The news-herald. (Plattsmouth, Neb.) 1909-1911, April 15, 1909, Image 2
The "Black Hand" at Tony's By GEORGE F. BUTLER and HERBERT ILSLEY Dr. Furnivall in the Solution of a Perplexing Case. N' Ihe 12Ui of July at two o'clock In the morning "LH'.le Italy" was startled ly a sound that sent Its constituent parta tum bling out of bed and scamper ing about us If demented It was the report of an explosion, like that of a gun discharged suddenly In tho silence of the night. While women in nightcloihcs ran wildly here and ihere, squalling babieH in arms, and men nearly naked vociferated exclt edly and rushed for weapons, three things happened in front of No. 110 with the Htiddeiine.su of u flash of lightning. A first-floor window vom ited a policeman to tho sidewalk, the door flew open disclosing another po liceman In the entry, and the near by alley emitted a breathless third. Meeting ut the foot of (he stairway, these three officers regarded each other blankly. "Ilo took the stairs where Is ho, Murphy?" gasped tho one who had come by way of the window. "Man, I tell you I saw him!" con tradicted Finnegan. "lie banged open Tony's door and hit the landing In two jumps mid down he went. I was looking right at him. And I heard lilni on the stairs. He was in his stocking feet, by the sound." "I heard sounds all right, and that's why I opened the door to let the light In from tho street lamp so 1 could see. Hut nobody showed up." Detective Hirsch said nothing, but If the darkness had been less dense they would have seen that his face was set ami grim. In the hall a thin line of light ran beneath u door, from behind which came sounds of sobbing and moaning, nnd entering without cere mony they beheld, through little wreaths of smoke, a woman sitting on a bed, holding In her arms a young fellow down whose face the blood streamed, and a man on his knees In the middle of the floor praying ve hemently with uplifted hands. "Tony," be said then to the praying man sharply, "anybody but him In jured?" motioning towards the bed. "None-a bud da boy," he answered, and In the same breath continued his screaming i implications. "flood boy!" he said encouragingly. "You've got the right stuff In your In side. It takes more than a little thin;; like this to knock you out, hey! Now, tell us about It." "I don't, think I know much." the boy returned In a weak voice, but in good English. "I woke up and saw somebody outside my room on the llreescapo, and 1 asked who was there. Then something struck me on the head, I heard a big roar, and I supposo I fell out of bed, for when I came to myself my mother was drag ging me across the floor." "Well, but say!" cried the aston ished detective, "the window was closd and locked, wasn't it, as I found it just now? How could any body throw a bomb through It with out breaking the glass? It nln't broken, and It was fastened when 1 went to put It up." "It Is strange." said (he youth. "He sides, father and mother heard some body hurry across this room, open the door and shut It, nnd then run downstairs." The detective looked Inquiringly at tho woman, who nodded. "We heard a da one," she said. In the midst of her moaning. "He mnken da foot on da floor, on da floor, an' make a da door go bang. We hear for sure." Detective Hirsch started suddenly Into the next room, the sleeping quar ters of tho parents, and the living room of the ramily as well. On the way he raised the praying little Ital ian by the collar, and, carrying him along, deposited him on a chair. Then carefully closing the connecting door ho gazed sternly at the fright ened countenance of the man who in the neighborhood was known as Tony the Harbor. "Look here," he said, with all the weight he could put Into his manner, "didn't I say you mustn't let a liv ing soul know you hRd received a let ter from the Hlnck Hand? Yet here you go and tell It" "Non, nop, I no lal-a!" the Italian interrupted. "You tal-a me no tal a anybod'. I tal a nobod', for sure. Da boy he ask for why I clos' da wind' sosh da hot night. I no tal-a da boy. I tal a nobod'. non non!" "Well, but It's a sure cinch they were on tho lookout for us, or the thing wouldn't have been pulled off i-o slick. They must have been onto tho game for fair, however they got Ihere. Why, here whs Murphy at the foot of the stairs, Finnegan almost right at your keyhole, and I myself in the alley under your window; yet his slick gazabo scoots in. bangs the iKltllb and Slides to cover Without any trouble Tho thing is Impossible. It's j impossible any way you look at it. Now " The detective's puzzled gaze hap pened at this moment to light upon Murphy, who was poking around In u closet wiili his night-stick, and a gleam of surprised intelligence shot Into his face. He paused abruptly In liis speech and stood considering. Then he looked at his watch. "I'll leave this to you, Murphy for the l ri s.'tn," ho said, finally. "You know what io do, and I'll see you later. 