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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (March 12, 1922)
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The MAN KILLER
Being the Tale of High Gun, the
Demon Horse, and the Fourth
Tragedy on Murderers'
THE IW.Ki OMAHA, SUNDAY. MARCH 5. 1022.
By FREDERICK IRVING ANDERSON
X I ....
Ther no priinro.rg on the river's brim
for Mr. rrr, deputy of police and Inveterat
roan hunter by 10 years of habit. 11 could only
red. ven when ha waa looking at grn.
"Cp there." said Mr. Tarr. apropos dr
bottea, thw French mty, Indicating with a Jerlt
of m thumb tha ahaep. nibbled eminenr of Hu
ron Hill, "up titer woniM manslaughter their
hualianda with the utmost Impunity.
Mt mined to scowl ferociously at Ma com
pnnl.in, Oliver Armlnton, whom what attention
waa occupied In holding hla oiettleaom roadeler
down to three mllva on hour on high, behind
a. fleet of atone-denf moving vans.
I call it -Murderers' ltow'," raitped tha man
hunter In Oliver' enr, allowing tila te.th In a
mirthlei smile. Armloton bleated feebly at tha
rumbling obstruction ahead. Ha had been bleat
lng for hla right-of-way for tha Ut 10 minute..
Several tlmea the reartunet car had ewung out.
ond Just aa Oliver aave hia eager angina tha gaa
a car would come snorting through tha gap
from the oppoalr direction, and befora Oliver
ould pull himself out of ,the ditch tha Insolent
moving van would be perched on tha crown of
the road again.
Mr. Tarr returned hla fierce look to Murder
era Row. Coy rooftreea, ornate and glinting,
returned hla regard over the feathery topa of
exotlo ahrubbery. Beacon Hill waa gorgeoua,
especially on such a June day aa ttila. Nature
and landscape architects had conspired to eradi
cate the last taint of poverty from this part of
the Inland, the 'Hampton Country. Oliver con
tinued to bleat plaintively with hla horn.
"The first one," mused Tarr, glowering at a ,
red tile expanso of roof ahowing amid alilea of
lank locuRla, "the flrat one used araenic.
The aggrieved Oliver, one Immovable eye on
the van ahead, auddenly anarlcd at the Inextin
' "The first what?" he demanded. ' -'
" "The flrat lady." said Parr auavely. "She waa
quite frank about it. The aecond that one
with the holy cologne bottlea on the ridgepole
used a pearl handled pea shooter. Lord! You.
wouldn't have thought it would kill a flea. But
it did!" He snapped hla chops over thla reflec
tion. "The third one, he ruminated further
"where you see the green shlnglea preferred
sawed-off shotgun. There waa hardly enough
left for the coroner."
Parr removed his cap and scratched hia head
"The fourth one," he began, and paused, sur
veying his companion with renewed ferocity.
"I don't seem to recollect what happened the
fourth one. Maybe nothing."
The man hunter subsided momentarily, ad
justing the wrapper of hla cigar.'
"Parr," said Oliver patiently, "you've been
seeing blood ever since we left the city line.
You've been pointing out the landmarks of oil
cloth murders and trunk mysteries and garrot
ings all along the road. Forget U! You're on
your vacation, man! Take a nip of the air.
Look at the sky. The grass. The trees. The
flowers. Can't you imagine some innocence
somewhere?" . '
" "Oh, If it doesn't interest you," said Parr
glumly.. It waa true ho was on a vacation, the
first in 20 years. He had consented to come,
but with misgivings.
"Turn to the left!" he commanded suddenly,
waking up, and Oliver obediently turned into a
little side road. "Gve her her head! There's a
parallel road a half mile ' out We can run
around that mob of piano movers if we can't
run through them." Now th(f deputy was posi
tively Jocular. Somewhat cheered, Oliver
stepped on the gas and the lithe car Jumped
r Into a sprint like a quarter horse. "I know this
'" puntry like a book," roared Parr in Oliver's ear
as'Ig clutched his cap. "I used to live here
" off ajl on when. Murderers' Row was in
A winding road lost itself among nicely bar
bered trees, to emerge at an upper level, where
an ornamental garden looked over the edge of
the escarpment.. There sat the fourth house of
Murderers' Row. It waa an ornate affair.
