Our hurried departure from New York had not given us a chance to visit the offices of the Radium Corporation for the distribution of the salts themselves. They were in a little old office building on William Street, near the drug district and yet scarcely a moment’s walk from the financial district.
“Our head bookkeeper, Miss Wallace, is ill,” remarked Denison when we arrived at the office, “but if there is anything I can do to help you, I shall be glad to do it. We depend on Miss Wallace a great deal. Haughton says she is the brains of the office.”
Kennedy looked about the well-appointed suite curiously.
“Is this another of those radium safes?” he asked, approaching one similar in appearance to that which had been broken open already.
“Yes, only a little larger.”
“How much is in it?”
“Most of our supply. I should say about two and a half grams. Miss Wallace has the record.”
“It is of the same construction, I presume,” pursued Kennedy. “I wonder whether the lead lining fits closely to the steel?”
“I think not,” considered Denison. “As I remember there was a sort of insulating air cushion or something of the sort.”
Denison was quite eager to show us about. In fact ever since he had hustled us out to view the scene of the robbery, his high nervous tension had given us scarcely a moment’s rest. For hours he had talked radium, until I felt that he, like his metal, must have an inexhaustible emanation of words. He was one of those nervous, active little men, a born salesman, whether of ribbons or radium.
“We have just gone into furnishing radium water,” he went on, bustling about and patting a little glass tank.
I looked closely and could see that the water glowed in the dark with a peculiar phosphorescence.
“The apparatus for the treatment,” he continued, “consists of two glass and porcelain receptacles. Inside the larger receptacle is placed the smaller, which contains a tiny quantity of radium. Into the larger receptacle is poured about a gallon of filtered water. The emanation from that little speck of radium is powerful enough to penetrate its porcelain holder and charge the water with its curative properties. From a tap at the bottom of the tank the patient draws the number of glasses of water a day prescribed. For such purposes the emanation within a day or two of being collected is as good as radium itself. Why, this water is five thousand times as radioactive as the most radioactive natural spring water.”
“You must have control of a comparatively large amount of the metal,” suggested Kennedy.
“We are, I believe, the largest holders of radium in the world,” he answered. “I have estimated that all told there are not much more than ten grams, of which Madame Curie has perhaps three, while Sir Ernest Cassel of London is the holder of perhaps as much. We have nearly four grams, leaving about six or seven for the rest of the world.”