lifted the cover from a tureen. 
"Here's some puree that can't be beat on Broadway 
from Forty-second to Fifty-ninth. He's famous 
for it." 

Nancy's blue eyes sparkled and her hands trembled 
as she held them over her half covered breast. The 
vapor from the puree rose high from the silver bowl 
and its appetizing odor awakened her child. Bubs 
sat up, rubbing his eyes, fresh from a dream of pos- 
session of all those glorious things to eat he had seen 
and passed by in the restaurant windows as he and his 
mother had walked the streets. 

' ' Oh, gee, Mum ! " he muttered. ' ' What 's it t " In 
the yellow light of the single gas jet his face seemed 
more than ordinarily thin and drawn. 

"I'll fix some of the soup for the boy," said Mrs. 
Tifft. "Now you start and get your own." She 
spread a napkin on the blanket before Bubs and 
started him at the feast. Nancy was speechless. 
What did it mean? Her empty stomach craved for 
a little of this feast. With an effort she steadied her 
hands, soaked the half of a roll in a cup of the puree 
and ate it. Mrs. Tifft pulled up a chair for her and 
served her with the turkey and potatoes and gravy, 


talking all the while and explaining the unlooked-for 

"I'm treating everybody that's in the house," she 
rattled away. ' ' I cleaned up on the races to-day and 
cleaned up right. A gentleman friend passed the real 
tip this time. Flora Belle walked in at twenty to one 
and me with all of two hundred dollars on her." 
The blood was already coursing strongly through 
Nancy's veins and color was in her cheeks. Bubs 
smacked his pale lips over the rich food. As her stom- 
ach assimilated the first mouthfuls and the gastric 
juices began to flow, a pleasant languor came to her. 
When Bubs sank back on his pillow with a sigh of con- 
tentment, the mother, with an occasional glance of 
gratitude to the landlady, continued until each dish 
was empty. Mrs. Tifft covered Bubs and he was soon 
sound asleep. With lowered voice she continued her 
story of the great race track killing. All of her gen- 
tleman friend's lady friends had gotten in on the 
tip. There was a riot that night in the cabarets but she 
had to come back early on account of a nasty twinge 
of neuritis. She couldn't sleep at such an unearthly 
hour and so was killing time by blowing everybody in 
the house. "Four thousand dollars!" she exclaimed. 
"Think of it!" She was going to buy a furnished 
flat in the building next door and run it for roomers. 
She stopped with a grimace. The neuritis had her 
again. "Just wait a minute, dearie," she asked. 


"I'll run to my room and get a tablet. Leave the 
door unlocked. I'll be right back." 

Nancy set the empty dishes on the tray, flicking the 
few crumbs that had escaped her from her night gown. 
Her flesh seemed tingling with new life. She sighed 
with sheer animal happiness. There was a little cof- 
fee left in the silver pot and she drank this. The 
cream jar was still unemptied. She emptied it. Luck 
had turned surely, she thought. In the morning she 
would take a chance and leave Bubs with the landlady 
she had so unjustly mistrusted and if there was work 
to be had in New York she would find it and tackle it 
with the strength of an Amazon. 

As she sat with her hands in her lap, waiting to 
thank Mrs. Tifft on her return, she half dozed, her 
night gown falling loose and displaying the firm 
beauty of her shoulders and breast. The deep breath- 
ing of Bubs told of happy dreams. In her half- 
asleep, half-awake condition she did not notice the 
passing of the moments into minutes. The horns of 
automobiles on the street outside, telling of the return 
to bed of the noctambules of the neighborhood, did not 
shake her from the pleasant haze. Her gown fell en- 
tirely from her right shoulder but she did not know it. 


AT one o'clock a heavily built man, carrying under 
his left arm a trombone in a green felt case, let 
himself in the front door of Mrs. Tifft's lodging house 
and with the silver light of a pocket electric dancing 
before him made his way to the third floor and the 
room adjoining Nancy's. The partition was of light 
boards covered with wall paper, for the two rooms 
had been originally one. The lodger dropped his in- 
strument to his bed, placed his pocket lamp beside it 
and without lighting the gas removed a picture from 
the wall. A spot of yellow light showed from the 
next room and he put his eye to it. 

An hour before, not many minutes after Mazy 
Lament had started off to work, Luther Littsky had 
entered the house. There followed a waiter from 
the rotisserie around on Broadway. 

The man with the trombone, apparently one of the 
many cabaret and dance hall musicians who live as 
near Broadway and their work as possible, seemed in 
no hurry to retire nor did he seem held to the gimlet 
hole in the wall by the pubescent pleasure of a Peep- 
ing Tom. Nancy's chair was in his narrow line of 
vision. He beheld her asleep in her disarray and 



upon her face was a smile. Nightly his little peep 
hole had brought him only tears and sobs as the trag- 
edy of starvation had been enacted before him. He 
drew back from the thin partition so that he could 
breathe without uncovering his ambush and sat down 
to think over this change. In the darkness of his 
room his face, wide and deep and white, would have 
startled a sudden visitor by its somberness. Gloomy 
Cole, with instructions to uncover the bankers for the 
burglars who disturbed the business of his employer, 
James Tierney, Incorporated, was on his job. 

"If Littsky is putting up for Nancy," he had been 
told by B. H., ''all yah gotta do is to hang close to 
Nancy. A woman, never mind how careful she may 
be, can queer the best crook in the world. Littsky 
ain't even seen that broad face of yours, Gloomy, and 
don't let him see it until you're ready to make the 
collar. Just remember what I tell you. No excuses 
go with me this time." 

It was not a hard job, he thought, as he sat close 
to his avenue of communication, his ears pricked for 
the least sound beyond the thin wall. Three times 
Littsky had visited the lodging house but always when 
Nancy was out. The rest of the time he had spent in 
his finely furnished apartment not many blocks away, 
at the theater, in the cabarets and gambling houses or 
with his associates of the underworld in automobile 
rides to road houses in Westchester, New Jersey, and 


on Long Island. When Littsky was off on these trips 
Gloomy had shadowed Nancy and her little boy. He 
had seen the mother grow paler and weaker and the 
boy beg to be allowed to stare in the windows where 
spitted fowls turned before the grates of glowing coals 
or asbestos and in other windows where pastry was 
arranged with an art that would tempt even the well- 
fed children of the rich. 

He could not help but realize the frightful struggle 
of the woman to stay square with the world and her 
conscience and he had so reported to his chief. 

"That part of it is for the Bureau of Charities," 
B. H. had told him. "As long as Littsky is paying 
her rent and going to that lodging house there's a 
chance of something doing for us. What we're run- 
ning is a detective bureau. ' ' 

Gloomy took another peep. She was still sleeping. 
Until she got in bed with the light out there would be 
no sleep for him. He returned to his chair. Well, 
he thought, that crook who had doped him with a 
cigarette and nearly cost him his job, was put away 
for ten years anyhow. There was some consolation 
in that although, try as he could, as he mulled the task 
in hand, he failed to get any comfort from the fact 
that in this three-cornered game permitted by the ad- 
ministrators of the law one of the corners was occu- 
pied by a starving mother and child. 

"Nancy!" The name was hardly more than 


breathed but it reached him and his right eye was 
glued immediately to the gimlet hole. She was still 
asleep in the chair but looking down upon her with 
burning eyes and trembling hands extended waa 
Littsky. Cole saw him glance in the direction of the 
bed and scowl. The child was there. 

"Nancy!" he repeated ever so softly and then 
reached over and clasped her half naked body sud- 
denly, fiercely, sinking on his knees beside her. 

Nancy's eyes were wide with terror as she tried to 
shake herself free of his arms. Her hair became un- 
fastened and the two heavy braids whipped about her 
white shoulders. 

"If you scream it will be all the worse for you," 
panted Littsky. "They can't hear you on the street, 
anyhow ... if you bite I'll smash you." She fell 
from the chair to the floor. With the sounds of the 
scuffling some one entered the room. Cole could hear 
the door open and then softly close. 

"Mumsey!" Bubs had been awakened. "Mum- 
sey!" he called again and then Cole could hear him 
crying in fear at the spectacle before his eyes. 

"Take that brat out of here," called Littsky, get- 
ting to his feet and clasping a hand over Nancy's 
mouth. Cole caught a glimpse of Mrs. Tifft as she 
obeyed and heard the sobs of the child die away down 
the corridor. Littsky and Nancy were out of his vi- 
sion in another moment and Cole knew that the pro- 


fessional master of the town's unfortunate women 
would soon overpower her. The sounds of scuffling 
continued and then Nancy managed to break away. 
She was again in his line of vision, her night garment 
torn to ribbons, her flesh crimson in spots. 

"For the love of God listen to me a moment, 
Littsky," she begged. She held to the back of a 
chair, ready to raise and swing it. Littsky did not? 
renew the attack. Cole could hear his heavy breath- 
ing. "It isn't for myself I'm fighting, but it's for 
my baby. I don't count. But even now he's old 
enough to remember and you've already put a curse 
on him." White spots made by the pressure of 
Littsky 's fingers showed about her mouth as she 
begged for mercy from the man who knew no desires 
save gain and the satisfaction of his other lust. ' ' I 'm 
going to pay you back every cent, the money for the 
bondsman, the money for the lawyer and the rent 
money. Before God, Littsky, I 'm going to do it- and 
pay the interest on it." She half raised the chair as 
Littsky crouched for another attack. "I'll die first," 
she warned. ' ' Get back ! ' ' The lowering of the chair 
told Cole that she had gained another brief respite. 

"You didn't mind sending for me and my money 
when they had you locked up," he heard Littsky sneer. 

"I was afraid the boy would die," she pleaded. 
"If I'd had any money when they first took me to 
the station I could have got out and gone back for 


him. The sergeant could have got a bondsman for 
me in five minutes. Even the doorman wouldn 't tele- 
phone to the Legal Aid for me unless he was paid. 
I did have a little money but Tierney's man took me 
away before I could think to ask for it. I was des- 
perate and half crazy when I thought of you. Give 
me a chance to pay you right." 

"You'll pay me my way," came from Littsky. "I 
want you." 

"For God's sake, please, Littsky, I'm an honest 
woman. You've got me in a trap," she sobbed. The 
tears blinded her eyes. Littsky leaped for her and 
Cole drew back from his peep hole to breathe. 


IN the final struggle, Littsky managed to hold his 
prey fast in his right arm and reach the gas jet, 
turning out the light. He was a creature of darkness, 
indeed, in his way a prince of darkness. Mrs. Tifft 
was well-paid, the boy was out of the room. The 
earlier part of the night he had spent in thrilling an- 
ticipation of this act. He had starved Nancy in vain. 
She had not come across. Then he would feed her 
up and take his toll for his time and trouble. Al- 
ways a careful drinker, he measured his champagne 
that one night with the skill of a dope fiend who 
knows to the fraction of a grain the dose that will 
put him through the commission of a crime. 

He owned the roof over the head of the lodging 
house keeper, owned her body and soul and half the 
lodgers in the place looked up to him with admiration 
and hopes of a tip on a good thing to be played in the 
pool rooms. Few lost when he passed the word. If 
a girl was in trouble with the police, if she was stone 
broke, as poor Nancy was when she entered the sta- 
tion, the bars slipped back and out she walked pro- 
vided she was solid with him. Time and again the 
police had tried to get him because of the complaints 



of the anti-vice societies. His money had beaten them 
every time. Once, when he was near conviction, he 
had hired the most famous lawyer in New York City, 
perhaps the most famous in the United States, a man 
high in the Bar Association and at one time high in 
the politics of the Empire State. As an associate he 
also hired the crookedest underworld lawyer known 
to thieves and panderers, a man later trapped by the 
district attorney, sent to prison and disbarred. The 
gentleman and the crook made an ideal combination. 
The chief witness against Littsky recanted. . . . She 
was a woman . . . was convicted of perjury, was well- 
paid for her sacrifice and Littsky was cleared. The 
famous lawyer had scored another victory, and had 
earned another large fee. This is not fiction. The 
law was not wrong. The administration of the law 

Littsky was not afraid of the police as an organiza- 
tion any more than might have been a Tammany 
Assembly District leader who kept his saloon open on 
Sundays. He had his victim ready for him and was 
waiting. But there was always danger of a bad actor 
appearing, a new man, unused to the ropes and with- 
out knowledge of the precedents upon which Tender- 
loin cops and bulls held their jobs and got what was 
coming to them. Some such greenhorn might take 
the place of a "regular" on the beat, because of sick- 
ness or a three alarm fire in the tenements of Hell's 


Kitchen, a few blocks west. Then the whole works 
would be in danger. A scream from a house where 
screams of laughter, delirium or fear went unheeded 
many nights in a month, might precipitate a single ar- 
rest and an expose might follow. The lid would be 
off and the ordure just under the crust would shock 
the myopic decent element, might even change the 
whole administration of the city . . . one scream of a 
woman ! 

"You can yell your damned head off," he panted 
as he dragged Nancy across the pitch-black room to the 
bed, still warm from the little body of her son. But 
she did not scream. She fought and begged her 
bondsman and deliverer from the hands of the police 
to be merciful, to let her go, to let her keep her de- 
cency and self-respect for her child's sake, whined 
like a hurt animal, her bruised face scalded by her 
tears, her tired arms still flaying through the dark- 
ness until she was hurled on her back and his hot 
breath scorched her. 

"By God, Nancy!" cried Littsky in triumph. 

A little beam of silver struck across the room from 
the door. For a moment a white disk danced about 
the bed and then fell full in the black eyes of this 
Broadway Petronius Arbiter at the long-delayed 
fruition of his plans. 

There was still enough fight in Nancy to throw the 


beast from her body. The light followed him and a 
voice sounded, slow and impassionate as the clatter 
and grating together of box cars as a freight train 
comes to a halt. So did the words come. 

"If you gotta gun, don't reach for it." 

Littsky could see nothing. The little circle of light 
blinded him. 

"You're pinched," came the voice. 

"It's a hold-up. How much do you want?" re- 
torted Littsky. "I've got a thousand in my pockets." 

"Nothing doing. Sit still. If you move I'll bore 

Nancy groped her way to the floor and followed the 
silver beam on her hands and knees. 

"Save me," she whispered. "Help me get out of 
this place." 

"Grab your clothes, go in the next room to your 
right, light the gas, get dressed. Don 't make no noise. 
You'll see a horn in a green case on the bed. That's 
the room. Hurry." 

As she fumbled about in the darkness, Littsky sat 
on the edge of the bed, his face the only thing in the 
room illumined, conjuring his wits for a way out. 
The thought came to him that Nancy's past would be 
his best defense. No one would believe her story. 
Then, too, she had let him pay the rent in this place. 
A fine for disorderly conduct would be the only re- 
sult. His courage came fast. 


"You'd better take the money, Bo," he said quietly. 

"Nothing doing." Nancy was already out of the 
room and the man with the light in his hand could 
see the little yellow star from his gas jet shine in the 

"I'll break you," warned Littsky. 


"What are you going to charge me with?" 

"I'd hate to tell you. It would dirty me mouth." 

Littsky 's courage left him. He could not tell 
whether his captor was a harness bull or just a plain 
clothes man. He might be the legal agent of one of 
the vice societies and might have been after him ever 
since that case of the two little girls, the case when 
the gentleman and the crook members of the bar had 
saved him together. 

Nancy had slipped into her clothes and in the dark 
hall Gloomy Cole heard her brief exchange of words 
with Mrs. Tifft as she demanded and got her child 
and took him in his room to be dressed. 

