murder mystery, crime, & detective fiction

Practical Theory


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Detective Story Magazine | Mar. 5, 1916 | Vol. 2 | No. 5

Est. Read Time: 27 mins

Inside of twenty-four hours. I’ll not only take that amount of money away from Murchison in that short space of time; but, to show you how easy I think it is, I’ll further agree to do it by the oldest game you can think of.




"Certainly, I mean it!" Chadwick Wade smiled with his customary good nature round the table at his three friends. "What you declare to be next door to impossible — is really the easiest thing in the world!"

''Oh, come now!" protested Percy van Druyp.

"You're talking through your hat, old fellow' — absolutely!" earnestly interjected Algernon de Wetter, third.

"Of courth, he is!" chimed in Bertie Cole. "He knoths it, too. Chaddie's only stringing uth; 'fess up now, deah old boy, ithn't that tho?"

Chadwick Wade, who was the eldest, by a half dozen years, of the quartet seated round the table, continued to smile. To all outward appearances, he was the same "silly-ass" sort of a young man as his fellows. He, too, wore a wrist watch. He carried his handkerchief up his sleeve, and his glossy, black hair was plastered down on his head without a part, as was theirs. And yet there was a difference in his aspect. Some hint of hidden strength of character, indefinable though it was, set him apart from the others.

It had been a bit irregular, the manner in which Chadwick Wade had turned up in the exclusive Crop and Stirrup Club. Exclusive, did we say? Oh, my word, the Crop and Stirrup was more than that! Who belonged to it, but such present-day Midases as J. D. Murchison, "the czar of Wall Street;" Campbell, the steel king; Stoneyman, the noted collector of facsimile engravings of the Presidents of the United States on five, ten, and twenty-dollar bills, and their ilk? Percy van Druyp, Algernon de Wetter, third, and Bertie Cole, were youthful interlopers, put up with merely out of regard for their sires, who had willed them, in accordance with the by-laws of the club, a life membership in that oldest and most ultra-exclusive of the city's social institutions.

Chadwick Wade had entered the Crop and Stirrup's sacrosanct precincts with a two weeks' guest card, signed by James D. Donaldson, the railroad president, on the day after Mr. Donaldson had left for a protracted trip through the West.

It was conceded, at the outset, to be a shame that Mr. Donaldson was not there to take care of his guest. Afterward, when the members of the Crop and Stirrup Club, both young and old, had become better acquainted with Chadwick Wade, it amounted to little less than a club scandal that a young man of his attainments should have been left by the man who had put him up there to get along the best way he could. In addition to the fact that he told a story well, and played an excellent game of billiards and bridge, the unvarying good humor already referred to which he displayed toward all with whom he came in contact, had soon made young Wade the most popular frequenter of the club.

Nobody had objected, when the fortnight specified on his guest card was up, to his continuing to receive the hospitality of the Crop and Stir rip — least of all. J. D. Murchison, the club's governor, himself,

Chadwick Wade, by correcting a fault of "englishing" his ball on the wrong side, which the great man possessed. to the detriment of his billiard game by' at least twenty points in a hundred, had made the grizzled head of the banking trust his stanch friend. He had ingratiated himself with others among the older members of the club, in various ways. But it was with the "younger set," as represented by Percy van Druyp, et al, that the cheery Wade had see red his most emphatic hit.

He was a ''live wire," as Algernon de Wetter, third, hoarsely put it, who had seemingly been sent to them from heaven in answer to their prayer for something or some one to shatter the boredom which the aristocratic, and, hence, dully quiet, Crop and Stirrup Club held for them.

Wade had certainly waked up the three idle-rich young men by the statement he had made to them in the smoking room this evening, that, in his opinion, the majority of the modem buccaneers of Wall Street were easy marks.

"It's a fact," he had said. "If I were a crook, and needed to shake down some one for the price of a trip to Palm Reach, or anything of the sort, I wouldn't lose a minute deciding who it would he. I'd hunt up one of these captains of finance one reads of in the daily papers, and victimize hint to the tune of whatever I needed, as easily as turning over my hand. They're mostly all crooks, on a large scale, themselves; and, from time immemorial, the easiest kind of prey for one crook has always been another."

Asked, incredulously, if he meant what he said. Chadwick Wade had smilingly replied in the affirmative, as the reader knows. Whereat, the storm of protest against the truth of the theory he advanced had arisen from the three other young gentlemen seated with him at the table.

