Kennedy was watching his chance, and when the cafe emptied itself after being deluged between the acts from a neighbouring theatre, he jumped up quickly in the seat, stood on his toes and craned his neck through the diagonally opened transom. Before any of the waiters, who were busy clearing up the results of the last theatre raid, had a chance to notice him, Craig had slipped the little black box into the shadow of the corner.
From it dangled down the fine wires, not noticeable.
“He’s sitting just back of us yet,” reported Kennedy. “I don’t know about that flaming arc light in the middle of the room, but I think it will be all right. Anyhow, we shall have to take a chance. It looks to me as if he were waiting for someone—didn’t it to you, Walter?”
I nodded acquiescence.
“He has wasted no time in getting down to work,” put in Carton, who had been a silent spectator of the preparations of Kennedy. “What’s that thing you put on the ledge up there—a detectaphone?”
Kennedy smiled. “No—they’re too clever to do any talking, at least in a place like this, I’m afraid,” he said, carefully hiding the wires and the battery beside him in the shadow of the corner of the booth. “It may be that nothing will happen, anyhow, but if it does we can at least have the satisfaction of having tried to get something. Carton, you had better sit as far back in the booth as I am. The longer we can stay here unnoticed the better. Let Walter sit on the outside.”
We changed places.
“Lawyers have been complaining to me lately,” remarked Carton in a well modulated voice, “about jury fixing. Some of them say it has been going on on a large scale and I have had several of my county detectives working on it. But they haven’t landed anything yet,— except rumours, like this one about the Dopey Jack jury. I’ve had them out posing as jurymen who could be ‘approached’ and would arrange terms for other bribable jurymen.”
“And you mean to say that that’s going on right here in this city?” I asked, scenting a possible newspaper story.
“This campaign I have started,” he replied, “is only the beginning of our work in breaking up the organized business of jury bribing. I mean to put an end to the work of what I have reason to believe is a secret ring of jury fixers. Why, I understand that the prices for ‘hanging’ a jury range all the way from five to five hundred dollars, or even higher in an important case. The size of the jury fixer’s ‘cut’ depends upon the amount the client is willing to pay for having his case made either a disagreement or a dismissal. Usually a bonus is demanded for a dismissal in criminal cases. But such things are very difficult to—”
“Sh!” I cautioned, for from my vantage point I saw two men approaching.
They saw me in the booth, but not the rest of us, and turned to enter the next one. Though they were talking in low tones, we could catch words and phrases now and then, which told us that we ourselves would have to be very careful about being overheard.