It was Roger, half stunned, but undamaged. He crawled out from under a case of shelves that had crumpled down upon him.
“Bring that lantern over here,” said Aubrey, pointing to a dark heap lying on the floor under the broken fragments of Roger’s bulletin board.
It was the chef. He was dead. And clinging to his leg was all that was left of Bock.
Gissing Street will not soon forget the explosion at the Haunted Bookshop. When it was learned that the cellar of Weintraub’s pharmacy contained just the information for which the Department of Justice had been looking for four years, and that the inoffensive German-American druggist had been the artisan of hundreds of incendiary bombs that had been placed on American and Allied shipping and in ammunition plants— and that this same Weintraub had committed suicide when arrested on Bromfield Street in Boston the next day—Gissing Street hummed with excitement. The Milwaukee Lunch did a roaring business among the sensation seekers who came to view the ruins of the bookshop. When it became known that fragments of a cabin plan of the George Washington had been found in Metzger’s pocket, and the confession of an accomplice on the kitchen staff of the Octagon Hotel showed that the bomb, disguised as a copy of one of Woodrow Wilson’s favourite books, was to have been placed in the Presidential suite of the steamship, indignation knew no bounds. Mrs. J. F. Smith left Mrs. Schiller’s lodgings, declaring that she would stay no longer in a pro-German colony; and Aubrey was able at last to get a much-needed bath.
For the next three days he was too busy with agents of the Department of Justice to be able to carry on an investigation of his own that greatly occupied his mind. But late on Friday afternoon he called at the bookshop to talk things over.
The debris had all been neatly cleared away, and the shattered front of the building boarded up. Inside, Aubrey found Roger seated on the floor, looking over piles of volumes that were heaped pell-mell around him. Through Mr. Chapman’s influence with a well-known firm of builders, the bookseller had been able to get men to work at once in making repairs, but even so it would be at least ten days, he said, before he could reopen for business. “I hate to lose the value of all this advertising,” he lamented. “It isn’t often that a second-hand bookstore gets onto the front pages of the newspapers.”
“I thought you didn’t believe in advertising,” said Aubrey.
“The kind of advertising I believe in,” said Roger, “is the kind that doesn’t cost you anything.”
Aubrey smiled as he looked round at the dismantled shop. “It seems to me that this’ll cost you a tidy bit when the bill comes in.”