"No, I'm not 'stringin' you, as you put it," Wade turned to answer Bertie Cole's question. "And I mean exactly what I say. Men who make their living by outwitting other people. as our Murchisons and our Campbells and Stoneymans do, arc the easiest kind of picking for other confidence men's skin games. The records all go to prove it. How many gamblers did you ever hear of dying rich? All the recognized games of chance are in their favor. Yet, nearly all of them wind up broke. Where does the money they make go to, then? I'll tell you. The faro dealer gives it to the owner of the roulette wheel. He passes it over to the bookmaker at the race track. And he in turn loses it at stud poker. It's the same way with professional crooks. They all die poor. The money they make by one swindle, or series of swindles, they allow themselves to be duped out of — in some fake mining scheme, or by going up against the expert thimbleriggers on the stock market."

''But how about the Murchisons and the Campbells and the Stoneymans, that you're likening to these rotters?" Percy van Druyp pointedly interjected. "They don't die poor."

Chadwick Wade's smile broadened. "That's because most of their lesser fellow confidence men are afraid to go after them." said he; "because of the false reputation they've built up for shrewdness in money matters. But that doesn't prove," he went on in the same smiling but positive tone, "that they wouldn't make the biggest babies on earth, if a clever crook who understood his business once started to whipsaw one of them."

"By Jove, you'd have a hard time proving that anything of the sort could be worked," murmured Algernon de Wetter, third, eagerly, "with that one!"

They all looked, Chadwick Wade included, across the smoking room, at the stern figure in its doorway upon which young De Wetter's eyes were fixed. It was J. D. Murchison, himself. Stepping, with the firm tread of the conqueror which he was, into the room, the man whose word was law to all who dwelt from nine to four each day in Wall Street and its immediate environs, selected one of the deep leather armchairs in which to deposit his commanding bulk, next a cigar from the case in his pocket, and then spread open his evening newspaper to give his attention to the stock columns.

"I'd like to thee the man who could thwindle him!" breathed Bertie Cole, in awed agreement with the other's statement concerning the master financier's invulnerability to the attack of any get-rich-quick schemer whatsoever. "It'th just one of thothe things that can't be done!"

''A crook might as well try to break into the subtreasury with a toothpick," grimly commented Percy van Druyp, "as to get into Murchison's pocketbook with any sort of a skin game under the sun!"

"Let me see," said Chadwick Wade musingly. ''I've heard, somewhere, that J. D. Murchison first broke into the king row among the millionaires by cheating the widow of his partner out of her interest in the up-State bank he held fifty percent of the stock in. Is that true? And that, practically, every million he's added to his pile since, he got by some sort of sharp practice at the expense of his fellow men. Are those tales they tell of him also true? All right, then. That proves him to be a crook; and, according to my theory, credulous where the 'con' game of another is concerned. As I can demonstrate."

"As you can do what?" blurted out Algernon de Wetter, third.

"Now', look here, old man. You've gone crumbly on the tea bun."

"You're talking abtholute rot, you know—"

"Listen!" Wade, no longer smiling, held up one hand for silence. "Just for the fun of the thing. I'll tell you fellows what I'll do. I'll make a test, to show you that what I say is true. I'll wager that I, myself, can shake down Murchison for any amount in reason. Say, twenty-five thousand dollars."

"You couldn't do that in a million years!" stated Percy van Druyp positively.

"I can do it," contradicted Chadwick Wade, with equal positiveness, "inside of twenty-four hours. I'll not only take that amount of money away from him in that short space of time; but, to show' you how easy I think it is, I'll further agree to do it by the oldest game you can think of. What do you say that is?"

"The gold-brick thw'indle!" exclaimed Bertie Cole, his eyes shining with excitement over the prospect of a battle of wits between his new friend across the table from him, and the acknowledged leader of the crafty wolf pack in Wall Street, which the former had suggested. "Thee if you can thell Murchison a gold brick, will you, Chaddie?"

"There's an older game than that." Chadwick Wade, who was smiling again, shook his head. "It's positively primitive in its directness — and I'll try that, if you like. I mean a hold-up. I'll go to J. D. Murchison's office tomorrow afternoon, and hold him up for twenty-five thousand dollars. And I'll get away with it, too."