Carved in stone was its name "White Bars."
At this instant Chance, that mischievous
handmaiden of Fate, doubtless summoned by
the pregnant auguries of the situation, took the
center of the stage. Drama was In the air. The
scene was set, the actors waiting. In the first
place,- there was Parr, inveterate man hunter,
whose fame extended from Cave Cod to Waik
iki. Beside him sat Oliver Armiston,. extinct
writer of tall tales, whose undue fame as a fic- .
tion criminologist had for some years back held
his imagination In leash. For a back drop
Murderers' Row . looked - down expectantly
through the shrubbery as though 'thirsting for
It was Just here that Chance put her shoul-
der to the wheel. A moving van, abandoned by
its keeper on a saucer-like Incline in the road,
started to roll down hill. It came to halt with
a gentle bump. The bump itself was harmless
enough, but the effect was like the kiss of a
trigger on fulminate. A thousand devils,' sud
denly liberated' in the interior of that van,
sprang to life, swinging gigantic flails.
"The man killer! The man killer!" bellowed ,
the head piano mover through the hideous
clamor; and, as the herd ran pellrriell to the van,
a pair of glistening hoofs, driven by a fury in
carnate, crashed through the rear doors. The
hoofs were gone and come again, this time car
rying the two doors off their hinges with a
shower of splinters.
Parr and Armiston lined up alongside just as
a demon horse, backing and kicking itself free
of hobbles, crashed to the roadway on its
haunches. A knot in the torn halter rope .
caught fast In a broken "hinge and held for the
moment at least. The mad beast now seemed
bent on strangling itself. Parr, noting the agony
of the animal and Its obvious aristocracy, tried
to dodge to its head, but he quickly desisted and
backed off, helpless, rubbing an ear that had
been fanned by those lashing sharp shod hoofs.
Just then, with a clatter of hoofs from be
, hind, three riders wheeled through the atone
arch of the gate, two men and a woman. ,They
cannonaded up. careless of the fact that Parr
and Armiston stood in their path. The woman
slipped out of her saddle in the middle of a full
stride with the dexterity of a trained matador.
With a sharp, eager cry of "High Gun! High
Gun!" in a bound she was at the animal's head;
she clamped a' long-Angered, jeweled hand on
its muisle. The effect was sheer magic In
stantly at that touch the murderous horse be
came subdued, though it continued to tremble
slightly as she rubbed her cheek agalns the vel
vet nose and fondled an ear. High Gun arched
hia graceful neck to her shoulder.
"Oh. you darling baby!" she cried ecstatic
ally, stroking the sleek neck. She loosened the
demon's throatlatch and took off the torn hal
ter. She let the halter drop and stood examin
ing the creature for a pensive moment; then
she slowly walked around the horse, running
a hand over the pasterns and hocks.
' She waa In boots, breeches and jacket, with
a Wrcjied ruff, and beneath her little hard hat
her mahogany hair was drawn so tightly as to
accent the natural sharpness of her features.
She waa of a type ldigenous to the 'Hampton
country, aa fit and sleek as her horse. Parr
tared in frank admiration.
Another caress and she turntd her back on
the man killer and at rode across the road, where
. her own mount, a spare roan, was picking grass
la the ditch. Her "darling baby" .followed, at
Hmk imm J M m
I "7 .Wf '.71 n - I
Thm uiooJtn maul, ttring mn iti rounded edg; wa$ (. acta of glamcd tmrttt
her shoulder, nosing her playfully. She slipped
the bridle from the roan and inserted tho bit,
clinking, between the villalivnus teeth of the
demon; with quick, sure movements she mude
the ears snug, drew tight the headatulL In a
twinkling sho had transferred the saddle and
blanket, and, putting her beautiful neck in
jeopardy, she reached under High Gun's belly
for the girth. With a knee braced against the
animal's ribs she drew the girth tight and made
it fast. Neither of her two companions offered
to assist. She was so splendidly competent that
comment or aid. seemed superfluous.