"Who's this?" the landlady demanded drowsily, 
for the comforting evening dose of dope had been 

"You and Littsky is pinched, that's all," said Cole, 
flashing for the fraction of a second his light against 
his badge. ' ' Git in the room and keep still. " As she 
obeyed, Cole found the key, placed it in the outside 
of the lock and gave his last command to the pair. 


"Don't make any noise. There's a man at the foot 
of the fire escape, another on the roof and one at every 
door and window downstairs. The wagons will be 
here in a minute." He turned the lock in the door, 
entered his own room and picked up his trombone. 
"Beat it," he ordered Nancy. As she and the boy 
hurried out into the gray-lit street and joined the 
first flow of pedestrian traffic, Cole threw the key to 
Nancy's room in a corner of the hall, squeezed his 
trombone under his arm and left the lodging house. 

"I guess my job's gone this time," he sighed. 
"But the horn is worth thirty-five dollars if it's 
worth a cent." 


THERE was a minute or two of dead silence in the 
lodging house. Cole had turned his humane 
trick quietly. Mrs. Tifft was so heavy with her fa- 
vorite drug, cocaine, that not a word or whimper es- 
caped her after the lock clicked in the door. She 
groped for Nancy's bed, found it and fell over on her 
side, dead to the world. 

The last of the lodgers, a woman, entered the house, 
stumbled up the stairs to the top floor and pulled 
down her shade, for the light of day was cutting in 
through the east-and-west street which stretched from 
river to river, from the squalor of First avenue, 
through the twin gray steeples of Saint Patrick's 
Cathedral, across the roofs of mansions, across de- 
serted Broadway and onward to the poverty of Ninth, 
Tenth and Eleventh avenues. Rich and poor homes 
it reached, a high-builded house of God and many 
scores of brothels. It made silver the foam on Man- 
o '-war's reef between Manhattan and Queens in the 
East river and lightened the shadows of Hell's Kitchen 
where the street ended at the docks of the Hudson. 

Some of the gray light of the dawn seeped into the 
stairways and corridors of Mrs. Tifft 's lodging house. 



The door of the room opposite that which Nancy had 
occupied opened slowly. A man of slight build, fully 
dressed, a cloth cap pulled well down over his eyes, 
his right arm stiff at his side, slipped into the hall 
and put his head close to the door where Littsky and 
Mrs. Tifft were held prisoners. As he listened, his 
eyes searched the carpeted corridor. They caught a 
glint of metal. It was the key that Cole had tossed 
aside. With quick, silent steps he reached it and re- 
turned to the door. 

Within Nancy 's room Littsky 's keen ears caught the 
light sound. 

' ' Better call it off, ' ' he advised through the keyhole. 
' ' I got friends and I got money. You can 't put any- 
thing over on me for this. I can get bail to a hundred 
thousand dollars if I need it and then I'll make you 
sweat. ' ' 

"I can't trust you," whispered back the man out- 

"I got the cash, a thousand, with me. Open the 
door and I'll hand it to you." 

' ' You got a gun, too. ' ' 

"I ain't got any gun. I'll stand with my back to 
you and drop the money." 

"Do it." 

"I'm ready." 

The key turned in the lock and the door opened. 
Littsky, with the peculiar fastidiousness of his kind, 


had carefully straightened his clothes in the darkness 
of the room. His trim body stood in the frame of the 
door, erect, shoulders squared, his back to the man he 
thought he was bribing. In his right hand was a roll 
of paper money. His fingers relaxed and it dropped 
to the threshold. The stiffened right arm of the man 
in the hall bent upward and was suddenly raised high 
above him. A blackjack descended and Littsky sank 
like the weed that he was under the blow. 

The man in the cap slipped his silent weapon into a 
back pocket under the tails of his coat, turned the vic- 
tim over with his toe, rolled him again, with a stiffer 
kick, further in and closed the door behind him. Mrs. 
Tifft lay on the bed beyond reach of sound. It was 
the first hour of the day. Her lodgers were in the 
deep sleep of darkened rooms after a night of what 
some of them called pleasure and others called busi- 

There was plenty of time. This room would be 
dark until the sun reached the meridian and silvered 
the air-shaft into which its one window opened. The 
man with the cap and the blackjack picked up the 
money and then knelt beside Littsky and unscrewed 
the diamond stud in his stiff evening shirt. A huge 
diamond solitaire he worked from a finger of his 
victim's left hand. The effort to get this jewel free 
from its place stirred Littsky 's stunned brain. His 
eyes opened slowly. They beheld the eyes of the man 


who had felled him, saw his long, keen, sinister un- 
derjaw and his thin, clean-shaven lips. 

" You?' 'he asked. 

"It's me, Noonan." The man in the cap put his 
face close to that of his victim. "Take a good look, 
Littsky," he said. "It's Noonan, Mamie Noonan 's 
brother." Littsky 's black eyes started from his head 
with terror. His brow was beaded with sweat. He 
had beaten out the law with his money in the case of 
Mamie Noonan. Two trials and two hung juries! 
Even the public had tired of the case and Mamie 
Noonan was on the town. 

Noonan (glanced over his shoulder at the patch of 
dull gray made by the air-shaft window. He lifted 
his head and listened, but there was no sound. Mrs. 
Tifft lay like a log on the bed. His right hand sought 
the dark throat of Littsky. Five strong, thin fingers 
closed on it. The eyes popped a bit and then sank 
back deep in their sockets. The body in its fine linen 
and broadcloth twitched and was still. The fingers 
at the throat of the prostrate thing tightened and 
tightened. They held there until the limbs on the 
cheap, dirty carpet stiffened. 

The man with the cap got to his feet, stepped softly 
from the room, closed the door, descended the stairs 
and made the street. 


QHORTLY after eight o'clock Mazy Lament, a 
^ beefsteak and a portion of fried onions done up 
in a cardboard box under her arm, let herself into the 
Tifft house and ran up the stairs. A glance into 
Nancy's room froze her blood. Littsky lay at her 
feet, dead. His tongue was extended and his gums 
showed. There was light enough in the room for her 
to notice the traces of the fight Nancy had put up for 
her hard-won sense of decency. Here and there were 
strips of white cotton cloth, portions of her night 
gown, and by the bed a tuft of hair. A chair was 
upset and broken. 

Here was not only a case for the police but one for 
the coroner. It was a combination hinting of the 
electric chair. All the people in her class in life knew 
about that little piece of yellow furniture. Reports 
of murder trials and executions made their only intel- 
lectual folder. She turned to run away but some- 
thing big in her heart, her game heart, made her turn 
again, step over the dead body and go to the bed. 
She thought it was Nancy lying there. She recog- 
nized the drugged landlady. Nancy and her boy were 
gone. Littsky had gotten his. He deserved it and 



more, which he would get in hell, if there was a hell 
after this life. She cleared out as if she had herself 
done this job over which she raised her skirts, hoping 
that Nancy had gotten a good start. Nancy had every 
right in the world to kill him. If she was caught, 
she, Mazy, would swear to anything, self-defense, ex- 
treme provocation, anything, to help her. 

Minus the money she had paid for the steak and 
onions, Mazy had her week 's wages in her pocketbook, 
tucked down into a bosom that had known the sale of 
many feigned sighs before she watched from the win- 
dow of a village church her daughter ride away with 
the man she loved and was married to. This was no 
town for her, New York. The fine tooth comb of the 
police department would be raked through her stratum 
of life in a few hours. She hurried east to the Grand 
Central depot and took a train for Boston. Not 
until the negro maid showed up at noon would there 
be a reasonable chance of the murder being reported. 


AT ten o'clock Gloomy Cole, with his precious slip- 
horn under his right arm, lowered himself into 
a chair in the anteroom of his employer, once more 
to worry over his chief's state of temper. Groans 
came from the sanctum when the door opened. Occa- 
sionally the voice of Bonehead would utter a curse of 
no mean quality. 

Agnes brushed through the door in a high state of 

"What's the matter with B. H., Agnes?" asked 
Cole, catching the frill of her little white office apron 
and holding her. 

"It's that pain come on him again," she told him. 
"He's got a bum appendix but there ain't anybody 
in this world can tell him he ought to get it cut off. 
He says his grandfather didn't have any appendicitis 
but just plain belly-ache. I told him he ought to lay 
off a few days and get it packed in ice so it would 
shrink some. And what d'yuh think he says, 
Gloomy?" She shifted her chewing gum. 

"What?" asked the sad-faced one. 

"He told me to pack my uncle in ice." 

"You got off light at that," Gloomy informed her, 



consolingly. "He must be in a pretty good humor." 
A sound between a howl and a curse, as Texas Darcy 
left Tierney's private office put a quick end to Cole's 
forced optimism. 

"Say, Sad Face," greeted Texas on his way out. 
" B. H. told me to get my hooks on you as soon as pos- 
sible and send you in. Maybe he thinks keeping com- 
pany with an old tombstone will help him a little." 

Cole, clinging to his horn, poked his wide face 
around the edge of the door and asked: "Wanta see 
me, Boss?" 

"I don't wanta see you, but business compels me 
to, ' ' was the reply. ' ' Come in and sit down there. ' ' 
Tierney's heavy features were white with pain. 
"Just wait a minute until some of this belly-ache 
leaves me, ' ' he added. He turned to the window and 
watched the little white plumes of steam from the tur- 
rets and towers of the city's tip, the distant dodging, 
fussy little tugs of the harbor and the play of glorious 
September sunlight in the ever dancing wave crests 
made by the water traffic. In his own rough way he 
was invoking the power of mind over matter. His 
grunts and groans diminished as the pain left him 
and color came back to his jowls. 

"Now, then," he began, with a glance at the im- 
passive unreadable countenance of his operative. 
"Tell me a somethin'." 

For the moment Gloomy was for laying bare his 


own miserable heart, telling all the details of the hoax 
by which he had saved Nancy but by which he had 
spoiled Tierney's plans. A sense of caution, how- 
ever, made him hold back. His maxim was: "What 
people don't know won't hurt 'em." 

"Agnes was telling me about your belly-ache 
and . . ." 

"Is that all she's got to do except powder her 
nose?" his chief interrupted. "The poor Bronx 

"I knew a feller once went along with the belly- 
ache for three years and when they cut him open it 
was too late." 

"Too bad about this feller," sarcastically mused 
Tierney. "Did he work for a living regular and eat 
three meals every day ? Or did he play the piano or 
the trombone for a living ? ' ' 

"They found it was busted," calmly resumed Cole. 

"They did?" 

' ' So all they could do was to mop him up some and 
send for his widow. ' ' 

"They should have sent for the coroner. When 
these surgeons get a guy on the table and it's a des- 
perate case they send out a tip to all their friends 
and the grand stand is filled when the poor mutt 
what's paying the expenses is stretched out for the 
operation. It's always a success. Everybody ap- 
plauds and writes articles about how neat the job 


was and then the widow goes down to the insurance 
office. Say, Gloomy, there's a Marine recruiting sta- 
tion up at Forty-second street and Sixt' avener. 
You can take a run up there and tell 'em about it." 

The Old Man was in fine humor, in reaction from 
the pain of the first hour of the morning. Cole foxily 
awaited the turn of the conversation to business mat- 
ters, dandling his trombone on his knees. 

"You been tailin' Littsky and Nancy two weeks 
and you ain't got nothin' on 'em," Tierney began 
at last. "I'm. thinking that Littsky ain't in on the 
burglar game. I guess it was just because he wanted 
her that he got the bond put up and hired the lawyer. 
Did you notice him double-cross Horgan? No. Of 
course not. Well, I guess Littsky pulled that to get 
the woman. But that's up to the Committee on 
Morals or something. " He smoothed down his bristles 
thoughtfully and Cole, with relief, felt his job safe. 
His assignment was to be changed. 

"There's a certain big lawyer downtown, Mr. 
Vernon Snowden, been making inquiries about a man 
that fits Mike Horgan 's description somewhat," he 
informed his operative. "The trouble with him is 
that he wants to take all he can get and give nothing 
back. He's a low-tide clam for conversation, this 
swell guy is. Now what I want to know is why he's 
after getting in touch with this Horgan, if Horgan is 
the man. Mr. Snowden is an office lawyer, not a court 


lawyer, and he doesn't know any more about the ways 
of the world than the Pope cooped up in the Vatican, 
although the Pope could tell him something about 
bulls. How's that?" It was a jest, a quip, a play on 
words. A joke from Tierney was as rare as a blue 
rose or a green sunset or a river running up hill. 
Had Agnes been in the room she would have caught 
it without muffing or fumbling and would have 

But Cole did not know that the Papal decrees were 
called bulls as well as were New York detectives. The 
keen witticism glanced from him like a small boy's 
marble shot against the Rock of Gibraltar. 

"I said," repeated Tierney, "the Pope could tell 
him about bulls." 

"Sure," agreed Cole, seemingly ready to burst into 

Tierney gave up trying to put it over and returned 
to business. "This Snowden wants a man to help 
him. I want you to go to his office and pump him so 
dry he'll squeak when he walks. If this Mike Hor- 
gan is some fashionable lunatic I gotta be sure in the 
interest of my clients that his money don't turn him 
loose. It's either the foolish house for him or Sing 
Sing. Get me?" Cole nodded. "Snowden don't 
have any but rich clients. Years ago he came to me 
asking about a missing party that made me think of 
Horgan but he wouldn't loosen up and I don't work 


in the dark with nobody. It may be that he has a lot 
of money for this Horgan from some estate and none 
of his people know he is a crook. If that's so Horgan 
will go to the bat and with real money anybody can 
get out of jail. He'll put it over on me. Get that?" 


' ' Here 's his card with the address. Tell him noth- 
ing. Take your time. Horgan is safe." 

"Then I drop Nancy?" asked Gloomy with an ap- 
proach of happiness in his voice. 


"What 11 I do with this?" asked the operative as 
he held out his trombone in rising from his chair. 

"You might save it until the holidays," suggested 
B. H. with the right corner of his mouth dragging 
heavily, "and send it to Caruso as a Christmas gift." 
As Gloomy reached the door his chief shouted to him: 
"Don't bother me with no reports for a month. I 
don't wanta see you or hear from you 'till you can 
tell me somethin'." 


' '\ \ THAT you doin ' to-day ? ' ' 

V V "Me?" asked Gloomy, as Agnes held him 
up in the assembly room of the Tierney offices. 
"Nuthin'. I got a month off." 

"Lemme your badge. Quick. We're all caught in 
a corner. I could use a thousand badges and State 
licenses this very day." 

Gloomy unpinned his shield hesitatingly. 

"Speed up," snapped Agnes. "I got to have it.' ; 

"What's all the fuss about?" he demanded. "I 
ain't got a thing on me to identify me, not a thing. 
I just come off a case and ain 't had time even to write 
my name and business address on a card so in case 
a safe drops on me or somethin' they'll send for some- 
body what knows me to remove the remains to the 
parlors. ' ' 

Agnes, busy as she was, laughed at his plight. 
"Nothing will ever drop on you, Gloomy," she assured 
him. "Come in to-morrow morning and I'll fix up an 
identification for you. Somethin' big is happening 
and if the Boss don't make a million dollars clean in 
the next six months I'll admit I'm a liar. We got a 
straight tip by cable this morning that this ain't any 



private fight over in Europe but is a regular free 
fight with everybody welcome. The Germans are 
already murdering our own factory people right here 
who never did a thing to 'em and the French are as 
good as dead if we don't go in and help 'em. Our 
London office sends us word to get all the men we 
can to watch the munition factories and docks here 
so the Dutch can't blow up the stuff needed on the 
other side. It's the biggest order ever come to an 
office. It looks like the Germans have got fifty spies 
in the U. S. A. for every British representative, official 
or business." 