"You mean," suggested Percy van Druyp, with his brow's drawn together in a frown over the unpleasant recollection he bore of the same thing's having happened to him in the past, "that you'll hold him up with a plea to contribute that much to some charity you're interested in?"

"No," the other, still smiling, continued to shake his head. "I mean that I'll walk in and literally hold him up. At the point of a gun, with which I'll threaten to blow his head off if he doesn't come across with the sum I demand. That kind of a hold-up, my children!"

In silence, the three young men, whose inherited wealth totaled between twenty and thirty millions, sat staring at him for a full minute.

"You have gone crazy!" declared Percy van Druyp, with simple conviction, at length.

"I mean it!" insisted Wade, leaning forward and smiling round at them. "It you chaps will agree to help me, I'll show you that I intend to try the thing out by going over and arranging with Murchison for an interview tomorrow at his office — now."

Before they could rouse from the stunned amazement into which the daring of his contemplated project had thrown them, and so spring up to stop him, the trio of young clubmen saw Chadwick Wade rise from the table to cross the smoking room and address the great financier, who had just discarded his newspaper at the conclusion of the perusal of its financial page.

"Mr. Murchison," Wade was saying to the head of the banking trust, "'I'd like to consult you about a small business matter. Could I drop into your office — say, to-morrow? Some time before three o'clock would suit me best."

Murchison, whose face had lighted up with pleasure at sight of the young man whose advice in regard to his billiard stroke had enabled him within the past week to defeat no less that) three of his friends, who had formerly been trouncing him with aggravating regularity, frowned as he heard his request for an interview at his office.

"I'm a blunt man, Mr. Wade," the capitalist snapped, "and so I'll tell you plainly that, if you're counting on the personal acquaintance you've scraped with me in this club to get you an inside tip on the stock market, or a fancy-salaried position in some one of the banks I control, you're going to be disappointed, for I can do nothing for you."

"It hasn't anything to do with either of those things," Wade announced, his manner quite unruffled by the other's self-confessed bluntness of speech. "You can take my word for that. But I prefer not to tell you beforehand what I want to come to see you about. You'll be pleasantly surprised when you find out — I can promise you that, also. How would two o'clock to-morrow afternoon do? I won't detain you more than five minutes, at the most."

Murchison silently regarded him from under his shaggy, iron-gray brow's, that were still skeptically lowered.

"All right," he growled at length, taking a morocco-bound engagement book from his vest pocket, and jotting down a line in it with his fountain pen. "I'll see you then."

Chadwick Wade returned to his former companions at the table, beckoning to one of the club's faultless servants as he reseated himself.

"I'm to see him in his office at two o'clock to-morrow afternoon," he informed the three round-eyed and open- mouthed young men. "We'll drink to the taking of the first step toward your education in the truth of my theory. By two-ten to-morrow afternoon, you'll have finally graduated — all of you will be ready to admit that I knew' what I was talking about!"

"But, dash it all, look here!" expostulated Percy van Druyp. "You can't mean to attempt to carry out anything so wild, so harebrained, so — so utterly preposterous, if you know what I mean! And if you do intend to go ahead with it, why, you can count me out, that's all! I'm not lunatic enough to be a party to an attempted hold-up, carried out in broad daylight, and against one of the richest men in the country—"

"Right-o!" broke in Algernon de Wetter, third. "I, too, refuse to have anything to do with it. That is — if you really mean to do what you've threatened, Wade. But you don't, of course. You've too much horse sense to attempt anything of the sort—"

"I'm going to prove my theory to you," Chadwick Wade slowly and emphatically interrupted, still smiling his quiet, confident smile, "by holding up J. D. Murchison in his own office tomorrow afternoon for twenty-five thousand dollars — and I expect to get away with it, too, as I remarked before. That is, with your help."

It was Bertie Cole who spoke up, his eyes glowing with the fervor of a true sportsman.

"I'll help you, Chaddie, old topper!" he announced. "I want to prove to you that you're wrong — juth as you thay you want to prove the contrary to uth. You've offered to make the testh with Murchison, by holding him up. I won't let you back out now, before you've proved to yourself that it can't be done. And tho I'm willing to help you in any way you thay!"

"Bertie, have you gone crazy, too?"

"Do you want to disgrace yourself by getting arrested on a charge of attempted highway robbery, you idiot?"

