It was a thought that had lately been in my own mind, for we had had several hints of that nature.
Kennedy said no more, but he had started my mind on a train of speculative thought. I could not imagine that a woman of Mrs. Ogleby’s type could ever have really appealed to Carton, but that did not preclude the possibility that some unscrupulous person might make use of the intimacy for base purposes. Then, too, there was the threat that I had heard agreed on by both Langhorne and herself over the vocaphone.
What would be the next step of the organization now in its sworn warfare on Carton, I could not imagine. But we did not have long to wait. Early the following forenoon an urgent message came to Kennedy from Carton to meet him at his office.
“Kennedy,” he said, “I don’t know how to thank you for the many times you have pulled me through, and I’m almost ashamed to keep on calling on you.”
“It’s a big fight,” hastened Craig. “You have opponents who know the game in its every crooked turn. If I can be only a small cog on a wheel that crushes them, I shall be only too glad. Your face tells me that something particularly unpleasant has happened.”
“It has,” admitted Carton, smoothing out some of the wrinkles at the mere sight of Craig.
He paused a moment, as if he were himself in doubt as to just what the trouble was.
“Someone has been impersonating me over the telephone,” he began. “All day long there have been reports coming into my office asking me whether it was true that I had agreed to accept the offer of Dorgan that Murtha made, you know,—that is, practically to let up on the organization if they would let up on me.”
“Yes,” prompted Kennedy, “but, impersonation—what do you mean by that?”
“Why, early to-day someone called me up, said he was Dorgan, and asked if I would have any objection to meeting him. I said I would meet him—only it would do no good. Then, apparently, the same person called up Dorgan and said he was myself, asking if he had any objection to meeting me. Dorgan said he’d see. Whoever it was, he almost succeeded in bringing about the fool thing—would have done it, if I hadn’t got wise to the fact that there was something funny about it. I called up Dorgan. He said he’d meet me, as long as I had approached him first. I said I hadn’t. We swore a little and called the fake meeting off. But it was too late. It got into the papers. Now, you’d think it wouldn’t make any difference to either of us. It doesn’t to him. People will think he tried to slip one over on me. But it does make a difference to me. People will think I’m trying to sell out.”
Carton showed plainly his vexation at the affair.
“The old scheme!” exclaimed Kennedy. “That’s the plan that has been used by a man down in Wall Street that they call, ‘the Wolf.’ He is a star impersonator—will call up two sworn enemies and put over something on them that double-crosses both.”