"Gee," said Gloomy. "And B. H. hands me a 
little job to pump a rich lawyer in the Mike Horgan 

"That's because he's got brains." Agnes pushed 
him along gently to the outer door, relieving him of 
his precious badge. "The old war might end the 
minute we step in and he ain 't the detective to throw 
over all his old customers on a chance. He'll hang 
to the old ones and tackle the new ones, too. So long. 
Come in to-morrow and I'll fix you up if I ain't in 
Mattawan playing tit-tat-toe with some other mental 

"You might just as well keep these for me, Agnes," 
he said, handing over his automatic, the little pocket 
electric and the trombone. "I won't need 'em on 
this ladylike job." 


"You bet the office will need them, Gloomy." She 
cleaned him of every implement of his trade and piped 
a cheerful "Good-by, old dear," to him as he headed 
for the elevator. 

"She sure ain't any commercial nun, that Agnes," 
he chuckled to himself on his way earthward. "If 
she wasn't makin' twice as much as me I'd be askin' 
her out to the theater some night. ' ' 

He strolled up Nassau street and found the offices 
of Vernon Snowden and his associates, being informed 
there that the lawyer had been suddenly called to 
Chicago on business. Out again in the narrow street 
he walked leisurely north to Park Row and into a 
bedlam of newsboys shouting an extra that brought 
them a harvest of pennies. He joined the throngs 
before the bulletin boards of the downtown newspaper 
offices. The date of the Washington dispatch, dis- 
played in large letters, was September seventeenth, 
1914. It sent forth the news that the United States 
government had informally approached the German 
Kaiser in the matter of peace terms, offering its 
friendly services to the belligerents. 

"Sure, Agnes has the right dope," Gloomy de- 
cided. "This old war will blow up soon. There ain't 
nobody got anything on B. H. Tierney for common 
sense. He ain't so brilliant that he can work in a 
dark room without turning on one light anyhow, but 
he's there when it comes to plugging along good and 


steady. " He elbowed his way from the crowd and out 
into Spruce street, narrow and steep, leading down 
to the old "Swamp" section of Manhattan Island, 
where the hide and leather business is centered. 

At William street a score of human voices shouted 
a warning as he started to cross. There was a heavy 
tangle of wagons and trucks from the newspaper cir- 
culation offices. It parted suddenly and packed 
against and overflowed the curbs as a motor engine 
with bell and siren going dashed by on its way to 
answer a fire call. As he jumped back something 
struck him between the shoulders, the pole of one of 
the newspaper wagons; he lost his breath and his 
footing at the same time and disappeared for several 
moments from the sight of the people crowding the 
sidewalk. When he was drawn from under the strug- 
gling shifting traffic there was a little red stream of 
blood from his nostrils and another from a corner of 
his mouth. He was taken into the saloon on the cor- 
ner and laid on the floor while a policeman summoned 
an ambulance. 

One of the employees in the place put a wet towel 
to Gloomy 's lips, nose and eyes and ripped open his 
waistcoat. There was no tremor in response. The 
ambulance surgeon felt for a pulse and tried for a 
heart beat with his stethoscope. 

''He's dead," he said. 

"Better take him to the station, then, for identified- 


tion," suggested the cop. "Maybe he's got some pa- 
pers or letters on him." He made a quick search of 
the dead man's pockets. "Not a thing on him," he 
announced. "It's a morgue case. Take him along 
and I '11 look up some witnesses. ' ' 

For one time Agnes was wrong. What was left of 
the patient, unimaginative Cole, to whose soul there 
had come only that morning the light of a good deed 
done at the sacrifice of duty, was eventually taken 
to the foot of Misery Lane, the east end of Twenty- 
first street, where Bellevue Hospital, various clinics, 
undertakers' shops and New York's roomy morgue 
are crowded together and where the tugs pull up once 
a day for the deck-load of passengers in their cheap 
brown wooden overcoats, bound for Potter's Field. 

Nancy's one witness that could have saved her if 
the police landed her for the murder of Luther Littsky 
had joined the thousands of people that have disap- 
peared suddenly and completely from the sidewalks 
of New York. 


rpIERNEY had just rolled back to the office from 
*- lunch. 

"Anything doin', Agnes?" he asked, pausing at 
her desk. 

"A cable from London saying there's a deposit of 
$150,000 in our office there for this British job. Also 
says draw all you need." She perked her pretty 
head on one side as she smiled up to him. "This is 
more than a million dollar job if the scrap goes on 
for a year and the agencies are sending in men by the 
hundred, glad to get three dollars a day as watch- 

"Yeh, Agnes," he smiled back. " 'At's all right 
but don't let it mix up our regular schedule. Any 

"Police headquarters." 

"Get 'em." 

The detective bureau wanted him, and one of his 
old pals of Mulberry street days, now a captain, was 
on the wire in a few moments telling him the story of 
the murder of Littsky. 

' ' We want all the dope we can get on Nancy Pres- 
ton, the jane that led you to Mike Horgan," his 



friend told him. "Littsky was murdered in her room 
after a stiff fight, got a crack over the head with a 
chair and was then choked the rest of the way. It's 
a clear case. We got a piece of her hair, pulled out in 
the scuffle, some of her torn clothes and finger prints 
a-plenty. They'd had a big feed before the row 
started. The dishes were all there. Littsky ordered 
the stuff sent to the house and the landlady took it in 
to her. When Nancy finished him she took his money 
and diamonds, picked up the kid and beat it. The 
landlady was doped and can't remember much except 
that they were fighting the last time she saw them 

"Say, I had a man watchin' the two of them last 
night," Tierney informed his friend. "What time 
did this happen?" 

"Just before daybreak." 

"Then he was sleeping. He didn't know a thing 
about it. Wait a minute, will ya " Tierney yelled 
through his open door: "Agnes, find Gloomy and 
tell him his job 's gone. I want his gun and his badge 
right away." 

"I got them here," called back Agnes. 

"Good girl. Nowlookit!" He began talking into 
the phone again, humping himself eagerly over it, 
reveling in the joy of a fresh trail. "Of course ya 
got all the pawnshops covered. Well, there was a girl 
named Mazy she traveled with, an old timer. Oh, 


she blew, did she?" His camera brain delivered up 
all that he had ever picked up on poor Mazy. "Try 
Boston for her. She lived there once ag a girl. Some 
guy picked her up and brought her to New York. 
She'll go there because she'll know how to get around 
the streets without asking the cops. Find her and 
watch her mail. And there's Mike Horgan up in Sing 
Sing. Nancy will try to reach him. He's her man 
and she won't be able to keep away from him long. 
Get Murphy and Vegas to take a look-see up at her 
old address in the Bronx. There might be something 
doing there. Try the night-hawk taxis around the 
fifties. They'd remember her on account of the kid. 
Got it all* You're welcome. If I get a chance I'll 
see what I can do for you. " He hung up and wheeled 
in his chair. "Once they get started crooked," he 
mused, "they just keep at it and these nice ladies 
and gents who go out to help them go straight just 
make it all the harder for us. Why, they're having 
some moving pictures every week up at Sing Sing 
these days and even the actors make up holiday par- 
ties to put on vaudeville shows for the cons." He 
wagged his heavy head dolorously. "And here's this 
Whoozis, the new warden, preaching kindness. 
They'll all be wearing wrist-watches in another year. 
They don't even crop their heads any more and the 
old stripes are done away with because it might hurt 
the feelings of some old guy like Cock-Eyed Garry 


McGarry or some tender young lizard like Izzie the 
Dip. Oh, hell!" 

"What's the matter, Chief?" Agnes entered and 
plumped herself down for a few peaceful happy mo- 
ments of manicuring. 

"Oh, nothing much. Same old thing. If that fat 
slob Judge Maddigan had only tucked away Nancy 
Preston for a year or so for trying to beat us out on 
the Horgan case there wouldn't be a murder for the 
police to investigate to-day. She killed Littsky this 
morning some time. She with her pretty blue eyes. 
But this time she'll go where she belongs . . . maybe 
she'll wriggle through the wires." 

"It's a headquarters case, ain't it?" she reminded. 
"We should worry." 

"Sure, but when my old crowd helps me I help 
them, don't I?" He paused to think over a way to 
give aid to the hunters now in full cry after the 
quarry. ' ' Just tip off all our men to keep an eye open 
for her," he ordered her. "Get enough pictures of 
her from headquarters to hand to 'em. New York's 
a small town. One of 'em might bump into her. 
And tell 'em about her kid. They're always together. 
He's a skinny little fellow with big eyes, deeper blue 
than Nancy's. . . . And, don't fire Cole. . . . Call 
up Mr. Snowden's office and tell him to come in." 

In a few minutes she had attended to this and gave 
him the information that his man had called at the 


Snowden offices and had gone away. Mr. Snowden 
was in Chicago on business. They didn't know when 
he would return. Tierney sucked his teeth. "I'll 
bet I won't hear from Gloomy for a full month," he 
sighed. "But it's my fault. Just keep calling up 
that office every day on a chance of picking him up, 

And Agnes did that, every day for a month, while 
Gloomy 's naked body lay in its tight marble filing 
case at the foot of Misery Lane, his clothes in a neat 
bundle, ready for inspection for all those who sought 
to the very end of the last lap of outcast humanity for 
father, mother, sister, brother or child. As the days 
passed and no one claimed it, it went its way, in its 
turn, up the river. 


IT was a low class crime and worth only the sensa- 
tion of a day. The woman in the case disqualified 
it as a good " running" story for the newspapers. 
Had she slain in defense of what the daily journals 
would so roundly call her "honor," had her life been 
only freshly broken by the Tenderloin 's prince of dark- 
ness, had she been a new one caught in the net, had 
her virtue been mired but recently, the public's ever 
lively interest in the "unwritten" law would have 
been caught and held by the tragedy. 

It would not have been necessary for Nancy to have 
run to hiding in the basements of the cheapest tene- 
ment houses, scrubbing and rubbing and making her 
bread and shelter from one dark pit to the other as 
"help" to janitors and janitresses. She could have 
given herself up at the nearest police station, admitted 
her guilt and the ablest of criminal lawyers would 
have fought for the privilege of defending her free of 
any cost. The advertisement the case would have 
offered would have paid back a thousand fold for the 
time, money and effort the lucky one securing the as- 
signment from the court could have given. 

But Nancy had been a lodger in the Tifft house, the 


guest of the man who had been slain. Also she was 
under suspended sentence for having tried to help a 
burglar to escape the law. Seven years before she 
had not been a "good" woman. In the event of her 
arrest she would be the prey of jail runners, those ex- 
cellent products of the New York universities which 
turn out a multitude of lawyers each year. The door- 
man and the desk sergeant of every police station 
and the guards of every jail in the city know them 
and pick up a little change from their thinly lined 
pockets. Poor themselves for the most part, hungry 
for money as wolves are for meat when the winter 
is a hard one, they will take a case on a chance of the 
dollar coming from a relative or from the sale even 
of household goods and clothes. The criminal courts 
know them, for they haunt them on the chance of the 
court giving them an assignment to defend a prisoner 
who is penniless and friendless. The reporters of 
every great newspaper know them and pity and despise 
them. No innocent poor man or woman stands an 
even chance for justice with such incompetent and im- 
poverished counsel. There may be material witnesses 
in a distant city but there is no money to bring them 
on or even to get their depositions. Expert testimony 
may be necessary and that costs a great deal invari- 
ably. The district attorney sends the case to the 
grand jury. The average time taken for that body 
to indict in the course of a year's grinding of the 


mills is seven minutes. In the year in which the 
police began to rake New York for Nancy Preston 
and her boy, 13,327 men and women were arraigned 
for serious offenses in the magistrates' courts of the 
city and forty-seven percent were discharged. The 
organized power of society exerted through its police 
system had drawn in its net along with the guilty, 
or those seemingly guilty enough to be held for the 
grand jury, 6,239 innocent people. 

The prosecuting attorney is a judicial officer, sup- 
posed to represent the accused as well as the govern- 
ment. But his zeal is to convict and he cannot know 
the real truth back of the defense, for what defendant 
is going to give to the man attacking his cause any 
information whatever? Political ambition has been 
won for many a brilliant district attorney through 
sending a man to prison or the chair. By a convic- 
tion he has everything to gain and he has all the 
power that is necessary to win a verdict of guilty. 
Only great wealth, which may employ finer brains 
than he may boast, can beat him. The poor are hope- 
less and helpless before him. 

Nancy knew what it meant to be hunted, to be 
hounded after her seven years of purification, those 
years of struggle with a gleam of happiness an ample 
return for what she gave in decency's name and in 
the name of the love she had held for the man who 
had tried to run straight. 


With Bubs in her arms, she staggered down the 
basement steps of a cheap flat house far down Ninth 
avenue, as far away from Forty-second street as her 
legs would carry her. In a window was a sign. It 
read: "Assistant wanted. Apply within." A 
tired, broken woman, with gnarled hands and grimy 
face, lay on a lounge. It was the janitress, rheuma- 
tism, bred in the dampness and darkness of her under- 
ground habitation, torturing her. 

There would be at least food and shelter here for 
a while. She took off her hat, rolled up her sleeves 
and went to work. 

' ' Thank God ! ' ' groaned the stricken woman in the 
front room. 

"Thank God," echoed Nancy. 

Late that night she glanced at an evening paper, 
taken from the rubbish sent down by a tenant, and 
read with horror of Littsky's murder and of the 
search of the police for Nancy Preston, alias "Straw" 
Nancy. The janitress would know nothing of this. 
If she could read, which was doubtful, she was so crip- 
pled that it would be many a day before she could 
hold a paper in her hands. This was a safe enough 
hiding place, perhaps as safe as the city held for her. 
There was food and coffee in the cupboard. She fed 
Bubs and found a mattress and covering for him 
and herself. She knew nothing of religion. As she 
closed her eyes, Michael's patient countenance came 


before her. He seemed to be trying to speak to her, 
to warn her. She opened her eyes and thought that 
she saw the face fading away. Then she was sure that 
she saw iron bars and sat up, trembling. It was not 
a vision. The bars were real, guarding the back 
windows of the basement from neighborhood thieves. 


MICHAEL, with the red disk showing against 
the gray of his sleeve, was again on duty in 
the hospital of the old Monastery up the Hudson. 
Old-timers, men approaching senescence, their with- 
ered faces long twisted into a semblance of brutishness 
by the soul-killing years of cell-life, eyes dull, hair 
fallen out save for eye-brows and lashes of silver, their 
skin in parchment folds, their gait that of the oxen 
under yoke, were glad to see him. They gave him 
each a glance, a flash of lightning from the dark 
clouds of their deadened brains, the night of their 
blank minds, a glance which is recognition and greet- 
ing. Convicts call it "the know" or "the office." 
Many of them had been pretty ill and had missed him 
and his almost womanly gentleness in his ministra- 
tions. Prison had never robbed him of a trace of his 
humaneness. The pleasures of the intellect had been 
his bulwark against the foul influences of this "cor- 
rectional" institution. The stigma failed to attach 
itself to his face, still dark and lean and distinguished, 
the face of a gentleman. His inner life was like a 
white light. The harshness of the world had swept 
him like a cold rain, bitter but cleansing. 



