I heard a metallic click at my side and turned hastily. It was Inspector Barney O’Connor, who had stepped out of the shadow with a pair of hand-cuffs.
“James Bruce, you are under arrest,” he said.
There flashed on my mind, and I think on the minds of some of the others a picture of another electrically wired chair.
THE DEADLY TUBE
BY ARTHUR B. REEVE
“For Heaven’s sake, Gregory, what is the matter?” asked Craig Kennedy as a tall, nervous man stalked into our apartment one evening. “Jameson, shake hands with Dr. Gregory. What’s the matter, Doctor? Surely your X-ray work hasn’t knocked you out like this?”
The doctor shook hands with me mechanically. His hand was icy. “The blow has fallen,” he exclaimed, as he sank limply into a chair and tossed an evening paper over to Kennedy.
In red ink on the first page, in the little square headed “Latest News,” Kennedy read the caption, “Society Woman Crippled for Life by X-Ray Treatment.”
“A terrible tragedy was revealed in the suit begun to-day,” continued the article, “by Mrs. Huntington Close against Dr. James Gregory, an X-ray specialist with offices at—Madison Avenue, to recover damages for injuries which Mrs. Close alleges she received while under his care. Several months ago she began a course of X-ray treatment to remove a birthmark on her neck. In her complaint Mrs. Close alleges that Dr. Gregory has carelessly caused X-ray dermatitis, a skin disease of cancerous nature, and that she has also been rendered a nervous wreck through the effects of the rays. Simultaneously with filing the suit she left home and entered a private hospital. Mrs. Close is one of the Most popular hostesses in the smart set, and her loss will be keenly felt.”
“What am I to do, Kennedy?” asked the doctor imploringly. “You remember I told you the other day about this case—that there was something queer about it, that after a few treatments I was afraid to carry on any more and refused to do so? She really has dermatitis and nervous prostration, exactly as she alleges in her complaint. But, before Heaven, Kennedy, I can’t see how she could possibly have been so affected by the few treatments I gave her. And to-night just as I was leaving the office, I received a telephone call from her husband’s attorney, Lawrence, very kindly informing me that the case would be pushed to the limit. I tell you, it looks black for me.”
“What can they do?”
“Do? Do you suppose any jury is going to take enough expert testimony to outweigh the tragedy of a beautiful woman? Do? Why, they can ruin me, even if I get a verdict of acquittal. They can leave me with a reputation for carelessness that no mere court decision can ever overcome.”
“Gregory, you can rely on me,” said Kennedy. “Anything I can do to help you I will gladly do. Jameson and I were on the point of going out to dinner. Join us, and after that we will go down to your office and talk things over.”