1 And "Dr. Furnivall," said Detective Hirsch, "here Is something thnt will Interest you, or I am mightily mis taken." Hn passed a letter to the celebrated psychologist as he spoke, his thin, clean-shaven face flushed with eager ness. Dr. Furnivall, silting back in his chair, glanced at bis visitor, and, taking the dirty sheet of paper, read slowly aloud: "'Tony, you gotta four thous-a dol lar wat wo gotta get from you Wednesday, sure. We donna wan no foolin'. We need-a da mon bad, an' gotta get it by this n time Wednesda' da 10 July, or we kil a you. We kll a da boy firs' an' da worn'. Thursda' we kll-u da boy If we donna getta da mon Wednesda'. You sen In letter to Jon Kllbrult.li, fleneral Delivery, San Francisco, (,'allf. We mean a da biz now, an' we donna wan no chin about da mat. You sen da mon or we kil a sure.' " Heading the sheet were a. rudely drawn black hand and coflin. Dr. Furnivall regarded it In silence for sonw seconds after finishing the read ing. Then he examined the detec tive through his colored spectacles. "Well?" he asked. Detective Hirsch leaned forward In his chair. "A week ago yesterday," he said, speaking rapidly and in a low voice, as if fearing possible listeners, "Tony Macdluso, the barber, brought this letter to our station, lie had just received it by mail. It seems he has sav-d up $4,000 to put his son, who graduated from the Latin school last month, through a collego In Koine and make a priest of him. Now, the strange thing is that nobody but Tony and his wife knows ho has this money, not even the boy, for they intended It for a surprise for him on his birth day, which comes next week. They have lived so poorly in order to scrape the stuff together that they nre sup posed lo be about down and out. So It's a puzzle from Hie start who could write that letter. We told Tony to hold his grip on the cash, and we would see him through. First we sent a dummy letter to the San Francisco general delivery, and then I... I 111... I . 1. A . I ikmiiii-ii in ponce mere to iook out for 11. At this end of the line we could do no more till yesterday, Thurs day, because nothing was threatened against the boy until then. We kept the whole family covered all day, and last night I hid myself under the fire escape, within eight feet of Tony's windows: another man. Murphy, sneaked around In the lower hall, where lie could see everybody that went over the stairs, and still another man. Finnegan. laid on the landing almost right at Tony's door. Just the same, at two o'clock Ibis morning, nobody being seen going in, we all heard an explosion, which turned out to have been In Tony's room. Finne gan beard a door open and shut right on top of the explosion, saw a ninn jump out of Tony's rooms, and heard him running down the stairs towards the front door, where Murphy was posted, and out goes Finnegan from the hall window, dropping right In front of tho door. There stands Mur phy, rubbering It up the stairs, be cause he heard some noises. Hut when Finnegan asks him for his man he swears he has seen nobody!" The detective paused nnd looked suggestively at Dr. Furnivall, who smiled delightedly, "(lo on," he said. "We hiked it for all we were worth for Tony's, ami found him praying on the floor, and the boy with a gash a foot long, more or less, in his face, his mother holding him up In bed, nnd scattered all round were murks of a bomb good and plenty. The boy was hurt so that ho was only half taking notice, but ho was leaking grit, just the same, and managed to tell me all he knew, which wasn't much. He said that he woke up in the niitbt and saw a person on the fire-escape outside his window, and when he asked who was there something struck him In the head, and he fell out of bed unconscious. Tony and the old woman heard the sound of feet run- nlng across the boy's floor, heard tho am due somewhere else now." be went out. uoor open and stmt and the feet go ; are waiting we will Improve the nio patterlng down the stairs just as 1 ments by indulging in a word or two Finnegan says. And Murphy swears i of psychology. In the first place, you nobody came down." should know that the proper method He paused again, regarding Dr. Fur-! of beginning the search for the perpe nlvnll earnestly, and again his listen-1 trator of a crime Is to learn all the