One of the men had 'dismounted and with
one arm hooked over his steed's roached neck,
hung idly watching her. He waa a startlingly
tall man, large boned; he bore a curious re
semblance in facial vontonr to the horse beside
him. If he admired the graceful shining crea-
ure, or the woman's skill in subduing it, or if he"
were aware that strangers were looking on at
the dramatic spectacle, hla equine countenance
gave no hint. -.-
The second man sat idly looking down on
them with a feebly amused expression He had
the tufted brows and the sharp beak 'of a hawk; .
his lean face was decorated with an absurdly
slender mustache that seemed to have been
, "tweeied,' as some ladies these days "tweeze"
their eyebrows. It was he who spoke first.
"You'll break your fool neck," he ventured
absently. , ,
The woman said, not to the languid prophet,
but to the other:
"That barrel, Cecil! What?" Her long eyes
glittered with pride as she caressed the horse
with a look. She took out a clgaret, and as
she tapped it daintily on her gold case she
asked with a look of approbation not for her- ,
self, but for her precious High Gun. Cecil
nodded stonily. Tljese two were undoubtedly
high priests of the paddock, versed in a cult
hidden to ordinary mortals. She thrust out, a
varnished boot, and Cecil, with one seven-league
stride, was beside her; he gave her a leg as
: though she "were a. feather weight in the hollow '
" of his hand. ' '
"He'll' break your fool neck,", croaked the
' male Cassandra from his high seat, wasting
another mouthful of breath. ,
The shining, eager beast, at the touch of
her knees, made the ditch in one bound; with a
flirt of the ribbons she gave the horse Its head,
and it sailed over the stone wall through the
Vown of rail bird3 who threw themselves des
perately to right and left with wild yells. Cecil
was But a jump behind her, and with resounding
hoofs the second gentleman now bestirred him
self; he slanped the roan' over the rump with
his crop and followed it clattering through the
gate and up the drive. -
' Armiston and Parr were back in their car,
and Oliver's low spirits bobbed up like a cork
as he let In the clutch and started ahead; 'that
demon horse had at least served to eliminate
road hogs from the vacation scenery. Parr
now lapsed into a brown study, chewing a ,
piatch-end. Some distance down the road Oli
ver broke the silence. He said:
"I had the queer sensation back there of be
ing invisible. You, too, Parr. Those three '
never saw us no more than if we weren't
"That's aristocracy, my hoy," said Parr. He '
was wearing his fiercest frown. "You've been
in society today, son," he added. "That was
"Eh? Which one?" ,
"The one that rather hoped Mrs. Jimmie
would break her neck," said Parr. "She may,"
added the man hunter thoughtfully, "but I
doubt It" 1
Jimmie, Penwarden was famous primarily
for Mrs. Jimmie; he took blows-for her when
shi did something astonishing, which she was
forever doing. Also Jimmie was notable in his
own right for his clothes. Twelve months in
the year he was stalked In his haunts by in
trepid photographers for. illustrating society
star proclaiming him to bo a sheriff. It was
Jeremiah Zahriskle, poohbuh of these parts.
As Sheriff Zabrlskie came out of a sound
sleep and recognized his old friend Parr, Armis
ton had a swift premonition that they would
never see Shelter island on this trip. It speed
ily developed that the three grand occasions of
the career of Mr. Zabriskie tho .triple 'erup
tions of Beacon Hill were indisuolubly associ
ated with the famous Mr. Purr. Dally during
the phenomenal run of the three widows plead
ing unwritten law in this same court the sher
iff and Mr. Parr (tho latter as consulting engi
neer) had been photographed together for tho
The first ebullition over, the sheriff admitted
that he had just dispatched a boy for a bushel
of shrimp to chum with for in these milk-and-water
times he had taken refuge in fishing.
Mr. Parr straightway invited himself and Oliver.
Afternoon lengthened into, evening. - There
was a good supper. The sheriff's wife, after
giving motherly attention to tho batch of prls-,
oners in cells in the basement, stood at Oliver's
elbow during the meal with lively reminiscences
of the days when the lightning of violence had
struck and struck again. and yet again, on Bea
con Hill, with horrible iteration. As the people
who live within tho shadow of a volcano date
all events from its, eruptions, so tho dwellers
in this happy valley reverted with pride in all
their talk to the three cataclysmic crimes that
had focused the eyes of the world on them. .
