“Wall Street,” mused Carton. “That reminds me of another batch of rumours that have been flying around. They were that I had made a deal with Langhorne by which I agreed to support him in his fight to get something in the contracts of the new city planning scheme in return for his support of the part of the organization he could swing to me in the election,—another lie.”
“It might have been Langhorne himself, playing the wolf,” I suggested.
Kennedy had reached for the telephone book. “Also, it might have been Kahn,” he added. “I see he has an office in Wall Street, too. He has been the legal beneficiary of several shady transactions down there.”
“Oh,” put in Carton, “it might have been any of them—they’re all capable of it from Dorgan down. If Murtha was only out, I’d be inclined to suspect him.”
He tossed over a typewritten sheet of paper. “That’s the statement I gave out to the press,” he explained.
It read: “My attention has been called to the alleged activities of some person or persons who through telephone calls and underground methods are seeking to undermine confidence in my integrity. A more despicable method of attempting to arouse distrust I cannot imagine. It is criminal and if anyone can assist me in placing the responsibility where it belongs I shall be glad to prosecute to the limit.”
“That’s all right,” assented Kennedy, “but I don’t think it will have any effect. You see, this sort of thing is too easy for anyone to be scared off from. All he has to do is to go to a pay station and call up there. You couldn’t very well trace that.”
He stopped abruptly and his face puckered with thought.
“There ought to be some way, though,” I murmured, without knowing just what the way might be, “to tell whether it is Dorgan and the organization crowd, or Langhorne and his pool, or Kahn and the other shysters.”
“There is a way,” cried Kennedy at last. “You fellows wait here while I make a flying trip up to the laboratory. If anyone calls us, just put him off—tell him to call up later.”
Carton continued to direct the work of his office, of which there had been no interruptions even during the stress of the campaign. Now and then the telephone rang and each time Carton would motion to me, and say, “You take it, Jameson. If it seems perfectly regular then pass it over to me.”
Several routine calls came in, this way, followed by one from Miss Ashton, which Carton prolonged much beyond the mere time needed to discuss a phase of the Reform League campaign.
He had scarcely hung up the receiver, when the bell tinkled insistently, as though central had had an urgent call which the last conversation had held up.
I took down the receiver, and almost before I could answer the inquiry, a voice began, “This is the editor of the Wall Street Record, Mr. Carton. Have you heard anything of the rumours about Hartley Langhorne and his pool being insolvent? The Street has been flooded with stories—”