er smiled delightedly, but said noth- j fneH that you possibly can, and then 1"R- iimkM'stund that you almost certainly "Now." Hirsch continued, "the kcc- have not learned them all. and par otid stratiL'e Ihlnir Utrange things, Is that the hov's win- dow was shut and fastened, the per-1 ; , Knw wa9 0Ul8,jo ()f u,,, I )01n iMat m-lson threw .irneL- M, J )0V without breaking the glass, and without the sash being raised, und i usual method la to get a few facts and the mother and father heard some- then go at Ihe job without the slight body cross the room, open Ihe door. . est regard for the character of the In shut It, and skip downstairs. Finne-! divlduals Involved, neglecting to allow gun saw this somebody, heard the door open and shut, and saw and heard the person going down the stairs, but Murphy at the foot of these stairs sees nothing of any person of the kind! For ihe third time the detective : paused meaningly. Dr. Furnivall j laughed and stroked hU beurd. j "I see," he said. "Murphy let the bomb-man in and out. That'B why he didn't seo him!" The detective appeared gratified at this evidence of perspicacity on Dr. Furnivall's part. Hut only for a mo ment. Then he searched the' bearded face with his eyes. He did not like the tone of (hat laugh. "There's no other way out of it" he began. "I could give you six different ways out of it," the doctor interrupted. "Hut the one in which It really hap pened will do. I suppose you have come to ask me to hypnotize Murphy and extract the truth from him Is that It?" The detective Hushed and gnawed his lip. "Yes," ho answered, shortly. Dr. Furnivall rang for a maid, and scribbling a note, passed It to her. "Uead that aloud all but the ad dress," he said. " If you will come with the bearer T sew? of Mio iwwrirm of this note," the maid read, "'to my office, you may save yourself some trouble, and the humiliation of being taken to the police station, Instead of here. Dr. Furnlvall., " The doctor looked at the detective, whose face was blank, and then said to the maid: "Explain that to Mike and let him deliver It. Tell him to hurry. Now," he continued briskly to the detective, you shall see tho culprit nnd hear his confession. I have no time to j waste over Ibis affair, and while we Then, making large allowances for what you don't know, you should round up the person concerned whose rlmr.icler fits slimiest Int.-. nil tho circumstances nnd question him. The for the facts that are unknown. In this way always some Innocent person becomes the first suspect. In this particular case you say there is only one way lu which this peculiar assault I nil utlll tllnro lirllltnr mlfinnn .wtiil.1 have happened. That Is one of the things you don't know, und for which you have made no allowance lu your deductions. Suppose, for example, that a criminal, after starting down the nairs, and seeing or hearing Mur phy there at the foct, hurried back again and up the higher flight? Fin negan had dropped to (he street, nnd he cculd easily have done so, making his escape by way of the roof " Detective Hirsch made an involun tary movement of chagrin. "You see," smiled Dr. Furnivall, "you had your idea, tho first that came to you, so firmly fixed in your mind, Jumped to the belief in Mur phy's guilt so quickly, not seeing any other way, and were so incapable of entertaining any other idea that you really could not recognize this other way out though It so openly confront ed you. Then you never dreamed of considering the characters of the sev eral persons concerned. There were three people In that tenement, nnyone of whom could, as far as physical pos sibilities go, have done the act, and It Beenis as If nobody else could. Not another soul was near. The first question you should have put to your self Is, which one of these three has the character in which lurks the pos sibility of throwing that bomb. Let us in fact begin the Inquiry now. You have seen them all, while I never even heard of any of them before. Now tell me If you think the boy could be guilty?" "Him? Hardly," the detective grunt ed. "He wouldn't be likely to bust his own face all up. Hesldes, the money was for him, anyway. It would be only stealing from himself, for he'd. have It in a day or two. And on top of that, he didn't even know that ! his father had the stuff, and was all broke up because he couldn't go to college and be a priest." "Very good," smiled the doctor., "Facts, facts, facts, and never a word of character! 