In a week he was back in the routine of his trusty's 
job. He needed no trying out. Two terms had 
shown his caliber. Father Healey laughingly said 
that he would give his personal recommendation for 
him as warden of the prison and trust him with the 
keys of every corridor and the great iron outer gate 
that led to the road down the hill and the wide world. 
With such a prisoner the work of the keepers is eased. 
In workshop or mess hall, the guards with their long 
clubs and handy pistols are not so jumpy when he 
is near; his higher intelligence seems to take away 
some of the always present menace that there is for the 
trainer with his whip as he enters the den. 

"If what you tell me about this man Hindman being 
the real thief is true," said the priest toward the end 
of Michael's second week, "he will be caught and your 
innocence established. The governor will pardon 

"He '11 steal again, of course," Michael agreed, "and 
he may be caught red handed at it but that will be 
another case. The police and James Tierney, Incor- 
porated, will not remember that Hindman covered 
himself by sending me to prison. Their job is not to 
get people out of jail but to put them in. ' ' 

"But didn't you have any friends to help you make 
a fight ? ' ' asked the padre. 

"One friend, a woman. She laid her whole clean 
soul before the court and the world in an effort to 


save me and when her cross-examination was ended 
she stepped down from the witness chair branded a 
harlot and given an alias." Michael's eyes clouded 
and' he turned away from the priest who was himself 
almost as much a prisoner as any of the twelve hun- 
dred gray-clad men of La Trappe. 

"Her love must have been great." 

"No greater or cleaner was ever offered man by 

"She will come to see you?" 

"I hope so. I think so." 

The priest went his way to a distant cot where 
death hovered and Michael again saw the grated 
patches of sunlight creep from the floor of the hos- 
pital to the eastern wall as the sun descended beyond 
the further shore of the Hudson to its bed beneath 
the darkening autumn hills. His relief came on duty 
and he went to mess and roll call and thence to his 

One word from her that she was well and had taken 
up the struggle again was all that he craved. Why 
hadn't it come? The prison regulations did not per- 
mit him receiving a letter so soon after his return but 
she could have sent him a word of assurance through 
the warden's office or through Father Healey and it 
would have been delivered to him. Perhaps she was 
waiting to come and pay him a visit. And perhaps 
she would bring Bubs with her. His joy at this 


thought was short lived. The lad was growing and in 
after years, when all the storms of life had passed, 
he would recall him in the baggy gray clothes within 
the high-walled place, would remember the swinging 
to and fro of the ponderous iron gates, their clang and 
the echoing clamor of the turnkey as he made them 
secure behind him. 

Nancy might bring him anyhow, as a bright gift, 
knowing how deeply he loved the lad and the happi- 
ness that would be his at the sound of his voice and 
the clasp of his little hands. He must try and get a 
warning to her not to do this for Bubsy's sake. 

The clamor of conversation from cell to cell in his 
tier died down and the mirthless laughter of the ob- 
scene was stilled as the lights went out. The keeper 
flashed his lamp the length of each bunk as he passed. 
Another prison day was over. 


MICHAEL awoke suddenly, his hands and face 
covered with the cold sweat that only the hor- 
ror of an evil dream may bring. He swung his feet 
to the floor of his cell and passed his lean hands 
through his hair as he endeavored to recall it, to bring 
in contact the real and the unreal, the conscious with 
the subconscious. Her voice, Nancy's, rang in his 
ears. Something had happened to her surely or per- 
haps it was just that she was thinking of him so in- 
tently that she had awakened him. 

He had no idea of the time of night but felt that 
he had not been long asleep. Save for the breathing 
of the men in their cells the tier was still. If Nancy 
was in trouble he was powerless to help her. No, 
not entirely so. Father Healey might go to her for 
him. His job was to help, even as Christ had helped, 
those who could turn not elsewhere. His uneasiness 
grew upon him. Faintly came a signal through the 
pipes. The old prison gossip was at work. He had 
something to tell. The underground news service 
was in operation. The message, he knew, would be 
long for the operator was using all possible caution 



not to start trouble by sending so loudly that the 
keepers would be disturbed. 

Slowly the story was tapped off in the Morse code : 

"Luther Littsky, panderer, killed. Choked to 
death. Police hunting woman named Nancy 
Preston. She ought to get a medal. Not ar- 
rested. Got a good start. Bonehead Tierney, 
the rat, after her also. M. H. knows her. Bill 's 
widow. Has a little boy; no money. Looks 
rough for her. If message comes to M. H. will 
send. Good-by. ' ' 

For a moment Michael sat in the darkness of his 
cell like a figure cut in ebony. His blood seemed to 
stop flowing. It was a part of his dream, this tap- 
tap-tapping that had so sinisterly assailed his ears. 
It couldn't be true. He unclasped his hands with an 
effort and felt the blanket of his bunk, tugged at it 
and then rubbed his knees. He was sitting up and 
was awake. Could he possibly have dozed off in this 
position and dreamed this cruel and horrible thing? 
He stood up, caught the bars of his cell door behind 
his hands and stared out into the dimly lighted cor- 

"Keeper!" he called softly. "Keeper! It's Hor- 

"What's the trouble?" asked the keeper as he an- 
swered the summons. 


"Did you hear anything?" 

"Hear what? You're jumpy. Bad dreams." 

"Did you hear the pipes?" 

"Sure, that same old gossip. Did he wake you 

"What did he say?" 

"Pah, nobody bothers with him. He's a nut. 
Somewhere down in the engine room, I guess." 

It was no dream. Michael knew that he had read 
aright. But just to hear the keeper's voice and to 
have him near was better than to be sitting on his 
bunk thinking of Nancy running from the police and 
Tierney, dragging little Bubs with her, penniless and 
hungry, the fangs of the pack snapping at her skirts. 

"Was there anything in the papers about the death 
of Luther Littsky?" he asked in a whisper. 

"Sure. He got what was coming to him, too. A 
crack over the head and strong fingers at his throat. 
A woman did it. He must have been at his old game. 
She put up an awful fight and got away with it." 

"Who . . . who . . . was this man Littsky?" 
asked Michael. 

"He wasn't a man. He was a beast; ruined and 
sold women. Made a fortune. The cops could never 
land him. He had too much kale. He could buy 
witnesses never mind how high they came. And 
lawyers ! That was Littsky. Didn 't you know about 


"No, my God, no!" Michael staggered back and 
fell face downward on his bunk, choking back the 
sobs and driving his teeth in a corner of his blanket 
in the agony of his soul. 


"IK THEN the day came and the clangor of the bell 
for them to get up and get out for the job, 
Michael soused his head in cold water. He had not 
slept save for a few moments of nightmare more tor- 
turing than wide-awakeness. He gulped his coffee 
and .ground his food between his strong clean teeth, 
choking it down. 

As he entered the hospital, the night man he was 
to relieve whispered to him that the convict Father 
Healey had visited on the day before wanted to see 
him. "Mebbe he's got some message that ain't any- 
thing of a religious nature he wants to give you," 
said the night orderly. "I dunno. He just kept 
askin' for you. That's all, old fellow. So long." 

Through the grated western windows he could see 
the reflection of the morning sun. The distant folds 
of land, rising gently to the west beyond the further 
shore of the river, were smudged with haze so that the 
darker autumn colors were hidden. The river lay like 
a wide blue ribbon, ruffled just a little by the breath 
of a breeze playing with it as a kitten would. It 
might have been spring instead of autumn, for the 



colors were hidden and the cold hard glint of winter 
had not yet come to the sunlight. 

The man in the corner cot begged him feebly with 
his deep-socketed eyes to come to him and he obeyed. 

"I got a present for you, Mike," he whispered. 

The words mildly startled him. He had heard 
them before, he thought, in the same room and with 
the same light and shadows in the room. He won- 
dered if imagination was playing a trick with him. 

' ' I got a present for you, Mike, ' ' repeated the dying 
convict. "It's under my shirt. Take it out. You 
might want to make a get away. It 's a hand electric, 
fresh charged ; stole it from the supplies. ' ' Although 
his lips were as yellow as the clay he was soon to share, 
they twisted in a cunning smile. "Bend lower and 
take it," he added. 

Michael deftly slipped the gift under his own blouse. 
Then he remembered the spring morning when the 
orderly had told him that old Jim had been calling 
for him and he remembered how Jim had told him 
of the loosened brick in the wall of the last potato bin 
down back of the kitchen, how he had puttied it with 
chewing gum and how it would let him make the 
sewer to the outer world. 

"You been good to us sick fellows," the convict 
was mumbling. "I won't need it. You might. I 
got some tobacco, too, and old newspapers and a book 
and pictures of wimmin in my cell. Take 'em all, 


Mike. Father Healey is a good man but he don't 
need 'em." 

Michael sat and held the old fellow's hands as the 
blood left them. The stiffening of the yellow fingers 
told him when his sentence to mortality was ended 
and his soul back whence it came. From the world 
of kindness in his heart Brother Michaelis had gar- 
nered these things: a hole in a wall and a light to 
guide him through and beyond it, a little tobacco, 
some old newspapers and "pictures of wimmin." 

He left the side of the cot and went to the win- 
dow, studying the steep topography down to the 
river's edge. It did not seem possible that the sewer 
would lead directly to the water from the high perched 
prison as Jim had perhaps taken it for granted it 
would. In all probability it followed the road to the 
village and connected up with the town sewer. In 
such event the electric lamp bequeathed him would 
mean everything in his venture should he be com- 
pelled to make it. Again, he thought, a long under- 
ground journey would mean occasional manholes, 
through one of which he might make the surface, 
avoiding the struggle through the icy waters c the 
river. Until he heard from Nancy and received the 
information how to get in touch with her, he would 
have to be patient. To make the break for freedom 
now would be folly for then they would be wholly 
lost to each other. As it was she knew where to reach 


him and that she would eventually get a message to 
him he was certain. She would know the bitter 
anxiety of his heart and if it was humanly possible 
she would relieve it. A greater tie had come to bind 
them than their mutual love for the sickly little lad 
they had both started out so bravely to save, a tie 
made stronger by suffering and adversity, the love 
that comes to those who fight and fight hard together 
and, fighting, see no sign of cowardice in each other. 

"Well, Brother Michaelis!" Father Healey stood 
close behind him. 

"Your penitent has just died," he informed the 

"You mean, Brother Miehaelis," retorted the 
padre, "that he has been pardoned and is gone. We 
are all prisoners just waiting for that moment. ' ' 


"IV/TICHAEL lost no time in preparing for his flight 
* from the prison. He secured a change to the 
night trick in the hospital on the plea that it would 
give him more time for his studies, Father Healey 
making the request for him. His next move was to 
gain access to the kitchen which was readily achieved 
through his request to he allowed to make a b^oth for 
one of his patients. 

Down in the darker depths of the walled city he 
made friends with the night force of workers, even- 
tually found the bin and the masked door to freedom 
and was ready for the break should a call for help 
reach him from Nancy. There, too, he came across 
the old gossip and learned that the chief wire of com- 
munication between the underworld life of New York 
and the convicts lay through the trusties who handled 
the incoming supplies. A motor truck driver picked 
up a neat bit of extra money as messenger. Bill Pres- 
ton had used him in the old days. A note from Nancy 
enclosing the fee and the word she wanted transmitted 
would reach this man at his home address in the 
Bronx, not so many miles from the prison. 

There was danger of the gossip sending along a 


message through the pipes at a time when it would 
not reach him and so Michael made himself known to 
his fellow convict. 

"I knew Bill Preston," said the pipe-line telegra- 
pher. ' ' There was a powerful lot of good in that man. 
We were kids together in New York, in the same class 
in public school, way down in Oliver street in the 
Cherry Hill section. To the west of us was the old 
Bowery and to the east the docks and the arches of 
Brooklyn bridge. That was where the biggest part 
of the junk business was done in our time." He 
showed his few broken and worn yellow teeth as he 
smiled at his reminiscences. "Every crook comes to 
know at some time that there ain 't anything in trying 
to beat out the law but it was so easy to get money 
from the junk dealers. A kid down in our ward 
would just wrench a piece of pipe out of an empty 
house when he wanted a baseball or a catcher's mask 
and the junkman would hand him the money. He'd 
buy anything and no questions asked. When you 
start that early you keep a-going until you get tired 
of rotting in prison and being hounded or until a cop 
gets you on the run just as Bill got his. There was a 
lot of good in that Bill Preston. I remember there 
was a family named O'Hagan being evicted in Water 
street and Bill went through a transom one night and 
when he come out he had the rent money for them. 


I think he was soft on Maggie O'Hagan, a pretty 

He would have rambled along in his hoarse whisper 
for an hour had Michael let him. 

"I'm expecting word from Bill's widow," he told 
him. "Don't put it on the pipes if it comes." 

"All right. Then, after the junkman gave us the 
first lessons," he continued in the monotone of the 
tireless talker, "the cops got us and before we knew 
it we were up in Randall's Island where they send the 
juveniles. Say, that was some hole! One year in 
that place would make a murderer out of an altar 
boy. There ain't a summer that the poor kids there 
don't make a break to get away from it, trying to 
swim for the mainland and many a youngster has 
gone out dead with the tide." 

Michael spread his tray with a bit of lunch for the 
hospital guard and hurried off, ending the practical 
lecture on the making of criminals from the streets of 
New York. 

He had heard the girl's side of it from the evidence 
of Nancy under cross-examination. This was the side 
of the boy of the great city 's highways, a city so evilly 
crowded, so topographically unsuited to its ever in- 
creasing population that it has become nothing more 
than a jungle, beneath which its people have been 
compelled to burrow like moles for the slightest elbow 


room in moving from place to place ; a city with day 
courts and night courts, courts for men and courts 
for women and courts and prisons for children. 

Poor Bubs ! What chance would he have ? Michael 
sat in a corner of the hospital, his heart bleeding 
for the little fellow. The bitterness of his own experi- 
ences had not lessened his love for humanity. Rather 
it had sharpened it. The successful, the rich, the fa- 
mous did not hold his attention and interest as did 
the great overwhelming mass of stragglers, of whom 
so many fought and fell and rose to fight again. The 
Illustrious Obscure, he called them. Their battles and 
their tears went unnoticed. God alone knew how 
many Nancys gamely stood the punishment of a help- 
less civilization that had not yet found the golden key 
to the problem of justice and the poor. An old 


A THIN sheet of ice was forming on the rivers, 
the moonlight plating it with silver sheen. Mi- 
chael turned from the hospital window at midnight 
and, telling the guard that all his patients were sleep- 
ing easily, went to the kitchen. 

The gossip was waiting for him. As Michael busied 
himself over the range the news operator began to 
shake down the ashes and whispered in his ear. 

"Bubs is dead." 

Michael steadied himself although his face was 
deadly white. 

"She's all in," the gossip continued, and then, 
leaning closer, gave him an address down in the old 
Ninth ward of Manhattan, a tenement house west of 
Hudson street in the neighborhood of Bleecker. 
' ' You got it ? " he asked. Michael nodded. The flash 
light was in his blouse and with it a chisel he had 
managed to acquire from a convict working in the 
machine shop. "She's living in the basement. In 
the front of the basement." 

"Anything else?" Michael asked. 

"The boy is buried." 

"That all?" 



"Pretty damp where she lives and cold. Pneu- 
monia. ' ' 

"You haven't seen me to-night." The gossip's 
hands trembled slightly as he fixed the dampers of 
the range. Horgan was going to try for a get-away. 
"I ain't seen you," he agreed. 

