“Just witness it,” asked Kennedy of us. “It is a gentleman’s agreement among us all.”
Nervously we set our names to the thing, only too eager to keep the secret if we could further the case on which we had been almost literally sweating blood so long.
Prepared though we were for some startling disclosures, it was, nevertheless, with a feeling almost of faintness that we saw the stylus above moving again.
“The Black Book, as you call it,” it wrote, “has been sent by messenger to be deposited in escrow with the Gotham Trust Company to be delivered, Tuesday, the third of November, on the written order of Craig Kennedy and John Carton. An officer of the trust company will notify you of its receipt immediately, which will close the entire transaction as far as I am concerned.”
Kennedy could not wait. He had already seized his own telephone and was calling a number.
“They have it,” he announced a moment later, scrawling the information on the transmitter of the telautograph.
A moment it was still, then it wrote again.
“Good-bye and good luck,” it traced. “Murtha!”
The Smiling Boss could not resist his little joke at the end, even now.
“Can—we—get it?” asked Carton, almost stunned at the unexpected turn of events.
“No,” cautioned Kennedy, “not yet. To-morrow. I made the same promise to Murtha that I made to Dorgan, when I went to him with Walter, although Walter did not hear it. This is to be a fair fight, for the election, now.”
“Then,” said Carton earnestly, “I may as well tell you that I shall not sleep to-night. I can’t, even if I can use the book only after election in the clean-up of the city!”
“Perhaps I can entertain you with some other things,” he said gleefully, adding, “About those photographs.”
Carton was as good as his word. He did not sleep, and the greater part of the night we spent in telling him about what Craig had discovered by his scientific analysis of the faked pictures.
At last morning came. Though Kennedy and I had slept soundly in our apartment, Carton had in reality only dozed in a chair, after we closed the laboratory.
Slowly the hours slipped away until the trust company opened.
We were the first to be admitted, with our order ready signed and personally delivered.
As the officer handed over the package, Craig tore the wrapper off eagerly.
There, at last, was the Black Book!
Carton almost seized it from Kennedy, turning the pages, skimming over it, gloating like a veritable miser.
It was the debacle of Dorgan—the end of the man highest up!
THE BLOOD CRYSTALS
Much as we had accomplished, we had not found Betty Blackwell. Except for her shadowing of Mrs. Ogleby, Clare Kendall had devoted her time to winning the confidence of the poor girl, Sybil Seymour, whom we had rescued from Margot’s. Meanwhile, the estrangement of Carton and Margaret Ashton threw a cloud over even our success.