When she raked off the crumbs of the repast
she presented Oliver, as a special favor, the en
tombed records of those .grisly occasiohs, the
The wholo thing had been over In a moment, ly giving Jimmie the grace of a look now. "It's
Jitnmio Had njways been afraid of the home.., Mallet."
lint sheer bravado had sent him out Thero
.were no servants,- it seemed, in the houso, the
kitchen, or the paddock. There had been a
walkout, In town, a few days before, when it
tnuisplred btlow stairs that the household would
summer again in the 'Hamptons instead of at
the North Shore for a change. A Tresh batch
had been Consigned the day before, but some-
thing had diverted the shipment There was
nothing more the facts were before them.
Fho hung the clgaret In her dry lips and sur-
veyed the sheriff, shaved and starched for the
occasion, through those glittering long eyes t,hat
looked as If they had never known a tear. .
"I'm' not a sentimental woman," she said,
without moving her lips. She added "But it
is hound to shake one." '
Sho took to tapping the cigaret again, as
if she found some relief from her acid reflections
in. this simple act. . She was clothed as on the
day" before in fact, this woman lived In
breeches. -' One pigskin leg was balanced over
the other as she sat hunched in an old arm chair
in the disordered billiard room. Boxes and crates
and bundles of burlap stood or lay about. At
the end of the room the blinds of a French win
dow had been withdrawn, letting In the morning
j sun through bleared panes; and beside this win
dow stood the rawboned Cecil, not looking up
when Zabriskie entered. Cecil concerned him
self with a sliver imbedded in th fat of a thumb.
There were the remains of a breakfast on the
dusty, cover of a billiard table three glasses, a
carafe and fragments of hardtack, indicating the
iva cumes mac naa oeen reaa Dy conventional meagerness of early morning fare
mo wiiuin tuuiiiiy wiui ivp niorniiig cuuee. ins jn snor(in(r hiKh life
details stared at him in glaring headlines in the
pall of cold type. Thumbina fhose pages,, and
picking up a thread here and there, Oliver got
the reek of it the fluttering murmur of tho
veiled woman in the box; the "buzz of flies; the
drone of clerkS; he barking challenge of con
tending Jawyers; the rustle and uneasy shifting
of the craning audience, and the indrawn breath
at the 'inevitable verdict that ' justified cold
slaughter by delicate women. This was the per
sonnel of Murderers' Row, in which Parr took
such a proprietary interest! They lived "kind
of to themselves,"- the sheriffs wife said. Oh,
yes, they still lived up there on the hill.
Oliver could picture the gradual and iquali
fled withdrawal of the countryside as tho glam
or of the sensation waned and the moment's
tragedy queen lapsed into the small-beer hero
ine.' Every crime has its aura; the verdict of the'
court is not the last word.' 'Even through his
disgust, Oliver was conscious of the curious
thread of paganism in these related histories.
He read himself tired, saturated himself,
with the realism of stark words. Finally he
put himself to bed in, the sepulchral silence ot
the village night. :
He was trying to blind his. eyes to the glare
of the early sun, when he became aware that
Deputy Parr, with shining morning face, was
standing over him trying to impress some weird
fact on his half-awakened senses.
"'They moved in the fourth husband last
night'," repeated Armiston automatically; then
he sat bolt upright, staring.
"Hurry," commanded Parr, starting out.
"We'll wait for you down below."
- It was the fastidious Jimmie whose fool
neck had been broken, not Mrs. Jimmie's, as he
himself had so blithely prophesied on the occa
sion of High Gun's dress rehearsal, the day be
fore. No doubt had it been turn about Jimmie
would have felt constrained to appear (out
wardly, at least) quite as bitterly resentful
against her as she how felt against him. One
doesn't get one's self brained by a pet horse
without involving one's next of kin in a bad
half hour with the police.
Nothing 'had been disturbed. There is a
grewsome etiquette about such things, prompt
ed doubtless by some common horrid under
standing that the law, like a microscopist, de
mands its specimens frozen in an attitude, so
journals published for the delectation of the -that if necessary they maji be sliced micrometer
hol-pollol. It seemed an idle thing man's at
tire to hang ambition on; nevertheless Jimmie
was the object of envy among his kind. .He fol
lowed Mrs. Jimmie about assiduously,- fetched
and carried for her with the utmost willingness.