Michael thrust some pieces of bread within his 
blouse. ' ' You 'd better look out for the furnace fire, ' ' 
he told the convict. The moment he was out of the 
kitchen, Michael was in the potato bin and working 
silently, swiftly. When the opening to the sewer was 
large enough to admit his entrance he drew against it 
two sacks of potatoes, balanced them in place care- 
fully and flashed his light. Jim had done an excellent 
job. After the mortar had been scraped from around 
the first brick he had dropped all the refuse from his 
work within, using just enough of the powdered lime 
and sand to color his chewing gum substitute. The 
top of the brick sewer had been opened as the wall 
had been, the opening covered with gunny sacks so 
that the escape of sewer gas would not be sufficient to 
attract attention within the prison. He cleared the 
opening and crawled within, sinking half to his knees 
in the effluvia. Breathing as little as possible, his 
head reeling from the poisonous stench, he went 
ahead, crouched far over, the light in its narrow com- 
pass giving him brilliant illumination. It was not 
very cold although he knew that outside the tempera- 


ture was freezing. Once he plunged forward rap- 
idly. His foot had struck some slimy object that had 
seemed to move. Could it have been some living 
thing, a cloacal creature ? The thought made his hair 
stand on end. There were such things, for there seems 
to be no actual death even in corruption. He 
plunged forward, throwing his light overhead from 
time to time, looking for a manhole. 

He had traveled for about twenty minutes at as 
great a speed as he could make, covering his mouth 
and nostrils with his left arm, when he found the 
first overhead opening. His chisel lifted it easily. 
He listened for a full minute. The whistle and rum- 
bling of a distant train were the only sounds that 
reached him. A footfall would have meant danger. 
Gently he lifted the iron plate to one side and looked 
out into the world. Overhead the stars were sown 
thickly between occasional clouds hinting of snow. 
He found himself at a bend of a wide road along 
which were darkened houses. He drew himself up 
and out of the prison's gut, dropped the manhole 
cover in place and ran to cover in a patch of shadows 
at the sound of an approaching motor truck. The 
machine slowed at the curve. As yet he had no idea 
of direction but he knew that it was hardly probable 
that any deliveries would be made at the prison after 
midnight. The truck ought to be headed away from 
it. As its driver straightened out the great vehicle, 


Michael leaped from the dark and swung to its tail 
board. There was space between it and a number of 
crates and boxes. He crawled over and lay flat on 
his face, safely hidden from view. 

The roads were deserted and the driver gave his 
engine all the gas its carburetor could handle. He 
felt that when his escape was discovered and the 
sirens began their frightful howl of warning to 
the countryside that a convict was at large he 
would have a start of many miles. Luck was with 
him or perhaps God had lifted His rod from his 

After about an hour the machine came to a halt. 
They had passed through the side lights of several 
villages. Michael lay still. He heard the driver 
draw off the water from his radiator and depart. A 
door slammed and he heard a lock slip into place. 
From the silence, the darkness and the smell of gaso- 
line, oil and grease, he knew that he was locked in a 
garage. After a wait of ten minutes he crawled out 
of his hiding place and, cautiously using his light, 
found a closet where hung overalls and a workman's 
cap, priceless gifts of fortune. Cleaning himself as 
best he could with what rags and waste he could find, 
he slipped into the overalls, pulled the cap over his 
head and jimmied a window, reaching the open. 

He found the garage close to the river. At a ram- 
shackle dock was tied a motor boat in which a man 


labored hard with a cold engine. The ice was not yet 
heavy enough to interfere with navigation. Michael 
sauntered to the stringpiece of the wharf. 

"If you're looking to get across," the boatman 
panted angrily as he desisted in his efforts to get a 
spark from his motor, "you can get a free ferry ride 
by tackling this damned fly-wheel. ' ' He sat down in 
the stern sheets exhausted and Michael climbed aboard 
and replaced him at the task. If the Sing Sing sirens 
had sounded their warning as yet, the clatter and 
crash of the motor truck had deadened his ears to 
them. His feet were freezing and his stomach weak 
from the evil exhalations of the sewage through which 
he had made his way to freedom. He was glad of 
the chance to get his blood going. He labored hard 
and finally there came a sputter of life to the motor. 
He tackled it again and with a shout of gratitude 
from the boatman they were headed for the opposite 
shore where the Palisades reared clearly and solemnly 
under the stars. 

Looking back as they reached mid-stream, Michael 
recognized the lights of Dobbs Ferry and his heart 
beat fast with happiness as he remembered his old 
nook among the rocks to which they were headed, the 
abandoned summer house where he had slept with the 
"scrub angels" of Swedenborg. There he would find 
momentary refuge and a place to rest and there also, 
he remembered, tucked away in sheathing paper, was 


his suit of clothes, the suit he had worn when he made 
his flight from Vegas and Murphy the day he saw 
them enter the jewelry factory in the Bronx. 

Leaving the boatman to tie up his little craft, with 
a brief explanation that he had been promised a job 
in the morning by a contractor in Tappan, a village 
seven miles back of the Palisades road, Michael started 
up the winding path from the river 's edge. The sum- 
mer house was still there and his clothes under the 
bench. He changed swiftly to them and hid his con- 
vict's suit. The Italian villa, upon which he had 
worked for Dan Burns, showed its pale green tiles in 
the starlight. There were curtains in the windows 
and a dim light in an upper window. Its owner, the 
Wall street man with money-mania, was occupying it. 
Thought of him brought the realization that he was 
without a penny to help him in his further progress 
to Nancy's address. The correlation of ideas then 
brought to his mind the tempting picture of the secret 
vault he had built within the villa. In that one nook 
would be, perhaps, money enough to take him and 
Nancy far away from any more misery, poverty and 
persecution. "Wealth, the thing that gives bread to 
empty stomachs, clothes to shivering bodies, that pays 
the expenses for bringing distant witnesses to court 
so that justice may be dispensed, that hires lawyers 
with high intelligence and pays the cost of appeals, 
fees to itching hands everywhere, was lying idle there. 


Not that the villa owner lacked a decent right to have 
it. Michael thought that perhaps he lacked only the 
knowledge of the power for good he had attained in 
its gathering. 

Faintly from up the river came a whine, rising and 
then falling, like the mourning of some animal for its 
lost whelp. It was the siren call of Sing Sing for its 
own, but so far away that it would not awaken those 
snugly abed about him. He could readily picture the 
prison telephone operator plugging up the numbers 
of all the marshals, constables and police and all the 
towns and villages for miles around. They were after 
him. He hurried in the direction of the villa. No 
one stirred within. His chisel found its niche under 
a window. The sash gave. Michael slipped over the 
sill, his dancing spot of light guiding him. His hand 
went under a picture and found the electric button 
which swung open the steel door of the vault. 

Danny Burns had not exaggerated. The owner of 
this house loved money for itself. There were bonds, 
household silver and jewels and cash laid thickly on 
the steel shelves. He could have taken away enough 
money to have made the luckiest of burglars envy the 
haul. There were some gold coins in stacks. Per- 
haps the owner kept them for their music. He took 
ten ten-dollar pieces, closed the door, slipped out into 
the night, drew down the window sash and struck 
out to the south at a rapid gait. 


In the morning he would have his railroad fare on 
the Northern railroad to Jersey City, money enough 
to change to the garments of a gentleman and to live 
as one for a few days as he laid his plans to save 
Nancy from the pack at her heels. 


THE new hunt for Mike Horgan was hardly under 
way when a tall well-dressed gentleman stepped 
from a taxicab in front of the Nassau street skyscraper 
in which were the offices of Mr. Vernon Snowden, one 
of the most distinguished members of the New York 
Bar Association. Several newsboys rushed by him as 
he entered the building, yelling the tidings that 
"Desprit Thoid Toim Boiglar Escapes Sing Sing." 
The public was already wearying of wholesale slaugh- 
ter and the championship baseball series had long been 
ended. Managing editors of the afternoon papers 
were praying for a good old-fashioned murder mys- 
tery jpr a wreck on the Elevated. They always sold 

The fare from the taxi paused to buy one of the 
sheets. He smiled as he took the elevator and scanned 
the headlines which for the moment put him ahead of 
a world-war in point of interest for the thousands of 
stenographers and clerks out for their lunch hour 

An office attendant held him up in the reception 
room of the lawyer. He filled in a blank ; "Mr, Mi- 


chael Lawrence Stafford desires to see Mr. Vernon 
Snowden. Business Stafford Estate." It brought 
immediate results in the person of Mr. Snowden him- 
self, a rather portly old gentleman of high complexion 
and snowy white mustache. 

''My boy! My boy!" he exclaimed, catching his 
visitor by both arms and taking him into his private 
office. They sat and studied each other while Mr. 
Snowden recovered from his surprise. 

"I sincerely hope that this means the end," began 
the lawyer, reaching over and taking one of Michael's 
hands. "I hope that you feel that you have paid in 
full, my dear Michael. If you only knew the anxiety 
that you have caused me." 

"I am sorry for that, but it could not be helped." 

' ' But now you have come back to the bright surface 
of life and all will be well." Mr. Snowden left his 
chair and stood over Michael, smiling in genuine hap- 
piness. "Of course you know that your uncle died 
two years ago. ' ' 

"I did not know. But he was quite old, of course." 

' ' And quite rich. Nearly all his money was in steel 
holdings and the war, of course, has tripled his estate, 
which I am directing for you." 

"For me?" 

' ' Why surely, Michael. Who else was there to leave 
it to?" 


"Of course," repeated Michael. "He was not 
much interested in philanthropy, was he?" 

' ' Oh, he left some fine bequests, one to your college, 
a goodly sum." 

Michael's face lighted with pleasure. "Then I am 
quite well-to-do?" he asked. 

"Quite? I should say so," laughed Mr. Snowden. 
""Why, Michael, you can give away more than a hun- 
dred thousand a year and never feel it. Your uncle 
was a most astute investor." 

"I'm afraid you will have to begin spending some 
of it for me right away, ' ' Michael said. ' ' I have just 
escaped from Sing Sing where I was sent for ten 
years for grand larceny. ' ' Briefly he gave Mr. Snow- 
den the story of his case. "The man Hindman, who 
was the real thief, must be caught and, if possible, 
a confession secured from him. If this is done, then 
you may ask for a pardon for me and I shall be able 
to live in the sight of all men. We must put detectives 
in that jewelry factory. It should not be a difficult 
task. Without money I was helpless. It is only 
from the poor that the poor get real help when they 
are in trouble. Then there is one person I must save, 
the one who helped me out of the bigness of her heart. 
She is broken-hearted, and perhaps hungry in a tene- 
ment basement not far from here. I must get all of 
her story first and then send it to you." 


Mr. Snowden's face was grave. He was himself 
running counter to the law by shielding an escaped 
convict, a man he had seen come up from boyhood 
and had loved and respected. 

"Was she the lady you asked me to help in your 


"The letter reached the office when I was away in 
the Adirondacks on the orders of my physician," he 
explained. "When I returned she was gone from the 
address given. My office could get no trace of her." 

' ' I know where she is and am going to her to-night. ' ' 

"In the meanwhile you will keep under cover?" 

"I must I thought I would shut myself up in my 
old university town and finish my course in medicine. 
I want no more of the law. It makes of the adminis- 
tration of justice a means of money making merely." 

"And the lady you spoke of?" 

"I shall take her with me, as soon as you get me 
enough money to provide my living expenses and 

"And will she give up her life to a man in hiding 
from the law ? ' ' 

"She is herself in hiding." 

"You mean she is charged with some offense?" 

"Yes. With murder." 

"Murder!" The eminent lawyer's face blanched. 

"But you believe her innocent?" 



"It is better not to tell me anything further just 
now," advised Mr. Snowden. "I will get abundant 
cash money for you and start you off. Then I shall 
employ James Tierney to hunt down this man Hind- 
man and get you cleared first. The other case can 
then be taken up." 

"Tierney!" Michael smiled grimly. "Not Tier- 
ney. He put me in prison for an annual retainer 
from his client who was robbed. He drove my friend 
Nancy Preston to the streets and sent her child to 
death. Not Tierney." 


A WELL-HEATED limousine, carrying baggage 
for two, heavy rugs and a hamper of good things 
to eat, stopped in front of one of a row of red-brick 
tenements just off Hudson street. In a quiet but 
exclusive hotel frequented by people of means and 
manners, Michael, supplied with abundant cash, had 
secured a professional shopper from one of the Fifth 
avenue department stores. Through her he was able 
to purchase everything that Nancy might need and 
that he needed without showing himself in the streets. 
The car and chauffeur were supplied by Mr. Snowden. 

A dim light flickered against the dirty panes of the 
tenement basement. Michael tried the door under 
the stoop and found it locked. He tapped on the win- 
dow and some one stirred within. He could make 
out the form of a woman. 

"Nancy! Nancy! It is I, Michael!" he called. 

"Michael!" he heard repeated in a cry of bewilder- 

The door opened and he entered a dark hall. 

' ' Michael ! Michael ! ' ' her voice repeated. He 
groped for her and caught her in his arms as she 
fainted. For a moment he hesitated. There was no 



need of taking her back into the cold hovel in which 
she had found refuge. He turned with her and car- 
ried her to the car. The chauffeur had been given his 
directions. Morning would see them in a little college 
town where was only peace and quiet. Snowden had 
already arranged for their quarters at an inn where a 
motherly woman would care for Nancy. 

He pulled down the shades and switched on an 
overhead light as the car moved off. How pale and 
thin she was! Her clothes were ragged but clean; 
her shoes broken. As he laid her on the deeply cush- 
ioned seat and chafed her wrists he saw that her 
hands were worn and gnarled, the nails broken, the 
flesh of the fingers split. Tears of pity and love 
filled his eyes. She opened her own in time to see 
them fall and strike upon his cheeks, to feel their 
warmth upon her hands. 

"Did they see us?" she asked, sitting up and staring 
about her. "Was he watching the door?" 

"You are safe, Nancy," he told her. 

"Michael! Michael!" She broke into tears. "I 
thought I saw one of them the day I buried Bubs. 
But a poor woman loaned me her veil and it saved 
me. I didn't kill him. I didn't kill him. Some one 
killed him after 1 ran away from the house uptown." 

"Don't worry." He sat beside her and, worn out, 
she let her head fall on his shoulder. ' ' We are going 
where they can't find us and then we will make our 


fight with the weapons they use, money and detec- 
tives. It is already started. We will find and get 
Hindman who sent me to prison and find and get the 
man who killed Littsky." 

The first snow of winter began to fly. They could 
see it dancing ahead of them and as it settled from 
occasional flurries into a steady whirling sheet the 
sounds of the city's night traffic died down. The big 
machine rolled along smoothly and noiselessly, gath- 
ering speed as the city's outskirts were reached. A 
sense of security came to her and the phantom detec- 
tive that had begun to haunt her, sleeping and wak- 
ing, even when she was beside the little coffin of her 
boy, gradually left her. She fell asleep and when she 
awakened Michael made her drink a cup of hot choco- 
late from a thermos bottle and share a goodly lunch 
with him. 


TIERNEY groaned at his desk, groaned from pain 
of body and soul, for not only was his old-fash- 
ioned "belly-ache" back upon him but Mike Horgan 
was out of prison. 

"You better get a doctor to " began Agnes. 

" I '11 paste you with the telephone book, ' ' her chief 
snarled. "Why in hell do they have prisons when 
the poor Johns running them leave the doors and 
windows open every other night ? ' ' 

"He can't get far," suggested Agnes in an effort 
to comfort him. "He's broke, ain't he?" 

