Meanwhile, the organization was using every effort to get possession of the Black Book, as Kennedy had suspected.
Miss Ashton had been busy on the case of the missing Betty Blackwell, but as yet there was no report from any of the agencies which she had set in motion to locate the girl. She had seen Langhorne, and, although she did not say much about the result of the interview, I felt sure that it had resulted in a further estrangement between them, perhaps a suspicion on the part of Langhorne that Carton had been responsible for it.
In as tactful a way as possible, Miss Ashton had also warned Mrs. Ogleby of the danger she ran, but, as I had already supposed, the warning had been unnecessary. The rumours about the detectaphone record of the dinner had been quite enough. As for the dinner itself, what happened, and who were present, it remained still a mystery, perhaps only to be explained when at last we managed to locate the book.
Since the visit of Kahn, we had had no direct or indirect communications with either Dorgan or Murtha. They were, however, far from inactive, and I felt that their very secrecy, which had always been the strong card of the organization, boded no good. Although both Carton and Kennedy were straining every nerve to make progress in the case, there was indeed very little to report, either the next day or for some time after the episode which had placed Kahn in our power.
Carton was careful not to say anything about the graphic record we had taken of Kahn’s attempt to throw the case. It was better so, he felt. The jury fixing evidence would keep and it would prove all the stronger trump to play when the right occasion arose. That time rapidly approached, now, with the day set for the trial of Dopey Jack.
The morning of the trial found both Kennedy and myself in the part of General Sessions to which the case had been assigned to be tried under Justice Pomeroy.
To one who would watch the sieve through which justice vigorously tries to separate the wheat from the chaff, the innocent from the guilty, a visit to General Sessions is the best means. For it is fed through the channels that lead through the police courts, the Grand Jury chambers, and the District Attorney’s office. There one can study the largest assortment of criminals outside of a penal institution, from the Artful Dodger and Bill Sykes, Fagin and Jim the Penman, to the most modern of noted crooks of fact or fiction, all done here in real flesh and blood. It is the busiest of criminal courts. More serious offenders against the law are sentenced here than in any other court in New York. The final chapter in nearly every big crime is written there, sooner or later.
As we crowded in, thanks to the courtesy of Carton, we found a roomy chamber, with high ceiling, and grey, impressive walls in the southeast corner of the second floor of the Criminal Courts Building. Heavy carved oaken doors afforded entrance and exit for the hundreds of lawyers, witnesses, friends, and relatives of defendants and complainants who flocked thither.