If there was a shade of rather bored tolerance
in her attitude, she accepted him as a necessary
and even valuable adjunct; Jimmie rarely got
In her way. r i
The road Armiston traveled accompanied a
busy brook down a long winding hill, emerging
In tha bowl of a valley where basked a ram- ,
shackle hamlet inhabited by the few adventur
ous natives who had stayed behind after the
conquest of these hills by the Idle rich.
They were half way down the village street
when Parr exploded in a "Hello!" Armiston,
wondering-, brought tho car to a gentle stop at
the curb. The deputy commissioner of police
leaped out and the next instant was joyfully
buffeting an Inoffensive rustic asleep in a chair
tilted against the sunny side of what appeared
to be the temple of Justice. On the sleeper's
suspender, shining like a beacon, sat a polished
mm ana examined by transmitted light. To
the three experienced men who' stood silently
' peering in over the half,, door of High Gun's
box stall it seemed that a tyro could easily fit
together the pieces of the swift catastrophe.
Mrs. Jimmie and their guest, summoned by the
departing shrieks of the victim, had arrived too
late. The gaunt Cecil, however, .had had the
forethought, in that moment of finality, to
thrust a 14-foot gate pole between the gratings
to crowd High Gun into the far corner.
' Poor Jimmie lay there on the clean straw,
one hand extended as if reaching for the over
turned measure of oats, High Gun's breakfast.
The beautiful horse, silky as a' kitten and quite
as tame, turned ' its lustrous eyes on them as
they spoke In lowered tones, whickering now
and again with wistful friendliness. . The per
fect cast of a steel-shod hoof at the base of the
skull told the whole tale with ghastly terseness.
"Go about it! ' Get it oer with!" said Mrs.
Jimmie, as she tapped her gold case with a cig
aret she had been about to ltjlit for the last
hour. She had told her story In curt sentences.
Zabriskie, who was not overkecn, had the
vague and fugitive Impression that this wife and
friend of the dead man had occupied the same
impassive attitudes for the last hour since, in
fact, the telephone messages (one to himself, the
other to Struthers, her lawyer In town) had
been sent off shortly after daybreak. It was as
though the shock of the tragedy had cut the
wires of communication between them. Zabris--kie
sensed an antipathy, a curious withdrawal
each from each. They had nothing to say to
each other; nevertheless for the time being they
were tied 'hard and fast together by this act of
inconceivable stupidity on the part of poor Jim
. mie. ; . -
"Well! Is there anything more?" demanded
Mrs, Jimmie, as if the mere presence - of this
man: of the law strained her endurance to the
breaking point. i
Zabriskie, rather 111 at ease, ventured the
suggestion that possibly the lady who had told
all she knew of the case bravely, too might
possibly want to rest; the gentleman and the
sheriff cast a look at Cecil, who remained ston
ily inert, could attend to other formalities. Za
briskie seemed to ask her indulgence for the
callous judicial curiosity of the law even on an
occasion such as this; he wished to spare her
, the cruelty of any further inquisition. A win
try smile flitted across her face, as eyes down
cast, she permitted-the loutish official to stumble
through what he so evidently meant as an act
of delicacy. If the gentleman would accompany
him, said Zabriskie, eyeing the wooden image
at the window
Mrs. Jimmie. brought him up with a sharp
"No!" Cecil had been let In for quite enough as
it was. Instantly softening her tone she went
"You must pardon the feelings of a wife,
sir. But it is I I alone who must answer all
questions see this through to the end. ' No one
can speak for me " After a little pause
At this moment the roar of a motor an
nounced the arrival of the forehanded Struth
ers, to be'fnstantly hushed, as he lifted his rac-
ing car up to-the terrace, with the echoing cries
of frightened birds. The sheriff, hurrying out
to join him, found Struthers drawing oft his
gloves and peering through the door of the box
stull. - ...
"Well, Jimmie," the lawyer was saying under
his breath apostrophizing the figure on the
straw, "at last you succeeded in doing some
thing original. Eh, Jimmie?"
He turned and discovered Parr standing
there in the darkness of the box. .