"But there's one thing I can tell you, Agnes," he 
said between grunts of pain, his heavy face spotted 
with white. "He and Straw Nancy will come to- 
gether and when we get one of them we'll get the 

"You better get that doctor," she began again as 
she realized that the attack he was suffering was worse 
than any she had witnessed in the past. He paid no 
heed to the suggestion. There was time in his life 
for nothing but man-hunting and the new war busi- 
ness had reached such an enormous scale that money 
from British, French and American manufacturers 



and purchasers of war supplies was pouring into his 
office in an ever widening stream. His detectives and 
guards for the munition plants, warehouses and docks 
already made a pay roll of two thousand and for the 
direction of this force he was working on a profit of 
one dollar a day for each man. He was among the 
first of the great profiteers and although in the be- 
ginning he was not especially cupidous the steady 
piling up of such wealth finally got him and avarice 
crept upon him like a slow disease. He fought off the 
sharp pain in his side as he had done before and when 
a little relief came he wiped the sweat of agony from 
his forehead and asked for a report on the disappear- 
ance of his man Cole. 

"That was what I come in to give you," replied 
Agnes, her pretty face drawn. "It's bad news." 


"We found his clothes in the morgue." 

"He's dead?" 


"How did it happen?" Tierney's eyes were low- 

"He was knocked down in the street by a wagon 
and killed. There weren't any papers in his clothes 
to identify him." 

For a long time he remained silent and thoughtful. 
Death had come a little too close to him and he was 
afraid of its shadow in the strange helpless way of his 


kind. In combat, gun in hand, against any of his 
enemies of the underworld he would have died fighting 
gamely and without a tinge of fear in his heart, but 
this sudden rearing of the specter, leaving a man 
without a chance for a come-back, left him a coward. 
He had bravado but was not brave. He could pull a 
trigger with true aim but he had no philosophy with 
which to meet and face nature 's inevitable, final word. 

"He didn't leave any people, did he?" he asked. 


"Then, we can't do nothing for him. He's gone. 
What case was he on when he was killed ? ' ' 

"He went over to see Mr. Vernon Snowden, the 
lawyer, about Mike Horgan ..." began Agnes. f 

Tierney's face became purple. Horgan! The 
name would drive him crazy. If it hadn't been for 
that gentleman burglar with his high notions, such 
as calling a common street walker a saint, his man 
would be alive and on the job with him to-day. He 
would run him down and make him pay. "Send 
Texas in here," he ordered, "and keep out until I 
call you." 

Texas Darcy sat beside his chief's desk and listened 
patiently to the angry tirade with which Tierney re- 
lieved his soul. 

"Now," said the chief, his head clearing, "we'll get 
down to business. You and me are the only ones in 
this shop that know this guy, Horgan, by sight. We 


got to get him. I've got more money than half these 
bankers downtown and before the war is over I '11 have 
John D. Rockefeller looking like a subway conductor. 
I'm going to spend some of the jack to land this feller 
and land him right and when I land him he 's going to 
pay good and plenty. He and his woman Straw 
Nancy are both running free. We'll catch them to- 
gether. We'll put him back in his cell and then we'll 
let him sit there while his Nancy goes through the 
wires. Murder is the charge against her and police 
headquarters have enough evidence on her to put her 
in the chair a couple of times." 

Texas lit a cigarette, undisturbed by this burst of 

"If I ain't mistaken," Tierney continued, "the 
one big clue that will lead you to this pair of birds 
is going to come out of the office of the high and 
mighty Mr. Vernon Snowden. I sent poor Gloomy 
there to look him over the day he was killed. I want 
you to watch that famous lawyer and, if you can, get 
somebody in his office on our pay roll. We got to get 
at his letters. We might tap his telephone and it 
won't be so hard to get a dictograph in his private 
office and for that matter in his home. We've done 
it in many cases. Texas, there'll be something fat in 
it for you if you handle this case right. Do you get 
it all good in your nut ? ' ' 

"Sure I got it." Darcy took a last whiff from the 


cigarette. His little eyes danced feverishly. "And 
if he puts up another fight when I close in on 
him . . ." 

"Go easy, Texas," warned Tierney. "I'm gonna 
make him pay through his woman. He's got to settle 
with me for all this time and money and the loss of 
one of the best men I ever had on a job." 


REMOTE from great cities, Milford Town with 
its cluster of university buildings, its inn for 
the comfort of visiting alumni and relatives of stu- 
dents, its hospitals amply endowed for the care of the 
people of the surrounding country, its little shops 
along shaded streets and its peacefulness, save for an 
occasional boyish scrimmage, made a haven for Mi- 
chael and Nancy which, after the years of want and 
misery, savored of paradise as they adjusted them- 
selves to it. 

The Stafford bequest had come at an opportune 
time, saving the institution from threatening indebted- 
ness. Michael's return, after his mysterious journey 
to the great outer world, was hailed with delight by 
his old instructors and the members of the faculty, 
for he had been an honor man and a favorite student. 
He lost no time in entering the medical school for his 
degree and found that he had studied so well in prison 
that he could already take the second year examina- 
tions with ease. As a post-graduate student, as well 
as a benefactor of his alma mater, the way lay pleas- 
antly before him for admission to his new profession. 



To inquiries from his old professors as to why he had 
abandoned his first choice, the law, he merely replied 
that many another man had practised for a short time 
only to withdraw. He had found nothing wrong 
with the judicature but with the administration and 
practice of the law there were faults which had made 
him turn from it as a means of occupation. 

Nancy entered the hospital to receive a nurse's 
training, taking the name of Michael's mother before 
she was married, Anna Alston. With the death of his 
wealthy uncle, Michael was left without immediate 
kinsfolk. Their seclusion was complete, their life tak- 
ing on the beauty of calm after storm. Both working 
with the aim, to help the afflicted, whether rich or 
poor, the days passed swiftly and the nights in mutual 
study before bright log fires at the inn, the music of 
sleigh bells silvering the silence beyond their frosted 

The money he had taken from the hoard of the rich 
man, the night of his escape from Sing Sing, had been 
returned. Michael's conscience did not bother him 
on that score. The way of the law with the poverty- 
stricken had made him steal. He told Nancy that it 
was just as well that he had taken the money, for 
then he would be better equipped to write his final 
book advocating the establishment of a Public De- 
fender in the courts of the land, an officer before the 
bar of justice who would ever be ready to look after 


the interests of the penniless prisoners without influ- 
ence, giving him a guarantee of the same opportuni- 
ties for justice that the wealthy and powerful could 

"I think I shall call it 'The People against Nancy 
Preston,' " he told her, "and then we shall be done 
with the law." 

"Unless Tierney finds me," she said quietly. Much 
of the old fear had gone from her as the winter ended 
and the months of bodily comfort and mental occupa- 
tion in the hospital brought her back to the full of 
her old health and beauty. There had been little time 
in which to receive the old phantom guests of her ter- 
rible basement days following the murder of Luther 
Littsky, for Michael had provided her with a tutor 
three evenings a week for the cultivation of her mind 
beyond the needs of the profession she was taking up. 

"Perhaps in the great slaughter that is going on," 
he mused, ' ' the curious world will find less interest in 
the violent death of a single scoundrel. ' ' 

The glory of the springtime came, but their hearts 
heeded not its call although a softer light came to the 
eyes of Nancy and at times she would feel his hand 
tremble when they bade each other good night. They 
worked harder in class room and hospital ward as the 
end of the term approached and summer came with all 
its rich beauty of full-foliaged trees, soft brown roads 
and colorful gardens. 


Faculty, instructors and students went away on 
their vacations and Milf ord Town fell asleep for three 
fragrant months. They took a brief rest from study 
during the last days of June. In the evenings they 
would walk, their lips unmoving, their hearts in com- 

One moonlight night they passed through the de- 
serted streets of the village, by cheerfully lighted win- 
dows and white paling fences which divided the high- 
ways from little gardens now bright with roses, lark- 
spur, geraniums, verbena and salvia, to a winding 
road dappled with silver and velvet shadows. They 
turned into a little path which followed a stream and 
finally paused to sit and rest on a fallen tree where the 
singing waters widened into a pond lying under the 
full moon overhead like an unstamped silver medal 
in a bed of wild flags. He took her hand and held it 
tightly. Her blue eyes were moist and her heart ached 
her with a sweet pain. She rose with him and he took 
her in his arms. He held her so tightly that his clasp 
hurt but she made no protesting cry. When their lips 
separated and the clamor of their hearts died down 
within them, they stood in silence listening to the 
strange noises of the night. The eerie screech of an 
owl, which made Nancy shiver and caused her to put 
her arms again about her lover's shoulders ; the dismal 
call of a whip-poor-will; the stridulations of hidden 


insects and now and again a new note of song from 
the brook as a pebble was dislodged in its bed. 


''Yes, Michael." 

"To-day I received word from Mr. Snowden that 
his men had landed Hindman. It is only a question 
of a little while now when Mike Horgan will be par- 
doned and Tierney and his tribe brushed out of my 
way forever." 

"And then, Michael?" 

"Mr. Snowden 's detectives will clear up your case. 
The man who killed Littsky will be found. Every 
occupant of that house on the night of the murder is 
being investigated thoroughly. The search has nar- 
rowed down to one man. He will be found if money 
can find him." 

"But if they should come and take me away from 
you now," she said, "I think I should die." 


"OOMEjob! Some job!" 

^ James Tierney scratched his bullet-shaped 
head with a fat finger. Before him lay a stenographic 
report of the arraignment, confession and sentence of 
one Martin Hindman for grand larceny, the same 
crime for which he had sent Mike Horgan to the peni- 
tentiary for ten years. The mid-summer heat was 
fierce, and no breeze stirred amid the skyscrapers of 
downtown New York. The blinds of his private office 
were drawn and an electric fan churned the air with 
a droning sound. The perspiration coming down 
from the vampish curls of Agnes were making ravines 
in her rouge. 

"Put some powder on your nose, Agnes," urged 
her chief. "It's a headlight and gets me dizzy." 

"Fooey!" Agnes took a look at herself in the 
mirror of her vanity case and laid on the white screen. 
"That was what I would call a regular piece of work," 
continued Tierney. ' ' They must have spent every bit 
of ten thousand smacks, berries or iron men to land 
him that way. They got him with the goods and 
what's more Hindman 's Jane was loaded down with 



the stuff we thought Morgan had stolen. Then they 
got a confession out of him, just to clinch it." 

"And the evening papers say the Governor has 
signed a pardon for Horgan," panted Agnes. "I 
wish to God it wasn't so hot and my vacation all 
over. ' ' 

"But who is Horgan and where is he?" Tierney 
was not worried about the part he had played in the 
miscarriage of justice. It was his business to protect 
his clients and, anyhow, Horgan was an old jailbird 
and had no right working with one of his people. 
"Didn't I tell you he was some rich nut and this high 
and mighty Mr. Snowden was hunting for him?" he 
asked. "But mebbe he'll break loose soon again. It's 
like all them manias. They have a quiet spell and 
then off they go." Texas Darcy's arrival ended his 
reflections and brought him back to where he be- 
longed, the realm of the concrete. 

"On time, Chief?" asked Texas. 

"Uh-huh. Are you bringin' me anything?" 

"Sure." The rat-faced sleuth lit a cigarette and 
pulled up a chair close to Tierney 's desk. "I got a 
girl on my staff in Snowden 's office. She's been tak- 
ing the names and addresses from all the outgoing let- 
ters. Of course Horgan ain't that guy's real name 
but what it is I got to find out before I can get to 


"Agnes here says the Governor has pardoned him," 
Tierney informed his man. 

"Yes; I saw that in the paper." 

"We ain't got nothing against him." 

"No, but if we get him we'll get Nancy." 


"Another thing." Darcy's fingers played a devil's 
tattoo on the desk. "This detective force Snowden 
rounded up was one of the highest priced bunches of 
men any law firm ever employed. He paid 'em all 
big money. There wasn't a piker in the lot. And 
their orders is not to disband. They go right on draw- 
ing pay." 

"What does that mean?" Tierney mopped his 
mottled brow. 

"I guess it means they're getting a defense ready 
for Nancy in case she 's collared. ' ' 

"Well, they can have all the money in the world, 
except what I've got, and they couldn't hope to win 
out on that case, Texas. The cops have got enough 
witnesses and circumstantial evidence to clap her in 
the chair, if John D. Rockefeller was backing her to 
the last dime." 

"Yes, but it don't amount to nuthin', it don't 
amount to nuthin'," chuckled Darcy. "They ain't 
got Nancy." 

"D'yuh think you can get to this Horgan?" 


"Sure. All I got to do is to trail down everybody 
Snowden sends a letter to. If he's in touch with 
Horgan by mail I'm bound to uncover him and if 
Straw Nancy is in touch with him I'm bound to get 

"Go to it." 

Darcy bounced out of his chair and the room. 


WHEN the goldenrod began to crowd the Queen 
Anne's lace in the fields about Milford Town 
and in the woods the sumach splashed the fading green 
with crimson, Michael and Nancy were hard again at 
their work with the younger students. Money had 
righted the wrong in one instance. And there was 
abundance of it. It would save Nancy, too. Mr. 
Snowden's detectives were digging into the forgotten 
murder of Littsky. The one witness that could have 
saved her, Tierney's man, Cole, was dead. The only 
hope was to find the real murderer and in order to 
start in search of him it was necessary to get the mo- 
tive of the crime. 

From time to time Michael received reports of the 
progress made by his investigators. Littsky 's ugly 
record was dug up and from its foulness came the 
story of the ruin of the Noonan girl. A year and a 
half passed, during which time Michael finished his 
course in the medical school, and received his degree, 
before Mamie Noonan was found, a human derelict. 
She was taken from the gutter and made over again 
by kindness. 

"The Noonan girl tells us," wrote Mr. Snowden, 


"that after Littsky was acquitted, her brother swore 
that he would make him pay for her ruin. Our in- 
vestigators have found that at the time of the mur- 
der a man fitting Noonan's description was a roomer 
in the house. Mrs. Tifft, the landlady, a cocaine ad- 
dict, says that he left the place without giving notice 
of his intention to give up his room, as far as she 
can recall, about the time of the murder. Noonan 
lived in the lower west side of Manhattan and was a 
truck driver and occasionally boxed in the neighbor- 
hood clubs for a few extra dollars. He was not a 
bad sort and had never had much trouble with the 
police. He was very fond of his little sister and, 
from his mother, we learned that for weeks after the 
miscarriage of justice in the trial of Littsky he wept 
and raged against the law. It may interest you to 
know that a great deal of attention is being paid to 
the effect on the psychology of the common people by 
the frequent delays and evasions afforded the wealthy 
in the courts of the land while those without money 
enough to put up a fight receive summary treatment. 
Los Angeles has chosen a Public Defender for her 
courts, with remarkable results, and the Carnegie 
Foundation is now employing an expert investigator, 
a well known Boston lawyer, to determine whether it 
shall give money assistance to the Legal Aid Society. 
Mr. Taft, the ex-President, recently said in a speech 
before the Virginia Bar Association: 'Of all the 


questions that are before the American people, I re- 
gard no one as more important than the improvement 
of the administration of justice. We must make it so 
that the poor man will have as nearly as possible an 
equal opportunity in litigating as the rich man and 
under present conditions, ashamed as we may be of it, 
this is not the fact. ' But to return to Danny Noonan. 
His mother has not heard from him since the time 
of the murder. We must be patient. As you may 
perhaps realize, it is now only a question of a short 
time when this country shall have to declare war 
against Germany. Should our army be raised by con- 
scription the great net will reach Noonan, for he is 
of military age. The government will undoubtedly 
give its assistance and give us access to the registra- 
tion lists. It may be that Danny will return home 
so as to fight with the boys of his own acquaintance. 
My organization is functioning splendidly. Congrat- 
ulations on making your new degree. ' ' 

Michael had taken up the duties of a house phy- 
sician in the hospital, where Nancy served as nurse 
for his patients. Here, it seemed to them, they were 
quite safe from the never-resting hunters of men. 
Alone with her in his office, he read her this report and 
again for the hundredth time asked her to be his wife. 

