Thus because he was not only strong and brutal, but had a sort of ability and some education, Dopey Jack quickly rose to a position of minor leadership—had his own incipient “gang,” his own “lobbygows.” His following increased as he rose in gangland, and finally he came to be closely associated with Murtha himself on one hand and the “guns” and other criminals of the underworld who frequented the stuss games, where they gambled away the products of their crimes, on the other.
Everyone knew Dopey Jack. He had been charged with many crimes, but always through the aid of “the big fellows” he avoided the penitentiary and every fresh and futile attempt to end his career increased the numbers and reverence of his followers. His had been the history and he was the pattern now of practically every gang leader of consequence in the city. The fight club had been his testing ground. There he had learned the code, which can be summarized in two words, “Don’t squeal.” For gangland hates nothing so much as a “snitch.” As a beginner he could be trusted to commit any crime assigned to him and go to prison, perhaps the chair, rather than betray a leader. As a leader he had those under him trained in the same code. That still was his code to those above him in the System.
“We want him for frauds at the primaries,” repeated Carton, “at least, if we can find him, we can hold him on that for a time. I thought perhaps he might know something of the robbery—and about the disappearance of the girl, too.
“Oh,” he continued, “there are lots of things against him. Why, only last week there was a dance of a rival association of gang leaders. Against them Dopey Jack led a band of his own followers and in the ensuing pistol battle a passer-by was killed. Of course we can’t connect Dopey Jack with his death, but—then we know as well as we know anything in gangland that he was responsible.”
“I suppose it isn’t impossible that he may know something about the disappearance of Miss Blackwell,” remarked Kennedy.
“No,” replied Carton, “not at all, although, so far, there is absolutely no clue as far as I can figure out. She may have been bought off or she may have been kidnapped.”
“In either case the missing girl must be found,” said Craig. “We must get someone interested in her case who knows something about what may happen to a girl in New York.”
Carton had been revolving the matter in his mind. “By George,” he exclaimed suddenly, “I think I know just the person to take up that case for us—it’s quite in her line. Can you spare the time to run down to the Reform League headquarters with me?”
“Nothing could be more important, just at the minute,” replied Craig.
The telephone buzzed and he answered it, a moment later handing the receiver to Carton.
“It’s your office,” he said. “One of the assistant district attorneys wants you on the wire.”