Kennedy seemed perfectly well satisfied merely with a cursory view of the place, as he hung up the receiver and thanked the maid politely for allowing him to use it.
“This is up-to-date gambling in cleaned-up New York,” he remarked as we waited for the elevator to return for us. “And the worst of it all is that it gets the women as well as the men. Once they are caught in the net, they are the most powerful lure to men that the gamblers have yet devised.”
We rode down in silence, and as we went down the steps to the street, I noticed the man whom we had seen watching the place, lurking down at the lower corner. Kennedy quickened his pace and came up behind him.
“Why, Winters!” exclaimed Craig. “You here?”
“I might say the same to you,” grinned the detective not displeased evidently that our trail had crossed his. “I suppose you are looking for Schloss, too. He’s up in the Recherche a great deal, playing poker. I understand he owns an interest in the game up there.”
Kennedy nodded, but said nothing.
“I just saw one of the cappers for the place go out before you went in.”
“Capper?” repeated Kennedy surprised. “Antoinette Moulton a steerer for a gambling joint? What can a rich society woman have to do with a place like that or a man like Schloss?”
Winters smiled sardonically. “Society ladies to-day often get into scrapes of which their husbands know nothing,” he remarked. “You didn’t know before that Antoinette Moulton, like many of her friends in the smart set, was a gambler—and loser—did you?”
Craig shook his head. He had more of human than scientific interest in a case of a woman of her caliber gone wrong.
“But you must have read of the famous Moulton diamonds?”
“Yes,” said Craig, blankly, as if it were all news to him.
“Schloss has them—or at least had them. The jewels she wore at the opera this winter were paste, I understand.”
“Does Moulton play?” he asked.
“I think so—but not here, naturally. In a way, I suppose, it is his fault. They all do it. The example of one drives on another.”
Instantly there flashed over my mind a host of possibilities. Perhaps, after all, Winters had been right. Schloss had taken this way to make sure of the jewels so that she could not redeem them. Suddenly another explanation crowded that out. Had Mrs. Moulton robbed the safe herself, or hired some one else to do it for her, and had that person gone back on her?
Then a horrid possibility occurred to me. Whatever Antoinette Moulton may have been and done, some one must have her in his power. What a situation for the woman! My sympathy went out to her in her supreme struggle. Even if it had been a real robbery, Schloss might easily recover from it. But for her every event spelled ruin and seemed only to be bringing that ruin closer.
We left Winters, still watching on the trail of Schloss, and went on uptown to the laboratory.