"Parr!" he said, queerly. He questioned the
deputy with uneasy eyes. "There's nothing here
for you?". --. ; . . ;
"I was passing," said Parr.
And you, Oliver?" ,
Armiston looked up with a curt nod from a
keg where he sat nursing one knee. He knew
Struthers as a shrewd fashionable lawyer who
danced with the younger set and exercised their,
inheritances for them. Apparently Mrs. Jim-
mie, who was not a sentimental woman, had
given him a coherent account by telephone in
those first moments of her bereavement. Struth
ers cogitated for some seconds, eyeing Parr, who
"It's bad business. Parr."
Parr sniffed. "He nover knew what hit him," -,
ho Ajid slowly.
lyh, not that!" said the lawyer hastily, hard-
"Mallet!" said Parr, curiously.
The lawyr nodded.
"The honorable Cecil," ho explained, with a
Jerk of his head over a shoulder. "He's a"
H' paused abruptly and stared at Zabriskie
"Sheriff ZabiL.'.M." said Parr. "He's In au
thority." "Cecil is ofllciul, you know, and incognito,"
muttered the worried lawyer. He lowered his
voice. "British intelligence service won't do
at all! We must keep him severely out of It!
There'll be a riot in the papers, of course. Jitn
mio and Mrs. Jimmie!" he Jerked his head at
the big house rising out of the morning mlstr "
and this empty house and the three of them,
Parr added softly, for extra weight:
"And up here, too."
j "Eh. What do you mean?"
"Murderers' Row," said the deputy with a
"Good God! I'd clean forgotten! I say, this
is rotten!" Struthers turned and stared hypno
tized at the three prim roof trees presiding over
finely landscaped gardens just beyond. Three
legally-justified uxoricides would shortly be
opening their morning shutters and looking out
sympathetically it was already S o'clock.
A long silence Intervened. Parr seemed to
enjoy it. Zabriskie chewed meditatively at a
straw as his eyes wandered about the circum
scribed stage of the tragedy. Oliver's fingers
began to itch had he only had his typewriter
to play with', he might think.
"Oh, I say, Parr! You're not going to let the
yellows drag that in!" cried the lawyer, aghast
as he suddenly conceived the length of the shad
ow those three other women had cast over this
hill. His eyes were drawn to the patient dead
man. "Poor devil!" he muttered. "He never
had a cent. . She had it all. His cousins, the
Va,n Duersins, staked him occasionally, so he
wasn't exactly a pauper. How do you happen
to be here, anyway. Parr? You're rather out of
your jurisdiction, aren't you?"
. "No, this is an old stamping ground for me
up here," drawled Parr. "I'm getting to be a
sort of guest conductor." He took Struthers by
the arm, and they started in pace across the
blue stone drive to the house. "The sheriff and
I were cleaning fish this morning, when the
message came. I'm on a vacation," he added,
with a queer smile. "Curious thing," he volun
teered as they walked along, "but Oliver and I
were driving by when that horse staged a dress
rehearsal on the, public road yesterday."
While they paused to talk in the drive, Ar
miston was prowling about the stall. The prop
erties were so preciously few that he moved
round and round. That gate bar held his at
tention. It was a massive thing, painted a
glistening white, decorated with brass ferrules.
It must have taken a giant to handle It singly
from the outside a giant laboring under super
human excitement. He stooped to examine it.
Its smooth surface was nicked with many a
glancing caulk of timber toppers, mementos 'of
high days and holidays up here on this beauti
ful hill. It had been driven, wedged into place,
and stood as rigid as a riveter beam. Armiston,
as he examined the outside end, noted from the
battered butts that it had been pounded home. '
Evidently Cecil had taken no chances that
those villainous heels would reach Jimmie -again.
A wooden maul lay there where Cecil
had dropped it..
"I'd like to see that hoof," said Oliver, look
dubiously at the friendly High Gun.
"So would I," agreed Zabriskie. They ap
proached the bar. High Gun nosing them and
whickering again for h$s delayed breakfast. Za
briskie had been a blacksngith's apprentice in
the days , when horses were in flower among
the commonalty down here. He ran a prac
ticed hand along the clean back, down the flank
to the pastern; with the touch of a mechanic
who knew his trade, he picked up the foot and
settled it heavily between his two knees, High
Gun accepting the, familiar move with quiet
confidence. . .
