“It is not necessary for me to repeat what has happened at the Montmartre and the beauty parlour adjoining it,” began Kennedy deliberately. “One thing, however, I want to say. Twice, now, I have seen Dr. Harris handing out packets of drugs—once to Ike the Dropper, agent for the police and a corrupt politician, and once to a mulatto woman, almost white, who conducted the beauty parlour and dope joint which I have mentioned, a friend and associate of Ike the Dropper, a constant go-between from Ike to the corrupt person higher up.
“This woman, whom I have just mentioned, we have been seeking by use of Bertillon’s new system of the portrait parle. She has escaped, for the time, by a very clever ruse, by changing her very face in the beauty parlour. She is Madame Margot herself!”
Not a word was breathed by any of the little audience as they hung on Kennedy’s words.
“Why was it necessary to get Betty Blackwell out of the way?” he asked suddenly, then without waiting for an answer, “You know and District Attorney Carton knows. Someone was afraid of Carton and his crusade. Someone wanted to destroy the value of that Black Book, which I now have. The only safety lay in removing the person whose evidence would be required in court to establish it—Betty Blackwell. And the manner? What more natural than to use the dope fiends and the degenerates of the Montmartre gang?”
“That’s silly,” interrupted Ogleby contemptuously.
“Silly? You can say that—you, the tool of that—that monster?”
It was a woman’s voice that interrupted. I turned. Sybil Seymour, her face blazing with resentment, had risen and was facing Ogleby squarely.
“You lie!” exclaimed the Silent Boss, forgetting both his silence and his superciliousness.
The situation was tense as the girl faced him.
“Go on, Sybil,” urged Clare.
“Be careful, woman,” cried Dorgan roughly.
Sybil Seymour turned quickly to her new assailant. “You are the man for whom we were all coined into dollars,” she scorned, “Dorgan—politician, man higher up! You reaped the profits through your dirty agent, Ike the Dropper, and those over him, even the police you controlled. Dr. Harris, Marie Margot, all are your tools—and the worst of them all is this man Martin Ogleby!”
Dorgan’s face was livid. For once in his life he was speechless rather than silent, as the girl poured out the inside gossip of the Montmartre which Kennedy had now stamped with the earmarks of legal proof.
She had turned from Dorgan, as if from an unclean animal and was now facing Ogleby.
“As for you, Martin Ogleby, they call you a club-man and society leader. Do you want to know what club I think you really belong to—you who have involved one girl after another in the meshes of this devilish System? You belong to the Abduction Club—that is what I would call it—you—you libertine!”