“He was alone,” replied Josephson, slowly endeavoring to tell it exactly as he had seen it, “but that’s the strange part of it. He seemed to be suffering from a convulsion. I think he complained at first of a feeling of tightness of his throat and a twitching of the muscles of his hands and feet. Anyhow, he called for help. I was up here and we rushed in. Dr. Gunther had just brought him and then had gone away, after introducing him, and showing him the bath.”
Josephson proceeded slowly, evidently having been warned that anything he said might be used against him. “We carried him, when he was this way, into this very room. But it was only for a short time. Then came a violent convulsion. It seemed to extend rapidly all over his body. His legs were rigid, his feet bent, his head back. Why, he was resting only on his heels and the back of his head. You see, Mr. Kennedy, that simply could not be the electric shock.”
“Hardly,” commented Kennedy, looking again at the body. “It looks more like a tetanus convulsion. Yet there does not seem to be any trace of a recent wound that might have caused lockjaw. How did he look?”
“Oh, his face finally became livid,” replied Josephson. “He had a ghastly, grinning expression, his eyes were wide, there was foam on his mouth, and his breathing was difficult.”
“Not like tetanus, either,” revised Craig. “There the convulsion usually begins with the face and progresses to the other muscles. Here it seems to have gone the other way.”
“That lasted a minute or so,” resumed the masseur. “Then he sank back—perfectly limp. I thought he was dead. But he was not. A cold sweat broke out all over him and he was as if in a deep sleep.”
“What did you do?” prompted Kennedy.
“I didn’t know what to do. I called an ambulance. But the moment the door opened, his body seemed to stiffen again. He had one other convulsion—and when he grew limp he was dead.”
THE LEAD POISONER
It was a gruesome recital and I was glad to leave the baths finally with Kennedy. Josephson was quite evidently relieved at the attitude Craig had taken toward the coroner’s conclusion that Minturn had been shocked to death. As far as I could see, however, it added to rather than cleared up the mystery.
Craig went directly uptown to his laboratory, in contrast with our journey down, in abstracted silence, which was his manner when he was trying to reason out some particularly knotty problem.
As Kennedy placed the white crystals which he had scraped off the electrodes of the tub on a piece of dark paper in the laboratory, he wet the tip of his finger and touched just the minutest grain to his tongue.
The look on his face told me that something unexpected had happened. He held a similar minute speck of the powder out to me.