So, in shocked chorus, Percy van Druyp and Algernon de Wetter, third, cried out restrainingly to their friend, the rabbit-like formation of whose two large and prominently displayed front teeth was responsible for the impediment in his speech.

"He'll run no danger," Chadwick Wade reassured them gently. "Anymore than either of you will in helping me. I promise you—"

"But we're not going to help you!" broke in van Druyp decisively.

"We certainly are not!" no less firmly echoed the third of the line of De Wetters to bear the name of Algernon.

"Lithen, you chaps!" urged Bertie Cole. "You know he can't get away with thith, as he thays. Why don't you thee it the way I do, then? That it'th up to uth to show him how bally wrong hith thilly old theory ith, by agreeing to help him. Ath long ath we don't run any danger ourthelves—"

"You don't!" Wade picked up the thread of his argument. "I can assure you of that, to your own satisfaction, by telling you exactly how far away you'll be from the actual scene of the crime when it's carried out. You all know where Murchison's office is. On the eighteenth floor of the Murchison Building, at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets. Well, all you three have got to do is to stand on the sidewalk below. If I don't get away with my end of it in Murchison's office, you fellows should worry! I'll be the only one taken by the police. Nobody can possibly connect you with the affair, eighteen stories away from it at the time the game was sprung—"

"But how do we help you, then?" put in Percy van Druyp, with pardonable curiosity.

"By simply doing one thing, precisely at the moment I tell you to," Chadwick Wade promptly answered. "If what I've told you about how far removed you'll be from the scene of the crime is the truth, and if what I ask you to do isn't in any respect criminal — will you agree to do it?"

Percy van Druyp looked inquiringly at Algernon de Wetter, third.

"Shall we do as Bertie, here, suggests," he asked, "and help him, in order to show him that he hasn't a chance in the wide, wide world of carrying this thing out?''

"It's his funeral," Algernon agreed, with a shrug, after a moment's thought. "If he wants to get himself arrested, and sent away to the observation ward of some hospital, as the very mildest thing that will happen to him as a result of trying on anything so wild as this, we should fret, as he suggests! As long as we don't run any risk ourselves of being connected in any way with the crazy stunt, that is."

He turned to Chadwick Wade. "Tell us what it is you want us to do."

Whereupon he told them.

Slowly the expression of commiseration over the sudden fit of lunacy that had attacked him with which Percy van Druyp and Algernon de Wetter, third, if not Bertie Cole, had been regarding him, was replaced on their faces by a look of grudging admiration.

It was ridiculously simple, the thing he had asked them to do. And yet, its very simplicity, at first glance, made it appear that he might be able to carry out his project, after all. For that reason, two of the young men at least who sat with him at that table in the club's smoking room were on the point of disowning their promise to help him. They weren't actually going to join in a plan to rob one of their own set of twenty-five thousand dollars.

But, then, there came reassuringly to their minds the thought of the innumerable stumbling blocks that would still beset the path of the clever deviser of this scheme, even if it succeeded. to the accomplishment of the purpose he had boastfully set himself.

Why, no one could really hold up a man like Murchison, in the middle of the day in his office in the heart of the financial section, and walk off untouched with the money he had threatened out of him at the revolver's point. It was absurd!

And so, gayly assuring him that they would follow the instructions he had given them to the letter on the morrow, but that he was going to fail, nevertheless, Percy van Druyp, Algernon de Wetter, third, and Bertie Cole, the three youngest members of the exclusive Crop and Stirrup Club, took their leave of Chadwick Wade.



"Mr. Murchison. I want twenty-five thousand dollars!"

Wade, the customary smile of good nature gone from his lips, which were pressed together in a firm line, sat beside J. D. Murchison's desk, in the latter's private office, at three minutes past two on the next afternoon.

In one hand, he held the back of the banker's chair, as he leaned earnestly toward him, while in the other was an automatic revolver of the latest make, the short, dull-black muzzle of which was pressed between the third and fourth buttons of Murchison's vest.

"At this moment, you are as far from being able to summon human help to get you out of the corner I've backed you into, as you would be if you were alone with me on a desert island." the young man went on. in the same level, brisk undertone. "Your private secretary, and the clerks in the office outside this door, might as well be a hundred miles away, instead of less than thirty feet, so far as any assistance they can be to you is concerned. If you lift your voice to summon them. I will kill you instantly. If you make a move toward one of the push buttons there under the edge of your desk, or that telephone, I'll shoot you before you can reach it — and, at this distance, I shall shoot straight. I mean exactly what I say."

