The New Magazine, June 1927



The Opening Chapters.

GEORGE FINCH, immaculate tenant of a small bachelor flat in New York, and madly in love with Molly Waddington, beautiful and unattainable stepdaughter of masterful Mrs. Waddington and daughter of Mr. Sigsbee H. Waddington (who tries hard to matter), “insinuates” himself into dinner at Molly’s home among a bevy of millionaires, snatches a tête-à-tête with Molly and finds himself forbidden the house. To his rescue comes his friend, Hamilton Beamish (author of “English Pure and Marriage Sane”) who, with Molly, helps to talk Mrs. W. into reluctant acquiescence in the wedding. Mr. Waddington hires a girl-crook to steal his daughter’s pearls rather than face his wife’s wrath for having substituted faked gems; and the girl succeeds by creating a scene in the room where the wedding-presents are—a scene for which Hamilton Beamish had hired her for quite another purpose, viz., to free George from the menace of May Stubbs, a girl from George’s past. May Stubbs, however, is really Madame Eulalie, the girl Hamilton loves, and his plan merely results in Mrs. W. postponing George’s wedding, and devoting herself, with toady Lord Hunstanton, to proving George a villain. She is discovered in George’s New York flat by a policeman-poet named Garroway (to whom Sigsbee H. has sold some shares he now wants back) and throws pepper in his face to cover her retreat. Here Molly finds him, earns his gratitude by her sympathy and learns that the police are about to raid a restaurant called the “Purple Chicken.” Molly meets George and they decide to elope. George, ordered by the girl to get a meal while she packs, is involved in a fracas with Garroway and escapes during a raid on the “Purple Chicken” to his apartment, where he hides beneath the bed. He is horrified to see a young lady’s ankles; they belong to Madame Eulalie, who has been sent into the room by Beamish to avoid the police, these two lovers having also been involved in the raid. The lovers foil Garroway, and leave George alone, hiding beneath the bed. Presently the light is switched on and the dismayed young man beholds another pair of silk-clad ankles. At that crucial moment Mrs. Waddington applies her ear to the keyhole of the room where our hero is concealed. Things, she decides, are beginning to move.


Chapter XVI (Continued)

OR a moment all that George Finch felt as he glared out at this latest visitation was a weak resentment at the oafishness of Fate in using the same method for his tormenting that it had used so short a while before. Fate, he considered, was behaving childishly and ought to change its act. This ankle business might have been funny enough once, but, overdone, it became tedious.

Then to indignation there succeeded relief. The remarks of Hamilton Beamish in his conversation with the policeman had made it clear that the possessor of the ankles had been his old friend May Stubbs, of East Gilead, Idaho; and, seeing ankles once again, George naturally assumed that they were attached, as before, to Miss Stubbs, and that the reason for her return was that she had come back to fetch something—a powder-puff, for example, or a lipstick—which in the excitement of the recent altercation she had forgotten to take along with her.

This, of course, altered the whole position of affairs. What it amounted to was that instead of a new enemy he had found an ally. A broad-minded girl like May would understand at once the motives which had led him to hide under the bed and would sympathise with them. He could employ her, it occurred to him, as a scout, to see if the staircase was now clear. In short, this latest interruption of his reverie, so far from being a disaster, was the very best thing that could have happened.

Sneezing heartily, for he had got a piece of fluff up his nose, George rolled out from under the bed and, scrambling to his feet with a jolly laugh, found himself gazing into the bulging eyes of a complete stranger.


That, at least, was how the girl impressed him in the first instant of their meeting. But gradually, as he stared at her, there crept into his mind the belief that somewhere and at some time he had seen her before. But where? And when?

The girl continued to gape at him. She was small and pretty, with vivid black eyes and a mouth which, if it had not been hanging open at the moment like that of a fish, would have been remarkably attractive. Silence reigned in the sleeping-porch, and Mrs. Waddington, straining her ears outside was beginning to think that George could not be in this lair and that a further vigil was before her, when suddenly voices began to speak. What they were saying she was unable to hear, for the door was stoutly built, but beyond a doubt one of them was George’s. Mrs. Waddington crept away, well content. Her suspicions had been confirmed, and now it remained only to decide what it was best to do about it. She moved into the shadow of the water-tank, and there remained for a space in deep thought.


Inside the sleeping-porch the girl, her eyes fixed on George, had begun to shrink back. At about the third shrink she bumped into the wall and the shock seemed to restore her power of speech.