1 fear you are incor- rlglble. However, so much for the; boy he's obliterated. Now, how' about Tony? Did ho really wish tho boy to have all that money? Could he afford to let him take It? Did you inquire Into his business, in or der to find If he happened to be des perately pressed for money Just now, as most men nre sometimes?'' Hirsch appeared uncomfortable. "Why, anyway," the detective ex claimed, "It was Tony himself who brought us the Hlnck Hand letter and told us about it, asking us to send men to protect him. He wouldn't do thai, would he, If he had this thing up his sleeve? Hesldes, he's scared blue. 1 never saw anybody before frightened clean in to his marrow, the way he was last night. He hasn't the brains, or the spunk, either, to fix up such a plant and get up at two o'clock in the morning and throw a bomb into his own sou's room. Hosh! The notion Is ridiculous." The detec tive sniffed In contempt. "Well, you ure improving." the doc tor grinned. "You do finally glance, If ever so slightly, nt character In this instance. And you put Tony out of ' It. Now we have left ouly the moth-1 er, I lie doctor proceeded luiper- turbably in th? face or hji listener's look of Incredulity and downright rtls- gust. "Had the mother any ieuon. coul J the have any reason for Going such a thing, and if so, has she the qualities necessary 'to the carrying out of so bold a plan?" "I don't see what you're getting at," growled Hirsch. "and It don't seem to me there's any sense in this kind of business, guessing nt all these things, and wondering which one of 'em done It. None of 'em done It. Somebody else done It, and If you know who it is. which I doubt, tcfl me, and I'll go and nab him." . "Now," the doctor continued, as if the other had remained dumb, "you have practically eliminated the three who were the only persons in a posi tion, physically speaking, to do this thing, and that settles the matter, with you, us far as they are con cerned. You would take your oath, wouldn't you, that neither one of these persons is, or reasonably could be, the culprit?" "Yes," he replied, shortly. "Keep up your Jollying if it does you any good, but I'd go my oath on these peo ple, just the same, and I guess you would yourself. It ain't In any sort of reason that one of them done it. It was the man outside on the fire escape, and that skipped downstairs, or up, and that Finnegan and Murphy and Tony and the old woman heard, and that Finnegan saw as well as heard." "Then the ramlficatious of the prob lem must be, to you, how did this man reach the fire-escape without your knowledge, you being right un der it; how did he enter the room without raising tho window or break ing it ; how did he escape so miracu lously; and what did he enter the room at all for? For he could have thrown the bomb through the glass, you know, and It would have been both safer for hlni and more within reason." Hirsch set his lips and for a moment said nothing. Finally he hurst forth: "Seems to me you ain't helping any thin; great! In a minute you'll make It oit that nobody could do it, and that consequently it wasn't done!" "I am only showing you, so far. my frlnnd, what your method amounts to." said the doctor. "Ily it 1 can proii or disprove any thing under the sun. because It has to do with ap pearances. Instead of character, with ihe tupei fit lals as distinguished from the realities. I can even turn com pletely a roil ml and prove to you. by your method, that each one of these persons whem we have, by my meth od, proved innocent. Is the only per son who could have committed the crime. Wlsit you lack Is psychol ogy." Dr. Furnivall did not wish to nay ' brains,'" nor "learning," nor "In telligence," nor even "I raining," so, after some hesitation., ho said "psy chology." And ho continued: "Now, the nionwnt I saw this letter and heard tho story, I knew indubitably the guilty party." "The Ihe nation you did!" burst nu rieraive, involuntarily, "The easiest -thing in Ihe world," smiled the doctor. "Just consider this letter was it written by an edu cated or an uneducated person?" "Why. uneducated, of course." re turned Hirsch. "See the spelling, and the language. Or else it was an edit cated person trying to seem unedw cated." "I fancy it was one or the other," he said, "but which?" "How do I know?" responded Birsch, fatuously. The doctor smoothed hti features and answered, mildly: "That Is where, psychology yes, psychology gives me the advantage of you. Would an uneducated Italian, such as apparently wrote this letter, spell 'Wednesday' with a 'd Invari ably in the first syllable, once with a ', us If to let the reader know that he really knew how to spell it, audi then write it twice without the 'y,' an well as to leave the same letter out of 'Thursday?' Would