“I saw how this case was tending. Not a moment too soon, I said to myself, ‘The hand of the child will tell.’ By the very variations in unlike things, such as finger and palm prints, as tabulated and arranged by Bertillon after study in thousands of cases, by the very loops, whorls, arches and composites, I have proved my case.
“The dominancy, not the identity, of heredity through the infinite varieties of finger markings is sometimes very striking. Unique patterns in a parent have been repeated with marvelous accuracy in the child. I knew that negative results might prove nothing in regard to parentage, a caution which it is important to observe. But I was prepared to meet even that.
“I would have gone on into other studies, such as Tammasia’s, of heredity in the veining of the back of the hands; I would have measured the hands, compared the relative proportion of the parts; I would have studied them under the X-ray as they are being studied to-day; I would have tried the Reichert blood crystal test which is being perfected now so that it will tell heredity itself. There is no scientific stone I would have left unturned until I had delved at the truth of this riddle. Fortunately it was not necessary. Simple finger prints have told me enough. And best of all, it has been in time to frustrate that devilish scheme you and Veronica Haversham have been slowly unfolding.”
Maudsley crumpled up, as it were, at Kennedy’s denunciation. He seemed to shrink toward the door.
“Yes,” cried Kennedy, with extended forefinger, “you may go—for the present. Don’t try to run away. You’re watched from this moment on.”
Maudsley had retreated precipitately.
I looked at Kennedy inquiringly. What to do? It was indeed a delicate situation, requiring the utmost care to handle. If the story had been told to Hazleton, what might he not have already done? He must be found first of all if we were to meet the conspiracy of these two.
Kennedy reached quickly for the telephone. “There is one stream of scandal that can be dammed at its source,” he remarked, calling a number. “Hello. Klemm’s Sanitarium? I’d like to speak with Miss Haversham. What—gone? Disappeared? Escaped?”
He hung up the receiver and looked at me blankly. I was speechless.
A thousand ideas flew through our minds at once. Had she perceived the import of our last visit and was she now on her way to complete her plotted slander of Millicent Hazleton, though it pulled down on herself in the end the whole structure?
Hastily Kennedy called Hazleton’s home, Butler, and one after another of Hazleton’s favorite clubs. It was not until noon that Butler himself found him and came with him, under protest, to the laboratory.
“What is it—what have you found?” cried Butler, his lean form a-quiver with suppressed excitement.
Briefly, one fact after another, sparing Hazleton nothing, Kennedy poured forth the story, how by hint and innuendo Maudsley had been working on Millicent, undermining her, little knowing that he had attacked in her a very tower of strength, how Veronica, infatuated by him, had infatuated him, had led him on step by step.