“What are you doing in my bedroom?” she cried.

The question had the effect of substituting for the embarrassment which had been gripping George a sudden bubbling fury. This, he felt, was too much. Circumstances had conspired that night to turn this sleeping-porch into a sort of meeting-place of the nations, but he was darned if he was going to have his visitors looking on the room as their own.

“What do you mean, your bedroom?” he demanded hotly. “Who are you?”

“I’m Mrs. Mullett.”


“Mrs. Frederick Mullett.”


Mrs. Waddington had formed her plan of action. What she needed, she perceived, was a witness to come with her to this den of evil and add his testimony in support of hers. If only Lord Hunstanton had been present, as he should have been, she would have needed to look no further. But Lord Hunstanton was somewhere out in the great city, filling his ignoble tummy with food. Whom, then, could she enrol as a deputy? The question answered itself. Ferris was the man. He was ready to hand and could be fetched without delay.

Mrs. Waddington made for the stairs . . .

“Mrs. Mullett?” said George. “What do you mean? Mullett’s not married.”

“Yes he is. We were married this morning.”

“Where is he?”

“I left him down below, finishing a cigar. He said we’d be all alone up here, nesting like two little birds in a tree top.”

George laughed a brassy, sardonic laugh.

“If Mullett thought anyone could ever be alone for five minutes up here, he’s an optimist. And what right has Mullett to go nesting like a little bird in my apartment?”

“Is this your apartment?”

“Yes it is.”

“Oh! Oh!”

“Stop it! Don’t make that noise. There are policemen about.”



Tears suddenly filled the eyes that looked into his. Two small hands clasped themselves in a passionate gesture of appeal.

“Don’t turn me over to the bulls, mister! I only did it for ma’s sake. If you was out of work and starvin’ and you had to sit and watch your poor old ma bendin’ over the wash-tub . . .”

“I haven’t got a poor old ma,” said George curtly. “And what on earth do you think you’re talking about?”

He stopped suddenly, speech wiped from his lips by a stunning discovery. The girl had unclasped her hands, and now she flung them out before her, and the gesture was all that George’s memory needed to spur it to the highest efficiency. For unconsciously Fanny Mullett had assumed the exact attitude which had lent such dramatic force to her entrance into the dining-room of Mrs. Waddington’s house at Hempstead earlier in the day. The moment he saw those out-stretched arms George remembered where he had met this girl before, and, forgetting everything else, forgetting that he was trapped on a roof with a justly-exasperated policeman guarding the only convenient exit, he uttered a short, sharp bark of exultation.

“You!” he cried. “Give me that necklace.”

“What necklace?”

“The one you stole at Hempstead this afternoon.”

The girl drew herself up haughtily.

“Do you dare to say I stole a necklace?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Oh? And do you know what I’ll do if you bring a charge like that against me? I’ll . . .”

She broke off. A discreet tap had sounded on the door.


Fanny looked at George. George looked at Fanny.

“My husband!” whispered Fanny.

George was in no mood to be intimidated by a mere Mullett. He strode to the door.


George flung the door open.


“Well, Mullett?”

The valet fell back a pace, his eyes widening. He passed the tip of his tongue over his lips.

“A wasp in the beehive!” cried Mullett.

“Don’t be an idiot,” said George.

Mullett was gazing at him in the manner of one stricken to the core.

“Isn’t your own bridal-trip enough for you, Mr. Finch,” he said reproachfully, “that you’ve got to come butting in on mine?”

“Don’t be a fool. My wedding was temporarily postponed.”

“I see. And misery loves company, so you start in breaking up my home.”

“Nothing of the kind.”

“If I had known that you were on the premises, Mr. Finch,” said Mullett with dignity, “I would not have taken the liberty of making use of your domicile. Come, Fanny. We will go to a hotel.”

“Will you?” said George unpleasantly. “Let me tell you there’s a little matter to be settled before you start going to any hotel. Perhaps you are not aware that your wife is in possession of a valuable necklace belonging to the lady who, if it hadn’t been for her, would now be Mrs. George Finch?”

Mullett clapped a hand to his forehead.

“A necklace?”

“It’s a lie,” cried his bride.

Mullett shook his head sadly. He was putting two and two together.

“When did this occur, Mr. Finch?”

“This afternoon, down at Hempstead.”

“Don’t you listen to him, Freddy. He’s dippy.”

“What precisely happened, Mr. Finch?”

