As I looked at them I said nothing, but I must admit that the whole thing began to assume a suspicious look in my mind in connection with various hints I had heard dropped by organization men about probing into the past, and other insinuations. I felt that far from aiding Carton, things were now getting darker. There was nothing but his unsupported word that he had not been in such groups to counterbalance the existence of the actual pictures themselves, on the surface a graphic clincher to Dorgan’s story. Kennedy, however, after an examination of the photographs clung no less tenaciously to a purpose he already had in mind, and instead of leaving them for Carton, took them himself, leaving a note instead.
He stopped again to speak to Margaret Ashton. I did not hear all of the conversation, but one phrase struck me, “And the worst of it is that he called me up a little while ago and tried to act toward me in the same old way—and that after I know what I know. I—I could detect it in his voice. He knew he was concealing something from me.”
What Kennedy said to her, I do not know, but I don’t think it had much effect.
“That’s the most difficult and unfortunate part of the whole affair,” he sighed as we left. “She believes it.”
I had no comment that was worth while. What was to be done? If people believed it generally, Carton was ruined.
Dorgan was putting up a bold fight, at any rate. Everyone, and most of all his opponents who had once thought they had him on the run, was forced to admit that. Moreover, one could not help wondering at his audacity, whatever might be the opinion of his dishonesty.
But I was quite as much struck by the nerve of Carton. In the face of gathering misfortunes many a man of less stern mettle might have gone to pieces. Not so with the fighting District Attorney. It seemed to spur him on to greater efforts.
It was a titanic struggle, this between Carton and Dorgan, and had reached the point where quarter was given or asked by neither.
Kennedy had retired to his laboratory with the photographs and was studying them with an increasing interest.
It was toward the close of the afternoon when the telephone rang and Kennedy motioned to me to answer it.
“If it’s Carton,” he said quickly, “tell him I’m not here. I’m not ready for him yet and I can’t be interrupted.”
I took down the receiver, prepared to perjure my immortal soul. It was indeed Carton, bursting with news and demanding to see Kennedy immediately.
Almost before I had finished with the carefully framed, glib excuse that I was to make, he shouted to me over the wire, “What do you think, Jameson? Tell him to come down right away. The impossible has happened. I have got under Dopey Jack’s guard—he has confessed. It’s big. Tell Kennedy I’ll wait here at my office until he comes.”