The force was gone. Alone at his desk, he went over the papers in a complicated calculation which he had made twenty times before. By all devices, Watson could hold back the collapse of the Mongolia Mine until after October 19. By straining his credit to the utmost—liquidating everything—he himself could raise a trifle more than seventy thousand dollars. He hesitated no longer. Methodically, he apportioned out the seventy thousand dollars among a dozen brokers, who to-morrow should buy for him, on a ten point margin, L.D. and M. stock at fifty to fifty-three.
This done, Bulger locked up the papers again, telephoned for a cab, and proceeded to his club, where he dined with his customary hilarity and good humor.
THROUGH THE WALL-PAPER
“You’ve got to do it!” said Rosalie Le Grange; “no half-way business. I could show better reasons than I’m tellin’.”
Blake paused in his slow walk beside her.
“What reasons?” he asked.
“Now listen to the man!” exclaimed Rosalie. “And ain’t it man for you! Right off, first meeting, I told you enough to put me in jail and now you won’t trust me!”
Blake seemed to see the logic of what she said.
“I have cause to trust you,” he said, “and I hope you don’t think that I am afraid of the personal danger. It’s just that you’re asking me to do something which—will, which people like me don’t do.”
“So anxious to be a gentleman that you forgit to be a man!” remarked Rosalie with asperity. “Now you listen to me. I’ve told you that she’s held two materializing seances for Robert H. Norcross, haven’t I? I’ve told you it is crooked materialization—even if there was such a thing as real cabinet spooks, which there ain’t—because I found the ceiling trap an’ the apparatus long ago. And if Mrs. Markham is playin’ fake materializing with old Norcross as a dope, what does it come to? Obtainin’ money, an’ big money, under false pretenses! That’s enough to put her behind the bars. So what risk do you take even if you are caught? She’ll be more anxious than you to keep it away from the papers and the police. And Norcross! He’ll break his collar-bone to shut it up!”
Half persuaded, he clutched at his sense of honor.
“But it’s a sneaking trick—Annette would call it that.”
“Yes, an’ ain’t it a sneakin’ trick to hire a housekeeper to be a spy?” Rosalie hurled back. “Seems to me you draw a fine line between doin’ your own dirty work an’ havin’ it done!”
At this plain statement of the case, Blake smiled for the first time that morning.
“I suppose you’re right,” he said. “A good officer never sends a man where he wouldn’t go himself. I’m rather sorry I started now.”
The dominant thought in all the complex machinery of Rosalie’s mind was: “And you’ll be sorrier before this night’s over, boy.” But her voice said: