We faced each other aghast.
“My God!” exclaimed Kennedy. “Has that been the effect of our story, Walter? Instead of smoking out anyone—we’ve almost killed some one.”
As fast as a cab could whisk us around to Mrs. Sutphen’s we hurried.
“I warned her that if she mixed up in any such fight as this she might expect almost anything,” remarked Mr. Sutphen nervously, as he met us in the reception room. “She’s all right, now, I guess, but if it hadn’t been for the prompt work of the ambulance surgeon I sent for, Dr. Coleman says she would have died in fifteen minutes.”
“How did it happen?” asked Craig.
“Why, she usually drinks a glass of vichy and milk before retiring,” replied Mr. Sutphen. “We don’t know yet whether it was the vichy or the milk that was poisoned, but Dr. Coleman thinks it was chloral in one or the other, and so did the ambulance surgeon. I tell you I was scared. I tried to get Coleman, but he was out on a case, and I happened to think of the hospitals as probably the quickest. Dr. Coleman came in just as the young surgeon was bringing her around. He—oh, here he is now.”
The famous doctor was just coming downstairs. He saw us, but, I suppose, inasmuch as we did not belong to the Sutphen and Coleman set, ignored us. “Mrs. Sutphen will be all right now,” he said reassuringly as he drew on his gloves. “The nurse has arrived, and I have given her instructions what to do. And, by the way, my dear Sutphen, I should advise you to deal firmly with her in that matter about which her name is appearing in the papers. Women nowadays don’t seem to realize the dangers they run in mixing in in all these reforms. I have ordered an analysis of both the milk and vichy, but that will do little good unless we can find out who poisoned it. And there are so many chances for things like that, life is so complex nowadays—”
He passed out with scarcely a nod at us. Kennedy did not attempt to question him. He was thinking rapidly.
“Walter, we have no time to lose,” he exclaimed, seizing a telephone that stood on a stand near by. “This is the time for action. Hello—Police Headquarters, First Deputy O’Connor, please.”
As Kennedy waited I tried to figure out how it could have happened. I wondered whether it might not have been Mrs. Garrett. Would she stop at anything if she feared the loss of her favorite drug? But then there were so many others and so many ways of “getting” anybody who interfered with the drug traffic that it seemed impossible to figure it out by pure deduction.
“Hello, O’Connor,” I heard Kennedy say; “you read that story in the Star this morning about the drug fiends at that Broadway cabaret? Yes? Well, Jameson and I wrote it. It’s part of the drug war that Mrs. Sutphen has been waging. O’Connor, she’s been poisoned—oh, no—she’s all right now. But I want you to send out and arrest Whitecap and that fellow Armstrong immediately. I’m going to put them through a scientific third degree up in the laboratory to-night. Thank you. No—no matter how late it is, bring them up.”