“This woman suddenly burst into the room where everybody was and pretended that I had made love to her and deserted her. Then she fell on the table where the wedding-presents were and pretended to faint. And then she dashed out, and some time afterwards it was discovered that the necklace had gone. And don’t,” he added, turning to the accused, “say that you only did it for your poor old ma’s sake, because I’ve had a lot to put up with to-day, and that will be just too much.”

Mr. Mullett clicked his tongue with a sort of sorrowful pride. Girls will be girls, Frederick Mullett seemed to say, but how few girls could be as clever as his little wife!

“Give Mr. Finch his necklace, pettie,” he said mildly.

“I haven’t got any necklace.”

“Give it to him, dearie, just like Freddie says, or there’ll only be unpleasantness.”

“Unpleasantness,” said George, breathing hard, “is right!”

“It was a beautiful bit of work, honey, and there isn’t another girl in New York that could have thought it out, let alone gone and got away with it. Even Mr. Finch will admit it was a beautiful bit of work.”

“If you want Mr. Finch’s opinion . . .” began George heatedly.

“But we’ve done with all that sort of thing now, haven’t we, pettie? Give him his necklace, honey.”

Mrs. Mullett’s black eyes snapped. She twisted her pretty fingers irresolutely.

“Take your old necklace,” she said.

George caught it as it fell.

“Thanks,” he said, and put it in his pocket.

“And now, Mr. Finch,” said Mullett suavely, “I think we will say good-night. My little girl here has had a tiring day and ought to be turning in.”


George hurried across the roof to his apartment. Whatever the risk of leaving the safety of the sleeping-porch, it must be ignored. It was imperative that he telephone to Molly and inform her of what had happened.

He was pulling the French window open when he heard his name called, and perceived Mullett hurrying towards him from the door that led to the stairs.

“Just one moment, Mr. Finch.”

“What is it? I have a most important telephone call to make.”

“I thought you would be glad to have this, sir.”

With something of the air of a conjurer who, to amuse the children, produces two rabbits and the grand old flag from inside a borrowed top-hat, Mullett unclasped his fingers.

“Your necklace, sir.”

George’s hand flew to his pocket and came away empty.

“Good heavens! How . . . ?”

“My little girl,” explained Mullett with a proud and tender look in his eyes. “She snitched it off you, sir, as we were going out. I was able, however, to persuade her to give it up again. I reminded her that we had put all that sort of thing behind us now. I asked her how she could expect to be happy on our duck-farm if she had a thing like that on her mind, and she saw it almost at once. She’s a very reasonable girl, sir, when tactfully approached by the voice of love.”

George drew a deep breath. He replaced the necklace in his inside breast-pocket, buttoned his coat and drew away a step or two.

“Are you going to let that woman loose on a duck-farm, Mullett?”

“Yes, sir. We are taking a little place in the neighbourhood of Speonk.”

“She’ll have the tail-feathers off every bird on the premises before the end of the first week.”

Mullett bowed his appreciation of the compliment.

“And they wouldn’t know they’d lost them, sir,” he agreed. “There’s never been anyone in the profession fit to be reckoned in the same class with my little girl. But all that sort of thing is over now, sir. She is definitely retiring from business—except for an occasional visit to the department stores during bargain sales. A girl must have her bit of finery. Good night, sir.”

“Good night,” said George.

He took out the necklace, examined it carefully, replaced it in his pocket, buttoned his coat once more and went into the apartment to telephone to Molly.


Chapter XVII


Mrs. Waddington had once read a story in which a series of emotions, including fear, horror, amazement, consternation and a sickly dismay, were described as “chasing one another” across the face of a dastardly person at the moment of realisation that his villainy had been discovered past concealment; and it was with the expectation of watching a similar parade on the moon-like countenance of Ferris, the butler, that she pressed the bell outside the door of the apartment of Mr. Lancelot Biffen on the ninth floor.

She was disappointed. Ferris, as he appeared in the doorway in answer to her ring, lacked a little of his customary portentous dignity, but that was only because we authors, after a gruelling bout at the desk, are always apt to look a shade frazzled. The butler’s hair was disordered where he had plucked at it in the agony of composition, and there was more ink on the tip of his nose than would have been there on a more formal occasion, but otherwise he was in pretty good shape, and he did not even start on perceiving the identity of his visitor.

“Mr. Biffen is not at home, madam,” said Ferris equably.