The capitalist's face, which had been crossed by the impatient expression of one who believes he is listening to a lunatic at his caller's first words, was now ashen — with sheer panic fear — as he continued to look into the cold gray eyes of Chadwick Wade, which held his own as in a vise.

"I am a desperate man. Mr. Murchison," the young man went on. ''The statement which I have just made of my intention of killing you if you attempt to call for help, is no idle threat. I mean to shoot you dead, if you do not yield to my demand. Look at the matter from my standpoint — which, I am sure, would be yours, if our positions were reversed — and you will see that that must be so? If I fail to carry out this daylight robbery of you which I have attempted, you are powerful enough to have me sentenced to the State's penitentiary for twenty years. And probably sent back for twenty more on one trumped-up charge or another, out of sheer spite against me, after that, I have no desire to spend the rest of my life rotting in a prison cell. I'd prefer to go to the electric chair and have it over with quickly, by killing you — if my plan falls through. But I know you're going to be sensible, and not let it. Hand over the twenty-five thousand."

The financier moistened his dry lips.

"But — but why do you make this demand of me?" he stammered out. "I have done nothing to deserve that you should come here to hold me up for such a sum in this way, have I?"

Chadwick Wade smiled once more — a mocking smile, about which Murchison. searching his face with his wide, fear-filled eyes, could detect nothing of the young man's former good humor.

"You have, sir!" he replied, with grim alacrity. "This, let us say, comes under the head of just retribution. The biter bitten! How many of your fellow men have you held up, at the point of the weapon which your wealth and power has placed in your hands; in many cases, demanding all that they had, instead of this trivial fraction of your fortune, which I am asking of you? Don't go over the list — I haven't time to listen to the lengthy confession that would make. Come, Murchison! Don't play the injured-innocence role with me. You're getting no more than what's coming to you — exactly what you've given to others — as everybody will say. If they don't, they ought to. You're a crook, caught by another's game. Don't do what the meanest trickster is above when he's been taken in by a fellow artist, which is to squeal — but pay up!"

Wade pressed the pistol more firmly against the banker's vest.

"Give me twenty-five thousand dollars before I count five," he presented his ultimatum, "or you're a dead man."

"I — I haven't got it!" gasped Murchison. "That amount upon me in cash, I mean. You — you know that must be the truth. No man carries such a sum—"

"You've got a check book, though, haven't you?" sharply put in Chadwick Wade.

The financier stifled a gasp. He regarded the other with incredulity struggling against dawning hope in his eyes.

"Will you take a check?" he asked quickly.

"Make it out to Chadwick Wade," the latter nodded, as Murchison, eagerly pulling out the drawer of the desk before him, produced his check book and hurriedly opened it. "You're drawing it against your personal account in the bank downstairs, aren't you? That's right. Don't forget that the amount is twenty-five thousand."

Taking the check which the hanker handed him across the room to the window, as though to assure himself in the stronger light there that it had been filled out and signed properly, Wade, with a nod of satisfaction, folded the pink slip of paper and placed it in his pocket — keeping the capitalist covered with the gun in his other hand meanwhile.

Drawing out his handkerchief, Chadwick Wade airily flirted it open and touched it to his brow.

Then, coming back from the window. he stood looking down at the financier beside his desk, with the pistol in his half-lowered hand trained unwaveringly upon the middle button of his vest.

"Now, I am about to leave you." the young man lightly informed him. "Swing round in your chair to face the door. That's it. Now, as I back out, I can keep the most vulnerable part of your body directly under the muzzle of this gun, you see. I'll fire at the first move you make toward those push buttons before I've passed through the door. After that, you may ring for your secretary whenever you please. Before he can cross the outer office to come in here. I'll have crossed it to the elevators in the hall — and be mingling with the crowd in the street below before you can start any one after me. Remember what I've told you about playing your ball low and on the inside when you want to make a one-cushion draw shot, Mr. Murchison. If you must enter this in your personal- account book somehow, just set {he twenty-five thousand dollars down to instruction in billiards. And now, good-by, sir!"

The door toward which he had been slowly backing across the room, while he talked, swiftly opened and closed. Chadwick Wade was gone.

