What then? Who is responsible? The whole nation arouses itself at news of an Indian assault upon some defenseless frontier settlement, and the general government sends troops to succor and to punish. But who takes note of the worse than Indian massacres going on daily and nightly in the heart of our great cities? Who hunts down and punishes the human wolves in our midst whose mouths are red with the blood of innocence? Their deeds of cruelty outnumber every year a hundred—nay, a thousand—fold the deeds of our red savages. Their haunts are known, and their work is known. They lie in wait for the unwary, they gather in the price of human souls, none hindering, at our very church doors. Is no one responsible for all this? Is there no help? Is evil stronger than good, hell stronger than heaven? Have the churches nothing to do in this matter? Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost—came to the lowliest, the poorest and the vilest, to those over whom devils had gained power, and cast out the devils. Are those who call themselves by his name diligent in the work to which he put his blessed hands? Millions of dollars go yearly into magnificent churches, but how little to the work of saving and succoring the weak, the helpless, the betrayed, the outcast and the dying, who lie uncared for at the mercy of human fiends, and often so near to the temples of God that their agonized appeals for help are drowned by the organ and choir!
THE two girls, on leaving the “Hawk’s Nest” with their plunder, did not pass from the narrow private alley into the small street at its termination, but hurried along the way they had come, and re-entered the restaurant by means of the gate opening into the yard. Through the back door they gained a small, dark room, from which a narrow stairway led to the second and third stories of the rear building. They seemed to be entirely familiar with the place.
On reaching the third story, Pinky gave two quick raps and then a single rap on a closed door. No movement being heard within, she rapped again, reversing the order—that is, giving one distinct rap, and then two in quick succession. At this the door came slowly open, and the two girls passed in with their bundle of clothing and the traveling-bag.
The occupant of this room was a small, thin, well-dressed man, with cold, restless gray eyes and the air of one who was alert and suspicious. His hair was streaked with gray, as were also his full beard and moustache. A diamond pin of considerable value was in his shirt bosom. The room contained but few articles. There was a worn and faded carpet on the floor, a writing-table and two or three chairs, and a small bookcase with a few books, but no evidence whatever of business—not a box or bundle or article of merchandise was to be seen.
As the two girls entered he, shut the door noiselessly, and turned the key inside. Then his manner changed; his eyes lighted, and there was an expression of interest in his face. He looked toward the bag and bundle.