“I do not wish to see Mr. Biffen.” Mrs. Waddington swelled with justifiable wrath. “Ferris,” she said, “I know all!”

“Indeed, madam?”

“You have no sick relative,” proceeded Mrs. Waddington, though her tone suggested the opinion that anyone related to him had good reason to be sick. “You are here because you are writing a scurrilous report of what happened this afternoon at my house for a gutter rag called Town Gossip.”

“With which is incorporated Broadway Whispers and Times Square Tattle,” murmured the butler absently.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself!”

Ferris raised his eyebrows.

“I venture to take issue with you, madam. The profession of journalism is an honourable one. Many very estimable men have written for the press. Horace Greeley,” said Ferris, specifying. “Delane . . .”



“But we will go into that later.”

“Very good, madam.”

“Meanwhile, I wish you to accompany me to the roof . . .”

“I fear I must respectfully decline, madam. I have not climbed since I was a small lad.”

“You can walk up a flight of stairs, can’t you?”

“Oh, stairs? Decidedly, madam. I will be at your disposal in a few moments.”

“I wish you to accompany me now.”

The butler shook his head.

“If I might excuse myself, madam. I am engaged on the concluding passages of the article to which you alluded just now, and I am anxious to complete it before Mr. Biffen’s return.”

Mrs. Waddington caused the eye before which Sigsbee H. had so often curled up and crackled like a burnt feather to blaze imperiously upon the butler. He met it with the easy aplomb of one who in his time has looked at dukes and made them feel that their trousers were bagging at the knees.

“Would you care to step inside and wait, madam?”

Mrs. Waddington was reluctantly obliged to realise that she was quelled. She had shot her bolt. A cyclone might shake this man, but not the human eye.

“I will not step inside.”

“Very good, madam. For what reason do you desire me to accompany you to the roof?”

“I want you to—to look at something.”

“If it is the view, madam, I should mention that I have already visited the top of the Woolworth Building.”

“It is not the view. I wish you to look at a man who is living in open sin.”

“Very good, madam.” There was no surprise in Ferris’s manner, only a courteous suggestion that he was always glad to look at men living in open sin. “I will be at your disposal in a few minutes.”

He closed the door gently, and Mrs. Waddington, full of the coward rage which dares to burn but does not dare to blaze, abandoned her intention of kicking in a panel and stood on the landing, heaving gently. And presently there was borne up to her from the lower levels a cheerful sound of whistling.

Lord Hunstanton came into view.

“Hullo-ullo-ullo!” said Lord Hunstanton, exuberantly. “Here I am, here I am, here I am!”—meaning that there he was.

A striking change had taken place in the man’s appearance since Mrs. Waddington had last seen him. He now wore the carefree and debonair expression of one who has dined and dined well. The sparkle in his eye spoke of clear soup, the smile on his lips was eloquent of roast duck and green peas. To Mrs. Waddington, who had not broken bread since lunch-time, he seemed the most repellent object on which she had ever gazed.

“I trust you have had a good dinner?” she said icily.

His lordship’s sunny smile broadened, and a dreamy look came into his eyes.

“Absolutely!” he replied. “I started with a spruce spoonful of Julienne and passed on, by way of a breezy half-lobster on the shell, to about as upstanding a young Long Island duckling as I have ever bitten.”

“Be quiet!” said Mrs Waddington, shaken to the core. The man’s conversation seemed to her utterly revolting.

“Finishing up with . . .”

“Will you be quiet? I have no desire to hear the details of your repast.”

“Oh, sorry! I thought you had.”

“You have been away long enough to have eaten half-a-dozen dinners. However, as it happens, you are not too late. I have something to show you.”

“That’s good. Moral turpitude pretty strong on the wing, eh?”

“A few moments ago,” said Mrs. Waddington, leading the way to the roof, “I observed a young woman enter what appears to be some kind of outdoor sleeping-porch attached to George Finch’s apartment, and immediately afterwards I heard her voice in conversation with George Finch within.”

“Turpy,” said his lordship, shaking his head reprovingly. “Very turpy.”

“I came down to fetch Ferris, my butler, as a witness, but fortunately you have returned in time. Though why you were not back half an hour ago I cannot understand.”

“But I was telling you. I dallied with a mouthful of Julienne . . .”

“Be quiet!”

Lord Hunstanton followed her, puzzled. He could not understand what seemed to him a morbid distaste on his companion’s part to touch on the topic of food. They came out on the roof, and Mrs. Waddington, raising a silent and beckoning finger, moved on tip-toe towards the sleeping-porch.