It was the left hoof; the steel plate still
bore Its grisly signature.
"See if you can find a pair of tongs," said the
sheriff. "That plate has got to come off, any
In the tool house closa by Oliver found the
tongs and fetched them. Zabriskie. tapped the
shoo with the tool, from the habit of a mechanic.
"It's loose, anyhow," he mumbled. "He'd
a' cast this plate in a few more Jumps."
With a twist of the wrist he drew off the
shoe and let High Gun down on all fours again.
They examined the hideous memento. Parr
was calling Armiston, and Oliver, answering
the summons, found them in the billiard room,
the now pompous Struthers going through the
form of Introductions.
"The Honorable Cecil Mallet, gentlemen,"
repeated Struthers, unctuously.
The Honorable Cecil looked up momentar
ily to acknowledge the introduction. He was still
giving sujical attention to his sliver.
"I am afr!d your prx-Mus uuh Quit will
hat la pay tha penalty this Hm, mJin,M
"Thla lime?" U4 Mia, Jimmie, Humming
"II has ri'ort. I bellrw, replied tha
deputy, watching hrr quMly. Thlr look mi,
Ilk foils touching In ilia flr.t aalut.
"He brained Ubl hoy, a rr or two back
or In Jprwyl" cominuiil I'arr. .
Hie heUtd for an lntnt, th-n nodded.
"And was conrirmtird lo l hot, after (hat.
Again the woman bmi hrr head.
"Yon uniUKKlvil the home out of lite nut,
ma'am," Parr was .alarmingly dirsit; the wo
"High Uun," aha Mid. to her clgarft. "I a
linfiil dex-riiit.nl of Adulbahram - tha only una
In this country. Hei-snva an Idiot tf a boy got
In tha y of hla hel, niunt I rie.trxy the
bliiod?" tilit raised her r- to rhulldige I'arr
During thl Interchange Oliver lmj wandered '
on Into the French window. Intent on a silver i-f
Ma own; ho too had handled thai gain bur. II
was operating with a small pair of tweeters.
"Did ho fitiht?" h a.kd ahu-ntly, picking
at nln finger,
The tall KnglUhman's mouth dropped open
"High Gun, 1 mean when ou ahoved In
"Oh! No!" the Honorable Cecil heaved
"Ther!" Mid Oliver triumphantly. "I'v
got mine. Iet ni -get yours for you." lie took
(Veil's hand in hla own without further ado,
nnd with a ding I deft movement of his tweeiers
drew out the annoying silver. "It's a young crow
bar!" he said, holding It up,- You ought to get
an antiseptic In that hoi right away. I've got
snni In my car." offered the gracious Armla
ton, and he hurried off to fetch It.
Her In the billiard room the drama had -practically
reached an impave. Parr waa the
obstacle. Cecil remained tongua-tled at his
pout Mra. Jlmmle chafing at tha restraint made
no attempt to ronceul her resentment at the
deputy commissioner's Intnihlnn. Kt rut hers, en
tirely alive to tha effect of Parr's presence,
strove to pour oil on the troubled waters. Parr
himself sat back ponderously, letting the lawyer
do all the talking, while his keen eyes missed ,
Behind his urbane front, as he lent ear, the
old man hunter was In the throes of an un
precedented mental conflict. Within the last
few momenta, with no tangible circumstance to
hang It on, the conviction had gradually grown
in Parr's mind that he sat in the presence of
murder. So irresistible was the Impression that
It aeemed to his startled sense as If someone had
shouted it aloud. In the next moment he was
dismissing the idea as an arraignment of cold
logic he, a police expert Judging before tho
facts! He looked about him. as if expecting to
And some confirmation. Their attitudes and
manner were unchanged. Mrs. Jlmmle was pet
ulantly tapping her eternal clgaret; Cecil had
not moved a hair.
It was all too pat, the deputy told himself.
An animal act and It must be an animal act.
If anything never goes off exactly , aa It Is
scheduled, even on the stage. This one had run
on oiled wheels. Olanclng from one to the
other. Parr assured himself again It must.be'
an accident. , I could be nothing not moved by
But the doubt feer4n'.!y returned; It was
like an obaeaslon. V'!t How? Struthere' '
monologue gradually penetrated his thoughts.''