"The day I'm cleared," was the old answer. 


fTlHE President's call to arms was made in May of 
* the year nineteen hundred and seventeen. The 
United States, a good-natured, drowsy giant, with all 
its faults and with whatever virtues it still held over 
from the simpler early days of its brief history, sprang 
from its couch of ease. 

The war drums were heard in the streets of New 
York. With an obedience to their chosen government 
which astonished the world, the people accepted con- 
scription as easily as they were wont to accept the 
order of the cop on the corner to move on. The lines 
between high and low, rich and poor, disappeared. 
Every man of military age was put on the dollar a 
day level. They ate the same food, wore the same 
uniform, truck driver and lawyer, poet and motorman, 
milkman and millionaire. As the raw material for 
the training camps was gathered in the different pre- 
cincts, New Yorkers who were far away from home 
scurried back to the old familiar streets and neigh- 
borhoods to join "the bunch," their chums of school 
days, their pals, whether of the club or the street cor- 
ner, and among them was Danny Noonan. 

A man of his own age^ intelligent, game for any 


adventure, a good mixer, who was lodging with 
Danny's mother, went to the registration place with 
Danny and together they were taken into the mili- 
tary service of their country. In camp, aboard ship, 
on the fields of France, in the air or under the earth, 
in the jaws of death or hack in resting billets his job 
was to stick to Danny and if possible find out whether 
he was the man who had rid the world of Luther 

Later, when the Seventy-seventh division, with its 
specimens of forty-two different races and creeds from 
New York's harlequinade of humanity, went over seas 
and was moved up to the abyss of hell, Mr. Snowden 
wrote this report to Dr. Michael Stafford, alias Mike 
Horgan, house physician in the hospital at Milford 

"Tom Danforth, an exceptionally clever young man 
in our employ, informs me that he and Noonan are fast 
and firm buddies, are in fact in the same squad. 
They sleep and fight together. Like many another lad 
of his kind, Noonan looks with profound veneration 
on the chaplain of their outfit. They have had al- 
ready a taste of fighting and Danforth reports that 
Noonan seems anxious to join the other boys of his 
faith in preparing for death. But as yet he has not 
asked the chaplain to hear his confession. Such a 
confession of course would be of no avail to us. The 
courts protect the sanctity and secrecy between priest 


and penitent. But should the chaplain know that the 
life of an innocent person is at stake it would then 
be his duty to have his penitent openly confess. The 
only danger is that Noonan may be killed in action 
before we can get the truth from him. If he did kill 
Littsky and dies without making that fact known we 
shall then have to plead justification in case of an ar- 
rest and trial. But I beg you not to become impatient 
or uneasy. Tom Danf orth is a youngster of splendid 
resources, is absolutely reliable and if any one can 
bring success to our efforts I think that he can. If 
you are considering offering your services to the army 
I would advise against it. Remember that in the 
event of an arrest you would be the chief witness for 
the defense. You must remain where you are as a 
matter of duty as well as a matter of love. The life 
or at least the liberty of an innocent woman is at stake. 
Besides, I am sure that you will be greatly needed at 
home, for some physicians must be kept on this side 
of the water." 

This report was received in the summer of nine- 
teen hundred and eighteen. The little university 
town was deserted. Books were gathering dust, 
laboratories closed and the boys of the coming class 
of nineteen hundred and nineteen were going through 
the setting-up exercises on the campus under the di- 
rection of brisk little lieutenants from the officers' 
reserve corps. 


Michael and Nancy cared for the sick and the in- 
jured, quietly doing their humble bit, the shadow al- 
ways near them. A single German bullet might de- 
stroy their chance of happiness, wipe out their hope 
of justice. At any moment a hand might drop upon 
Nancy's shoulder and the happy life of giving help 
and comfort to the sick changed to life in a cell, sepa- 
ration from the man she loved, a trial for murder and 
perhaps a conviction. 

"If we could both get across," she suggested one 
evening as they walked beside their singing brook, 
"we might die together. That would be a happy end 
to it all, Michael." 

"But if we didn't die," he replied to this, "we 
would have to go on living under this cloud. If we 
remained in Europe after the war and there were 
children, think of our fear then." 

"I wonder if they are still hunting for me." The 
old fear came upon her. There was the phantom of 
a detective behind every tree and bush. He took her 
in his arms and kissed away the tears that wet her 

A bugle sounded the call to quarters from the dis- 
tant campus. As they stood, heart to heart, the limpid 
lingering notes hanging in the still night air, New 
York's Own, the Seventy-seventh Division, began 
hacking its way through the Argonne Forest, which 
had withstood the valor of the French for so long. 


With well-weighted trench knives, with bayonet, 
grenade and pistol, East Side and West Side boys 
went to the task, crap shooters, dips, dope fiends, 
truck drivers, burglars, saints, sinners, college lads, 
bank clerks, Danny Noonan and Tom Danforth. 


"rTlALK about the Paris apaches handing the 

- Heinies something at the Battle of the Marne ! ' ' 
shouted Agnes to the morning gathering of Jim Tier- 
ney's men. "You can tell the world that there are 
doings in the Argonne." She waved her newspaper 
over her head. "It's the last round of the scrap." 

In the general chuckle from the men, one narrow- 
faced ferret failed to join. His little cigarette-stained 
mustache did not spread with a responding grin. His 
eyes twinkled nervously. 

"What's the matter with you, Darcy?" she de- 

"I want to get to the boss in a hurry," he replied. 

"I'll take a look-see." She hurried into the sanc- 
tum and in a few moments returned to the assembly 
room and signed to Darcy that he could go in. 

"Tell me something," was Tierney's greeting. 

"I got it to tell," was his quick answer. "I was 
fooled a long time but I've landed Horgan. He's 
Dr. Michael Stafford, and he's in charge of a hospital 
at Milford Town." 

"Is Nancy with him?" 



"I'm pretty sure she is." 

"You been up there?" 

"Just long enough to be sure that this doctor was 
Horgan. I got the tip from a letter sent him from 
Snowden's office. I was afraid he'd uncover me and 
pass word to Nancy before we had a warrant. That's 
what brought me back." 

Tierney picked up his telephone receiver and got 
police headquarters and the detective bureau. 

"Jim Tierney talking. Something doing in the 
Littsky case. You got a warrant for Nancy Preston. 
All right. Get it out and have a man ready to hop 
a train when I telephone you next. That 's all. ' ' He 
hung up and turned to Darcy again. "I think I'll 
run up there and look this thing over myself," he 
said. "I got a nasty belly-ache again, but it sure 
pays me to stand in with the old gang in Centre street. 
If I land the case for them, they'll land something 
for me. They'll have a man ready with the warrant 
to jump a train the minute I telephone 'em. There 
ain't anything more for you to do. Tell Agnes to 
get out my bag." 

Agnes did not like the idea of his making a trip 
out of town while his old trouble was back on him. 
"It's foolish, Chief," she warned him. "Darcy can 
do it for you. Suppose you're taken violent on the 
train or something? Think of all that bank full of 
money we made out of this old war and you not hav- 


ing a chance to spend any of it yet. What's the use 
of running the risk of kicking off now ? ' ' 

"That will be about enough from you," he grunted, 
although the smile under his bristly mustache showed 
his appreciation of her concern. "Come over here." 
She went to him and he took her hand. "I couldn't 
get along without you, Agnes," he said, hesitatingly. 
"We've been pulling together a long time and there 
ain't such a big difference in our ages, is there?" 
She laughed and pressed against his knee. Was the 
big question coming, the question she had played so 
long and earnestly for? Was she going to step from 
her secretary's desk into a palace on Fifth avenue and 
begin to order the trimmings for her own sedan? 

"Jim, you're kidding me," she replied, as his arm 
slipped up to her waist. 

"No, I ain't." 

"Yes, you are." 

"Who'll I leave all this war money to?" he asked. 


"Well, I ain't going to leave it to the Society for 
the Prevention of Cruelty to Second-term Convicts." 

She laughed as he timidly drew her down to his 
knees. He was no ladies' man, but his money was 
beginning to make him lonesome. She was his own 
kind and he was of her kind. 

"Say, Agnes," he stammered, his face fiery red 
and his fat hands shaking, "will you?" 


"Will I what, Jim?" 

"Go to the church with me!" 

She snuggled her painted face down on his shoul- 
der and cried for sheer happiness as the huge fish was 
landed safely. 

"That's settled!" He got to his feet, smacked her 
heartily and picked up his bag. "I'll be back to- 
morrow or the next day," he informed her. "Hop 
out and buy a million dollars' worth of clothes and 
diamonds and then we '11 run over to the city hall and 
get the license as soon as I get back." 


SOME of the pain would leave him when he thought 
of Agnes and a home life, but the jolting of the 
cars at each stop on his way to Milford Town hurt 
Tierney clear through to the spine. It was all right 
when they were running over a smooth stretch of 
track but he got to dreading the sound of the loco- 
motive whistle when it heralded a station ahead. 

He reached his destination an hour before mid- 
night and took a taxi to the inn. The night was hot 
and doors and windows were open. He paid the taxi 
man at the entrance of the screened porch as a bell 
boy took his bag. As he was about to enter the door 
of the hostelry the screen door behind him swung open 
and shut and he heard the rustle of stiff skirts. He 
drew to one side as a woman in the uniform of a 
nurse passed him. He was in the dark. As the light 
within struck her face he recognized her instantly. 
The little white cap gave him a full view of her every 
feature, showed her soft brown hair and her large 
sweet blue eyes. He reached the nearest chair on the 
porch and remained outside, telling the bell boy who 
returned to find out what had become of him that he 
was tired and not well and would rest there awhile. 



Despite the pain he was suffering he showed his old 
eagerness and skill in shadowing. Without a chance 
of being observed, his rubber-heeled shoes quieting 
his tread, he watched his quarry as she stood and 
chatted for a moment with the clerk. He heard him 
tell her that Dr. Stafford had retired and heard her 
give the time for her morning call. Then she went to 
the elevator and was taken to her rooms. 

Tierney registered, asked for room and bath and 
inquired if there was a telephone in the room as- 
signed him. Told that there was, he followed the bell 
boy with his bag. The chase was ended or would be 
in the morning. The elevator stopped with a jerk 
at the top floor and the detective fell against the 
side of the cage with a groan. "My God!" he ex- 
claimed, "I'm a sick man. You almost killed me." 
A glance at his face assured both the bell boy and the 
operator that the guest was ill. Tierney felt as if he 
could not get another foot but by leaning on the bell 
boy he made the room. 

' ' You better get a doctor, ' ' he said as he fell on his 

"Dr. Stafford lives in the hotel," the boy informed 
him, "but he has retired." 

"Don't get him. Not him. I don't want to wake 
him up, ' ' he gasped. ' ' Get another doctor and leave 
that light on. I'm a sick man. Get him quick." 
He realized that, stricken as he was, one glimpse from 


November and a jury panel was ready. The court 
room was crowded. Mike Horgan had been nobody 
and Nancy Preston worse than nobody when they 
last faced a jury here. But now Dr. Michael Stafford, 
with his strong past, much guessed-at by the news- 
papers, heir to the Stafford estate, devoted lover and 
friend of a woman with a past, commanded wide at- 
tention. Nancy ran the gauntlet of photographers as 
many another woman, innocent and guilty, has done in 
the fascinating annals of New York's criminal courts. 
She wore her nurse's garb at the suggestion of her 
counsel, Michael sitting beside her within the railing. 

"The defense is ready, Your Honor," announced 
Mr. Snowden, "except for one witness who is on the 
sea. His ship is due here by the end of the week. 
We may have to ask a delay of a day so that his testi- 
mony may be included. I am sure that this will be 
granted in the interest of justice. In the meanwhile 
we are ready to go ahead with the trial up to that 

Twelve men were chosen from the panel with little 
difficulty and were sworn to try the case truly and 
according to the evidence. That required a day, the 
opening arguments the better part of the following 
day and the actual fight was on. 

The corpus delicti was established and the police, 
through the district attorney, presented as exhibits 
drawings of the room where the murder was com- 


mitted, made to scale, photographs taken immediately 
after the crime was reported, a strand of hair and 
finger prints taken from articles in the room. The 
linen collar worn by the dead man was also placed in 
evidence. It showed one finger print . . . Nancy's. 

Detective headquarters had arranged its evidence 
in a most commendable manner. There was not a 
hitch in its presentation. The photographs showed 
the disturbed condition of the room, the broken chair 
lying not many feet from the prostrate body of 
Littsky, even Mrs. Tifft in her drug-sleep asprawl on 
the bed, the pieces of torn night-wear on the floor 
and the remnants of the garment itself were produced 
as they were found in the adjoining room. An expert 
testified that the strand of hair was Nancy's. Ber- 
tillon experts demonstrated with enlarged photo- 
graphic reproductions that the finger prints were hers. 
The torn nightgown was pieced together. The testi- 
mony of these witnesses was damning to the chances 
of the accused. 

Mrs. Tifft, carefully coached and sufficiently doped 
to keep her wits active, was sworn. She told of 
Littsky paying for the lodging of Nancy and her 
child, his purchase of the supper on the night of the 
murder and of his visit to Nancy's room while she 
was undressed. She saw them fighting and took the 
boy away. After that she was taken ill and must 
have swallowed an overdose of pain-killing tablets for 


she could remember nothing else until she came out 
of the coma and found herself in Nancy's room. She 
had only a vague remembrance of having gone there 
and of having seen Nancy take her boy from her. 

"Was she fighting as if to protect herself from 
Littsky?" asked Mr. Snowden, on cross-examination. 

' ' They were fighting all over the room, ' ' she replied. 

"Was she pleading with him?" 

"I didn't hear any pleading. They were just 

"Did Littsky cry out to you to take the boy from 
the room ? ' ' 

"I think he did tell me to take him out." 

"Had you known him for any length of time?" 

"A number of years." 

"Were you beholden to him in any way?" 


' ' Did he own the building you rented for a lodging 
house ? ' ' 


"Did you ever know a girl named Mamie Noonan?" 


"Did she ever have a fight with Littsky in your 

"Yes; they had a fight one night." 

"What about?" 

"I don't know." 

"You were a witness for Littsky, were you not?" 



"What was he charged with?" 

"I've forgotten." The dope was wearing out and 
she was becoming frightened. 

"The charge was that Littsky attacked the Noonan 
girl," offered the district attorney. "He was tried 
and acquitted." 

"That will do." Mr. Snowden ended his cross- 

The waiter from the rotisserie was sworn and testi- 
fied that Littsky had given the order for the supper 
and had told him to take it to Mrs. Tifft 's house. He 
knew the prisoner, having seen her about the neigh- 
borhood and having noticed her because of her pretty 
hair and eyes. "And she always had a little boy 
with her," he added. "They would stop in front of 
the restaurant windows sometimes." 

"Did they ever enter the restaurant?" asked Mr. 
Snowden when he took the witness. 

"No. They just stood outside and looked at the 
spits before the coals, watching the roasting fowls 
and beef." 

"Did they seem hungry?" 

"Objection," snapped the district attorney. 