Spinning round in his chair, with a crafty chuckle. J. D. Murchison pushed one of the buttons under the edge of his desk to which the young man had referred, and reached for the telephone at the same time.



As he closed the door of the financier's outer office behind him, to find that he stood alone for the moment in the elevator hall of the skyscraper's eighteenth floor. Chadwick Wade became galvanized into life.

He peeled off his overcoat, turning it inside out, and getting into it again. It's fur lining making it look like an automobile coat of that sort. As he ran toward the stairway, he removed his derby. He dropped it down the stair well. A motorist's cap with goggles attached, which he pulled out of his pocket and dapped on his head, finished the complete alteration in his outward appearance, which he had made in the few seconds that had elapsed since he had stepped out of the capitalist's suite of offices.

"Down, seventeen!" he called, reaching the floor below just in time to see the red light above one of the elevator doors which indicated the approach of a descending car.

One minute and thirty seconds afterward, as though he had just stepped out of his motor car at the curb, Chadwick Wade was approaching the paving teller's window in the bank on the ground floor of the building, where J. D. Murchison kept his personal account — and where, for the purpose of being identified by its teller, the young man himself had opened a modest account of two hundred dollars three weeks earlier.

And forty-five seconds later, with twenty-five thousand dollars in crisp, new bills of large denomination salted down in his pocket, he was walking away from the window — toward the open street door.

Meanwhile, in his private office, eighteen floors above, an elderly man, with a face turned apoplectic in hue by the rage that consumed him, was alternately rattling the receiver of the telephone before him up and down, and bellowing into the mouthpiece.

"Give me that number, I say! Quick! Quick! This is J. D. Murchison talking. I'll have you discharged, girl, if you don't give me that number at once! Every second's delay brings me nearer to losing twenty-five thousand dollars! 90400 Broad! Get me that number, quick!"



At ten o'clock that evening, a servant in the Crop and Stirrup Club informed Percy van Druyp that someone in Baltimore wished to talk with him over the long-distance phone. Excusing himself to his two companions, Algernon de Wetter, third, and Bertie Cole, in the smoking room, van Druyp departed in the servant's wake.

"Good evening, Percy, old dear!" a faint voice came to his ear over the wire. "Do you know who this is speaking? None other than your old chum, Chadwick Wade!"

"Oh, hello!" exclaimed the heir to the van Druyp millions, in a tone in which relief and anxiety were mingled in equal parts. "We've been worrying all the afternoon, and most of this evening, over you. The thought never occurred to any of us before — but what are you going to do with Murchison's twenty-five thousand, now that you have succeeded in getting it?"

"I'm going to Palm Beach with it," came back Chadwick Wade's response. "I'm on my way there now. I'll tell you something else that you and Algy and Bertie, your cute little playmates, never thought of, either. That 'Chadwick Wade' might only have been one of the aliases of a clever crook. That happens to be the case, Percy. You ask James J. Donaldson when he comes back from his trip out West, and he'll tell you that the two weeks' guest card I presented at your club is a forgery. Hello — you're still there, aren't you?

"That's all right, then. I didn't know but what the shock might have knocked the pins from under you. Yes, Percy, you and Algy and Bertie have been running about with a bold, bad thief, all this fortnight past. You've been his accomplices in a crime, too — but don't let your consciences bother you about that. Murchison deserved to be shaken down. And, thanks to the three of you, I've been able to do it quite satisfactorily — for enough to pay all my expenses for some time.

"You don't need to send detectives out to hunt for me," the speaker added, in conclusion. "They'd never recognize me from any description you could give them. For I don't really look a bit like the young man you've known as 'Chadwick Wade' for the past two weeks. How's that? Yes, I was in one of my many disguises. Now, I'm going to say 'nighty-night' to you, Percy — first thanking you and Algy and Bertie again for calling up the bank and keeping all three of the lines there busy, so that Murchison couldn't phone them to stop payment on the check, as soon as you saw me, through your opera glasses from the sidewalk below, wave my handkerchief in front of the window of his office. I hope, however, that the experience you've gained will have repaid you for your trouble. That I was right — one crook, no matter how big he may be, can always be made a 'fall guv' when another goes after him. Ta-ta!"

"Central" informed Percy van Druyp, in response to his frantic inquiry, that the party had rung off.