Meeting with no opposition, the lawyer was ar
ranging it all. They would T'n the Honorable
Cecil down to the Shore, and fatt motor
cruiser would take him to town In t J'ffy. )
Of course, the woman was the lntfj'lyfnce;
that wordless, ninny by the window would be
merely the tool Parr as again coming ck
to his fixed Idea. But how, how and why? "
This was a problem for' the hectic faculties of
Oliver Armiston, which Parr for lack of a bet
ter understanding was wont to ascribe to clair
voyance. Oliver, in collusion with the familiar
that dwelt In the keys of his trusty typewriter,
had developed an uncanny Introspection, Set a
stage with its characters, load the scene with at
mosphere and the action flowed from his finger -ends.
That was the fiction writer's metier. Parr
had made use of him a score of times, solving
the "frozen" plots that had baffled his shrewd
est operatives. Parr did not attempt to under
stand his methods, but Oliver's results had made ;
criminal history. Oliver's explanation was cryp
tic instinct can be reduced to a chart; Impulse
follows a groove. But where was Oliver? What
was keeping him?
"Mr. Commissioner," broke in Struthers In
oily tones, "we are exceedingly fortunate to have
you with us. We need authority,, and under
standing and appreciation of how International
relations might be seriously embarrassed by a
wrong step." -
"Who was the other gentleman? I didn't
catch his name," said Mrs. Jimmie to All the ,
pause. . '
"He is a celebrated criminologist," said Parr,
yawning. He was certain he caught the flash
of an eye between those two.
Just then the door opened, and Oliver came
In. In one hand he carried a huge wooden
maul, and in the other a horseshoe the horse
shoewith four bent nails protruding. Without
a word to anyone, without even a glance about,
he set the maul down in the middle of the room.
Gingerly he placed the horseshoe on the billiard,
table; still ignoring his startled audience, Armis
ton absently explored a vest pocket and pro
duced a piece of tissue paper from which he ex
tracted the sliver he had so kindly withdrawn
from poor Cecil's suffering thumb; this he de
posited beside the horseshoe. Then he selected,
a seat on one of the crated boxes, and languidly
prepared a cigaret. (Balzac somewhere spoke
of a painter who could introduce an ordinary
broomstick into a scene in such a manner as to
freeze the beholder with horror.) The wooden
maul, teetering gently on its rounded edge out
there in the middle of this disordered room, was
the focus of glazed stares.
Struthers, who had sprung to hia feet, halted
in mldsentence, mouth open. The woman now
finally applied a match to her cigaret, and threw
back her head to blow the first puff into the air.
As she did so, her gleaming eyes under half
closed lashes sought the gaunt Cecil at the
French window. Parr, taking his cue from Oli
ver, held himself In easy attitude, ready for in
The tension was broken by a stifled cry from
the window. With one movement the giant Ce
cil, his horselike face livid, thrust open the glass
leaves and plunged out In headlong flight Ar
miston raised a quick hand to check Parr. . All
turned. There was a moment'! silence, followed
by a slow, heavy tread on the portico without. ,.
It was Cecil returning. He was half crouching,
his hands above his head; he backed through ,
the window into the room, his eyes staring with
birdlike fascination down the shiny muzzle of
a revoer held level by Zabriskie, who advanced
deliberately step by step. With one hand Za
briskie, still holding the ashen Cecil with his
hawk eye. produced clinking handcuffs from a .-,
pocket; still threatening with his weapon, . he '
snapped first one, then the other, into place.
The manacled man, covering his face with his
hands and sobbing convulsively, fell In a heap
on the floor. Zabriskie nodded to Oliver.
"There you be, gol durn you! I didn't be
lieve you. I swear I took you for another nut." .'
The sheriff, with a contemptuous sneer, prodded
(the groveling figure on the floor. "You ain't"'
much of a horseshoer, be you?" - f
The woman studied the slender thread of.
smoke rising from her cigaret; her eyes traveled,
moodily from one to another, till, with shrink
ing disgust, they finally reached the blubbering
giant by the window, struthers was demanding;
Incoherently "What Who Why This Is . ...',
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