"Sustained," decided the judge. 

' ' The boy cried one night, ' ' went on the witness. 


"Overruled. He may tell what he saw." 


"Go on," said Mr. Snowden softly. "You say 
he cried?" 

"Yes, sir. Then I saw the prisoner put her hand 
to her throat as if something hurt her there. I got 
two pieces of bread and laid a slice of roast beef be- 
tween them and was going to go out and give it to 
them but they were lost in the Broadway crowd before 
I could manage it." 

"That will do." 

"Just a moment." The district attorney held him 
for a moment of re-direct examination. 

"Many people pause in front of the restaurant win- 
dows, do they not?" 

"Oh, yes, sir." 

"That will do." 

"A moment, please." Mr. Snowden was on his 
feet again and his voice was gentle, his florid fea- 
tures grave. "Do you see many of them cry as they 
look at the cooking food in your window?" he asked. 

"I only seen one other one." 

"Tell us about that case." 

"I knew the girl. She used to be very pretty and 
hung around the stage entrances. She got in trouble 
and then she got shabby and hungry, I guess." 

"I object, Your Honor!" shouted the district at- 

' ' On what grounds ? ' ' asked the court. 

"The question is irrelevant. Did Littsky starve 


this girl? Is she or Nancy Preston being tried for 
this murder?" 

"What has counsel for the defense to say?" asked 
the court. 

"The relevancy of the question may be decided by 
a single other question and that is, What is the name 
of the girl who cried?" replied Mr. Snowden. 

"She was Mamie Noonan," blurted the witness. 

Time for adjournment had come. Mr. Snowden 
was all smiles. "The few words of that man's testi- 
mony lay the finest foundation for your story," he 
told Nancy as Michael helped her with her cloak and 
prepared to ride back to the Tombs with her. 


HE district attorney saw the trend of the defense. 
Nancy was to be made another Mamie Noonan. 
He would check this by holding back his star witness, 
James Tierney, to offset any character witnesses that 
might be sworn for the defendant. Snowden was an 
astute man, a quick thinker, suave in his approach, 
missing no opportunity. Tierney in rebuttal would 
trap him. Counsel for the defense could lay out its 
story of innocence despoiled, of a woman starved only 
to be attacked for the satisfaction of a man's desire, 
of her child crying before a well-filled restaurant win- 
dow and then he would put on a witness to tell of her 
street-walker's career, her life with Bill. He smiled 
with pleasure at the thought of checkmating this ex- 
cellent lawyer. It was a battle of wits, polite enough, 
polite as a French duel with rapiers. 

Another day passed in making complete the evi- 
dence for the prosecution and still another during 
which Nancy told her story from beginning to end, 
simply, with no stress upon any one phase of its 
source. But Mr. Snowden brought out the seven 
beautiful years of game fighting, clean fighting, of a 
woman who had found herself and out of the world 



had found one friend, Michael. Her testimony of how 
Cole had saved her could not be corroborated, for Cole 
was dead. It was the one terribly weak spot in her 
story. It seemed like a lie. 

The cross-examination was little short of cruel but 
she had stood it once before and she stood it again, her 
eyes unclouded by tears, her brave heart beating 
strongly within her as the sunlight again laved her 
in the witness chair and the eyes of the curious spec- 
tators were riveted on her face. 

When she left the stand Mr. Snowden informed the 
court that the hospital transport Phoenix with his 
witness from overseas had been reported at Sandy 
Hook and that she would dock during the night. 
"Until I can have a talk with him," he said, "I would 
like to hold up the presentation of the case for the 
defense. There are still two hours before time for 
adjournment and if the district attorney would like 
to put on one of his witnesses I shall have no ob- 

The district attorney bowed low and with a broad 
smile. It was an excellent opportunity to show the 
eminent lawyer and the newspaper men what he could 
do for the People in this trial. Nothing could be 
more telling for the prosecution than to have Tierney 
follow Nancy. He was sworn to tell the truth, the 
whole truth and nothing but the truth and for the 
first time in his long career as a manhunter he had 


the opportunity to tell it and tell it in that way. He 
would leave out nothing, never mind how much hurt 
was done the case for the People. Agnes, as brightly 
dressed as a full window of a department store, 
watched him from a front seat. 

''As a detective on the New York police force eight 
years ago you met the defendant, I believe," began 
the district attorney. 



"Sixf avener." 

"At night?" 


"What was she doing at that time?" 

' ' It was a cold night and sleeting, ' ' replied Tierney. 
"I seen her breeze around from Forty-second street 
and stop to talk to a man, a little bit of a dried up 
feller, with hands and feet like a child. He looked 
sick, like he'd just come out of the hospital." 

' ' She accosted him ? ' ' 

"Yes, sir. She was wearing a pair of wool mittens 
and he didn't have any gloves or overcoat on. I saw 
her talk with him and then take off the mittens and 
make him put 'em on. Then she laughed and went 

The district attorney's face flushed. Nancy smiled. 
She remembered the poor devil of the night, a com- 
panion in misery. 


"You didn't tell me about that when I talked with 
you in my office," said the district attorney. 


"Why didn't you?" 

"Because I thought you were only interested in 
what could be used for the prosecution and I wanted 
to save you time." 

"I move that that answer be stricken from the 
records. ' ' 

"Why?" asked the court. 

"Because it is incompetent and immaterial," re- 
plied the district attorney. 

"What have you to say to that, Mr. Snowden?" the 
court asked. 

"It can be neither incompetent nor immaterial, 
Your Honor," he replied. "The district attorney is 
an officer of the court and is supposed to have the 
interest of the defendant as much at heart as the in- 
terest of the People. But our practice has become 
such that a trial in search of justice is no longer a 
fair and impartial presentation and study of the evi- 
dence. It is one side against the other and the de- 
fendant is generally ground between the upper and 
nether mill stones. The rebuttal evidence of this wit- 
ness is aimed to show the true character of the de- 
fendant. The answer as given shows an act upon 
which we can very well attribute humaneness, a neces- 
sary concomitant of high character." 


"The answer remains in the record. Proceed, Mr. 
District Attorney." 

Tierney, covering his face with a big hand, had 
managed to wink to Agnes during this colloquy. In 
many a trial his ability to get before the jury mate- 
rial that the rules of evidence would have disbarred, 
had they been invoked in time, had helped secure a 
conviction. He was now using his old tricks from the 
other angle. 

' ' The defendant has testified that for a time she was 
a woman of the streets," again began the district at- 
torney, his anger ill-concealed. "Will you tell what 
you know about that part of her career ? ' ' 

"All I know is that I seen her on the street a num- 
ber of times, just like I seen lots of other people. ' ' 

"Sold out!" gasped the prosecuting officer under 
his breath. The witnesses from headquarters grinned. 
They had seen this happen many a time. How much 
did he get from the Stafford millions? It must have 
been some wad. The district attorney decided that 
his only chance was to give Tierney plenty of rope so 
that he might hang himself. 

"Just go ahead and tell all that you want about 
this defendant's life and character," he said with a 
harsh little laugh. 

"Well, I tell ya," began Tierney, his face sobering 
and his eyes turned straight to the jurors. "I was 
after her a long time and it took a lot of hard work 


for me to find her. The night I got her uncovered 
I was laid low with violent appendicitis, just across 
the way from the hospital where she and Dr. Stafford 
worked. I was carried over there and all my clothes 
taken off. I was laid out on the table and before I 
knew it they were leaning over me and knew that I 
had come to get the defendant. He had the knife in 
his hand and she had the ether ready. They could 
have put me away and nobody ever would have known 
I was murdered. As far as she understood, I was the 
only one who knew her. It was a chance she had to 
save herself from the chair. She didn't take it. She 
and him operated on me and saved my life and made 
me well again." It was a long speech for Tierney, 
perhaps the longest he had made in his life and it left 
his throat dry. He gulped uneasily and became 
nervous. Agnes, resplendent, her devotion shining in 
her eyes, was leaning over the railing toward him. 
He stared at her fondly and a great wave of gratitude 
filled him as he recalled Nancy's voice saying, "He is 
saved!" And he thought it was the voice of Mary 
announcing the forgiveness of his Maker when it was 
only Nancy's voice. Perhaps, at that, he had been 
saved spiritually as well as mortally. The light from 
the window at his left seemed to make his eyes smart. 
The court room was in dead silence. Two great tears 
formed on the reddish eyelashes of the witness, bal- 


anced for a moment and coursed down his saggy 

"Do you wish to cross-examine?" the court asked 
Mr. Snowden. 

"No, sir." 

"There is still some time which I would not like 
to see wasted," the court suggested. "If the district 
attorney has a witness ready ..." 

But the district attorney had none ready. He was 
sorely rattled by the treachery of Tierney and wanted 
time in which to straighten out his muddled cards. 

"I would like to put Dr. Stafford on the stand and 
ask him just one question," Mr. Snowden volun- 

"If the district attorney agrees." 

"If he will let me know the question first." 

Mr. Snowden crossed and whispered it to him. 

"I'll agree," he said after a moment's thought 

Dr. Stafford was sworn. 

"Will you tell the jury how it was that you came 
to meet the defendant?" 

"When I graduated from college with a degree in 
law I received an appointment as deputy assistant dis- 
trict attorney in a New England city. My only near 
kinsman was an uncle now dead. He was very 
wealthy and was quite anxious for me to make my 
mark in a profession he greatly admired. I soon had 


an opportunity to show what was in me. I was given 
the prosecution of a case of a poor peddler charged 
with murder. I easily convicted him on circumstan- 
tial evidence and he was in prison under sentence of 
death when I discovered that the simple story he had 
told me in his own defense was the absolute truth. 
Had he been equipped with funds he could have easily 
proved his innocence, for it was only a matter of time 
and careful search for the one witness who could have 
established his case for him. I was horrified and 
made reparation as quickly as I could. This got me 
interested in the legal aid societies which were strug- 
gling without sufficient funds to help the penniless in 
the courts of justice. With my uncle's permission I 
abandoned the practice of law and came to New York 
where I went into the underworld to make my studies. 
It was thus I met the defendant and her courage in 
adversity delighted me and held me as her friend until 
now. ' ' 

The district attorney asked to be allowed to post- 
pone his cross-examination and the trial was adjourned 
until the next morning. 


r I THREE men in uniform appeared in court when 
* the case was resumed the next morning. Tom. 
Danforth, his top sergeant, and the lieutenant of his 
platoon. Danny Noonan's buddy, a clean-cut young- 
ster, had proved every bit as efficient as Mr. Snowden 
had thought him. He took the witness stand, holding 
a long sealed envelope in his hand. 

"Before my buddy, Danny Noonan, went with the 
rest of the boys for the first charge into the Ar- 
gonne, ' ' he testified, ' ' he wrote the letter that is in this 
envelope and gave it to me. I was to stay behind 
that night as a runner from regimental headquarters 
to the line. He made me promise not to open it unless 
he was killed. "While he was writing it I got my 
sergeant and my lieutenant to stand near him and 
see him fill up the sheets, fold them and put them in 
the envelope. When he sealed it I made them write 
their names across the flap, although Danny didn't 
know I did this. Then I gave the letter to the lieu- 
tenant to put away for me. The boys went across 
and Danny was brought in mortally hurt the next 
day. He died in the hospital afterward and when I 
went back into the line I was captured. As soon as 



I could get back to my regiment, I found my captain 
and told him about what work I had been doing for 
Mr. Snowden. We were sending a bunch of the 
slightly wounded back and he detailed my lieutenant, 
the top sergeant and myself to go along with them. 
That 'show I'm here." 

"May I ask what Danny Noonan had to do with 
this case ? ' ' requested the district attorney. 

"Perhaps the letter will show," suggested Mr. 

"But there is no ground for you putting it in evi- 
dence," came the technical protest. 

"I know that, Your Honor," said Mr. Snowden. 
"It is only by a hair that my client is being saved 
from the electric chair or prison. The life or liberty 
of an innocent woman must be the price paid in this 
instance for strict adherence to the rules of evidence, 
rules which multiply with every decision of every 
court in the land, with the separate State legislatures 
grinding out thousands of new laws yearly upon which 
further rules are based. The only way in which I 
can connect my dead witness Noonan with this case 
is to have another witness testify whether he knows 
of any threats Noonan may have made against the 
life of Littsky." 

"That will be sufficient. But do you know the 
gist of what is in this communication from beyond 
the grave?" asked the court. 


"I do not, sir." 

"Well, proceed to get in the record evidence that 
will warrant the acceptance of this letter." 

Mr. Snowden produced Danny Noonan's mother, 
withdrawing Danforth for the time. She told of the 
ruin of her daughter Mamie and of her son swearing 
that Littsky would pay for it. Before the district 
attorney could stop her she added: "And if my 
brave boy killed him. I know God will thank him 
for it." 

The judge, summoning the district attorney and 
Mr. Snowden to his desk, read the letter while the 
jurors, Nancy, Michael, Tierney, Agnes, and the spec- 
tators watched their silently moving lips. As Mr. 
Snowden turned to resume his seat he spread out his 
hands to his client, his face wreathed in smiles. 

"The letter is admitted in evidence," decided the 
judge. "The clerk will please read it." 

The clerk, wiping his glasses and clearing his 
throat, read: 

A. E. F., 

"To the District Attorney, 
"New York City. 

' ' If anybody gets in trouble for the murder of 
Luther Littsky this is to let you know that I 
killed him, me Danny Noonan. I hit him on the 
head with a black-jack but he didn't die from 
that, so I choked him until he was dead and I 


ain't sorry although if you get this letter you'll 
know the Heinies got me. 

' ' I was laying for him a long time and trailed 
him to the Tifft house where I rented a room. 
The morning I killed him he was trying the same 
thing with some other woman he did for my little 
sister. Then a man interfered and took the 
woman out. He locked Littsky in and threw the 
key in a corner of the hall. Then it was my 
turn and I done the job I wanted to do. He had 
so much money and diamonds I took them but 
after awhile it all looked so dirty I couldn't 
spend it. I tucked it under the old water boiler 
and other rubbish that lay in a corner of the 
basement where my mother lives. It ought to be 
there now. I never did steal anything although 
I've been arrested for fighting. I am glad I 
didn't use that money. A lot of lawyers could 
take his kale and save him by sending Mamie to 
the gutter but none for me. 

"Yours trulie, 


"I think the final verification of the genuineness 
of this document will be simple enough," the judge 
said with a smile toward Nancy and Michael. ' ' While 
the witnesses to the sealing of the envelopes are testi- 
fying I shall send to the Noonan house and have the 
basement searched for the money and diamonds. I 
think that counsel for the defense should be repre- 
sented there." 

"Mr. Danforth will go for us," said Mr. Snowden. 

The short distance to the lower West Side was 


quickly covered and Danforth and a detective from 
the district attorney's office were soon back in court 
with Littsky's money and diamonds. 

"Argument is hardly necessary, gentlemen," sug- 
gested the court. "If you are agreeable I shall ask 
the jury to retire and bring in an immediate verdict. ' ' 

The jurors whispered to each other and the fore- 
man asked for pen and ink and paper. 

"We, the jury in the case of the People against 
Nancy Preston/' read the foreman, "charged with 
the murder of Luther Littsky, find the said Nancy 
Preston not guilty as charged in the indictment." 

Nancy, who had been bidden to rise and look upon 
the jury, sank into her chair and leaned her head 
against Michael's shoulder. 

"There's no need of crying now, dear heart," whis- 
pered Michael as he drew her close to him. "The last 
of the clouds have been swept aw.ay." 


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