an unedu cated Italian spell 'thousand' with tk dash, 'thous a,' would he write 'need-a" for 'need,' or 'kll-a' for kill, and s& on? He would speak this way, but he would require some education ia order to write this way. Moreover the punctuation and use of capitals are perfect two positive proofs of a. certain degree of education. And to' clinch the evidence, look at the hand writing. It is disguised, but irregu larly, as if done by an immature mind, and the vertical penmanship taught a little while ago lu our public schools sticks out all through the letter. The character and attainments of the writer of this letter, taken together with the injured boy's testimony, points with finality to a certain one of the persons known to be concerned.. In short, whatever his motive may be, and Impossible as the known facts alone seem to render it " The doctor paused as footsteps sounded without, and then went on "the person who threw that bomb was" . "Master Frank Macalusco," an nounced the maid, opening the door And forward stepped the son of Tony, his face bandaged, but wearing a smile of deprecating good humor. Detective Hirsch stared at the boy and then looked at the doctor. "You don't mean" he began, anil paused. Dr. Furnivall smiled some what grimly. "Take a seat, Master Frank," he said. And when the grinning youth had taken a tentative position on the edge of the couch, hat in hand, the doctor continued: "Shall I be com pelled to hypnotize you, or will you tell your story freely?" "Oh, it's all off now, and I might as well talk," the boy answered. Far from feeling embarrassed, he seemed to enjoy the situation, grinning Im partially at each of his hearers aa he proceeded with his confession. "You can take it straight," he said. In schoolboy slung, "that It wasn't ma for the priesthood. It was my folka that put up that job for me. It is me for ihe stage I'm going to be an actor. It wouldn't do to let my father know that, though he'd go nutty. He thought it was all settled long ago. and I let him think so because It would be no good to start in flghllnr him before I had to. Of course I Knew ne nnd tne money saved up. How could I help getting wise to It, when they're always whispering about it to each other, looking mysterloua and acilng funny, me right there with 'em so much? So I fixed up this deal lo lift the money from father. I wouldn't, use It all I wanted was to make sure he wouldn't send me to college. I could not do that this way without making him mad at me for not doing as he wished, and I could give the stuff hack to him later. I knew he was easily frightened, and thought he would give up right oft as soon as 1 was threatened, without goln? to the police, but when I heard him In the other room talking with mother about the letter and the trap the police had set I didn't know what lo do. At first I thought I'd call It all off. It was too risky, nut the excitement sort of appealed to me, and I thought that as I was bound to be an actor, this was as good a tlm as any to begin. So finally I hit on the thing I did. Last night I got an old piece of lead pipe and split it, to make it look like an exploded bomb, and put it on the rug, which I scorched with a match, cut my face a little with my razor, and then touched off a cannon firecracker. I had no gun, you know, and these things wouldn't tell any tales. I had my door nlready unlocked, and ran and opened It, and slammed it back without latching it, Jumped a few ptepa downstairs, and then ran back ngain. closing the door softly. I had meant to unlock my window, to make believe the Hlack Hand got In that way, hut I guesB I was a little nervous, and I forgot it, and so had to say the -man I saw was on the fire-escape out side, instead of In the room, as I had intended to say. The situation was Impossible, wasn't it? It was funny the way everybody swallowed such a stiff as that!" He threw the cha grined detective a sly glance. He was the "everybody" referred to. Then the boy, this would-be actor, thrilling with a pride over his ex ploit thnt not even its detection and failure could materially lower, added: "I told father In the letter to send the money to the San Francisco post of fice, then I wrote to them there to forward any letters for John Kll bralttt to another post office, and I wrot that ofllce to forward the mall to nuother, nnd so on, und the last one was to forward It to our general delivery here, where I could get It." (Copyright, by W. (J. Chapman.) (Cupyrlaht in Oreat Britain.) 1'rof. Rogers Have, you .Isucn'a plays? Fair young llbrarUu No, air, but we have Ibssa'a works. HarDer'a Weekly.