“Now what?” enquired his lordship, as they paused before the door.

Mrs. Waddington rapped upon the panel.

“George Finch!”

Complete silence followed the words.

“George Finch!”

“George Finch!” echoed his lordship, conscious of his responsibilities as a chorus.

“Finch!” said Mrs. Waddington.

“George!” cried Lord Hunstanton.

Mrs. Waddington flung open the door. All was darkness within. She switched on the light. The room was empty.

“Well!” said Mrs. Waddington.

“Perhaps they’re under the bed.”

“Go and look.”

“But suppose he bites at me.”

Nothing is truer than that the secret of all successful operations consists in the overlooking of no eventuality, but it was plain that Mrs. Waddington considered that in this instance her ally was carrying caution too far. She turned on him with a snort of annoyance; and, having turned, remained staring frozenly at something that had suddenly manifested itself in his lordship’s rear.

This something was a long, stringy policeman; and, though Mrs. Waddington had met this policeman only once in her life, the circumstances of that meeting had been such that the memory of him had lingered. She recognised him immediately and, strong woman though she was, wilted like a snail that has just received a handful of salt between the eyes.

“What’s up?” enquired Lord Hunstanton. He, too, turned. “Oh, what ho, the constabulary!”

Officer Garroway was gazing at Mrs. Waddington with an eye from which one of New York’s Bohemian evenings had wiped every trace of its customary mildness. So intense, indeed, was the malevolence of its gleam that, if there had been two such eyes boring into hers, it is probable that Mrs. Waddington would have swooned. Fortunately the other was covered with a piece of raw steak and a bandage and so was out of action.

“Ah!” said Officer Garroway.

There is little in the word “Ah!” when you write it down and take a look at it to suggest that under certain conditions it can be one of the most sinister words in the language. But hear it spoken by a policeman in whose face you have recently thrown pepper, and you will be surprised. To Mrs. Waddington, as she shrank back into the sleeping-porch, it seemed a sort of combination of an Indian war-whoop, the Last Trump, and the howl of a pursuing wolf-pack. Her knees weakened beneath her, and she collapsed on the bed.

“Copped you, have I?” proceeded the policeman.

The question was plainly a rhetorical one, for he did not pause for a reply. He adjusted the bandage that held the steak, and continued his remarks.

“You’re pinched!”

It seemed to Lord Hunstanton that all this was very odd and irregular.

“I say, look here, you know, what I mean to say is . . .”

“So are you,” said Officer Garroway. “You seem to be in it, too. You’re both pinched. And start any funny business,” concluded the constable, swinging his night-stick in a ham-like fist, “and I’ll bend this over your nut. Get me?”

There followed one of those pauses which so often punctuate the conversation of comparative strangers. Officer Garroway seemed to have said his say. Mrs. Waddington had no observations to make. And, though Lord Hunstanton would have liked to put a question or two, the spectacle of that oscillating night-stick had the effect of driving the words out of his head. It was the sort of night-stick that gave one a throbbing feeling about the temples merely to look at it. He swallowed feebly, but made no remark.

And then from somewhere below there sounded the voice of one who was crying “Beamish! Hey, Beamish!” It was the voice of Sigsbee H. Waddington.



Nothing is more annoying to the reader of a chronicle like this than to have somebody suddenly popping up in some given spot and to find that the historian does not propose to offer any explanation as to how he got there. A conscientious recorder should explain the exits and the entrances of even so insignificant a specimen of the race as Sigsbee H. Waddington, and the present scribe must now take time off in order to do so.

Sigsbee H., it may be remembered, had started out to search through New York for a policeman named Gallagher, and New York had given him of its abundance. It had provided for Mr. Waddington’s inspection a perfect wealth of Gallaghers, but, owing to the fact that what he really wished to meet was not a Gallagher but a Garroway, nothing in the nature of solid success had rewarded his efforts. He had seen tall Gallaghers, a cross-eyed Gallagher, a pimpled Gallagher, a Gallagher with red hair, a Gallagher with a broken nose, two Gallaghers who looked like bad dreams, and a final supreme Gallagher who looked like nothing on earth. But he had not found the man to whom he had sold the stock of the Finer and Better Motion Picture Company of Hollywood, Cal.

