Then Kennedy and I retraced our steps down the road, across by the crossroad, and at last back to the mysterious house.
To all appearance there had been no need of such excessive caution. Not a sound or motion greeted us as we entered the gate and made our way around to the rear of the house. The very isolation of the house was now our protection, for we had no inquisitive neighbors to watch us for the instant when Kennedy, with the dexterity of a yeggman, inserted his knife between the sashes of the kitchen window and turned the catch which admitted us.
We made our way on cautious tiptoe through a dining room to a living room, and, finding nothing, proceeded upstairs. There was not a soul, apparently, in the house, nor in fact anything to indicate that it was different from most small suburban homes, until at last we mounted to the attic.
It was finished off in one large room across the back of the house and two in front. As we opened the door to the larger room, we could only gaze about in surprise. This was the rendezvous, the arsenal, literary, explosive and toxicological of the “Group.” Ranged on a table were all the materials for bomb-making, while in a cabinet I fancied there were poisons enough to decimate a city.
On the walls were pictures, mostly newspaper prints, of the assassins of McKinley, of King Humbert, of the King of Greece, of King Carlos and others, interspersed with portraits of anarchist and anti-militarist leaders of all lands.
Kennedy sniffed. Over all I, too, could catch the faint odor of stale tobacco. No time was to be lost, however, and while Craig set to work rapidly going through the contents of a desk in the corner, I glanced over the contents of a drawer of a heavy mission table.
“Here’s some of Annenberg’s literature,” I remarked, coming across a small pile of manuscript, entitled “The Human Slaughter House.”
“Read it,” panted Kennedy, seeing that I had about completed my part of the job. “It may give a clue.”
Hastily I scanned the mad, frantic indictment of war, while Craig continued in his search:
“I see wild beasts all around me, distorted unnaturally, in a life and death struggle, with bloodshot eyes, with foaming, gnashing mouths. They attack and kill one another and try to mangle each other. I leap to my feet. I race out into the night and tread on quaking flesh, step on hard heads, and stumble over weapons and helmets. Something is clutching at my feet like hands, so that I race away like a hunted deer with the hounds at his heels—and ever over more bodies—breathless... out of one field into another. Horror is crooning over my head. Horror is crooning beneath my feet. And nothing but dying, mangled flesh!
“Of a sudden I see nothing but blood before me. The heavens have opened and the red blood pours in through the windows. Blood wells up on an altar. The walls run blood from the ceiling to the floor and... a giant of blood stands before me. His beard and his hair drip blood. He seats himself on the altar and laughs from thick lips. The black executioner raises his sword and whirls it above my head. Another moment and my head will roll down on the floor. Another moment and the red jet will spurt from my neck.