Many men in such a position would have given up the struggle. Sigsbee H. Waddington did. The last Gallagher had been on duty in the neighbourhood of Bleeker Street, and Mr. Waddington, turning into Washington Square, tottered to a bench and sagged down on it.

For some moments, the ecstatic relief of resting his feet occupied his mind to the exclusion of everything else. Then there occurred to him a thought which, had it arrived earlier in the day, would have saved him a considerable output of energy. He suddenly recollected that he had met the missing policeman at the apartment of Hamilton Beamish and, pursuing this train of thought to its logical conclusion, decided that Hamilton Beamish was the one person who would be able to give him information as to the man’s whereabouts.

No tonic, however popular and widely-advertised, could have had so instantly revivifying an effect. The difference between Mr. Waddington before taking and after taking this inspiration was almost magical. An instant before, he had been lying back on the bench in a used-up attitude which would have convinced any observer that the only thing to do with a man in such a stage of exhausted dejection was to notify the City authorities and have him swept up and deposited in the incinerator with the rest of the local garbage. But now, casting off despair like a cloak, he sprang from his seat and was across the Square and heading for the Sheridan before such an observer would have had time to say “What ho!”

Not even the fact that the elevator was not running could check his exhilarated progress. He skimmed up the stairs to Hamilton Beamish’s door like a squirrel.

“Beamish!” he cried. “Hey, Beamish!”


Up on the roof Officer Garroway started as a war-horse at the sound of the bugle. He knew that voice. And, if it should seem remarkable that he should have remembered it after so many days, having been in conversation with it but once, the explanation is that Mr. Waddington’s voice had certain tonal qualities that rendered it individual and distinctive. You might mistake it for a squeaking file, but you could not mistake it for the voice of anybody but Sigsbee H. Waddington.

“Gosh!” said Officer Garroway, shaking like an aspen.

The voice had had its effect also on Mrs. Waddington. She started up as if the bed on which she sat had become suddenly incandescent.

“Siddown!” said Officer Garroway.

Mrs. Waddington sat down.

“My dear old constable,” began Lord Hunstanton.

“Shut up!” said Officer Garroway.

Lord Hunstanton shut up.

“Gosh!” said Officer Garroway once more.

He eyed his prisoners in an agony of indecision. He was in the unfortunate position of wanting to be in two places at once. To rush down the stairs and accost the man who had sold him that stock would mean that he would have to leave these two birds, with the result that they would undoubtedly escape. And that they should escape was the last thing in the world that Officer Garroway desired. These two represented the most important capture he had made since he had joined the Force. The female bird was a detected burglar and assaulter of the police, and he rather fancied that, when he took him to headquarters and looked him up in the Rogues Gallery, the male bird would prove to be Willie the Dude, wanted in Syracuse for slipping the snide. To land them in the coop meant promotion.

On the other hand, to go down and get his fingers nicely placed about the throat of the man downstairs meant that he would get his three hundred dollars back.

What to do? What to do?

A measured footstep made itself heard. There came into his range of vision an ambassadorial-looking man with a swelling waistcoat and a spot of ink on his nose.



“Hey!” said Officer Garroway.

“Sir?” said the newcomer.

“You’re a deputy.”

“No, sir, I am a butler.”

“Say, Be-eeeee-mish!” bleated the voice below.

It roused the policeman to a frenzy of direct action.

“You’re a deputy,” he repeated. “You know what that means, don’t you, dumb-bell? I’m an officer of the Law and I appoint you my deputy.”

“I have no desire to be a deputy,” said the other with the cold sub-tinkle in his voice which had once made the younger son of a marquess resign from his clubs and go to Uganda.

It was wasted on Officer Garroway. The man was berserk.

“That’s all right what you desire and don’t desire. I’ve made you a deputy and you’ll be one or go up the river for resisting an officer of the Law, besides getting a dot over the bean with this stick that’ll make you wish you hadn’t. Now then?”

“The position being such as you have outlined,” said the butler with dignity, “I have no alternative but to comply.”

“What’s your name?”

“Rupert Antony Ferris.”

“Where do you live?”

“I am in the employment of Mrs. Sigsbee H. Waddington, at present residing at Hempstead, Long Island.”

“Well, I’ve got two birds in here that are wanted at headquarters, see? I’m locking them in.” Officer Garroway slammed the door and turned the key. “Now, all you have to do is to stand on guard till I come back. Not much to ask, is it?”

“The task appears to be well within the scope of my powers, and I shall endeavour to fulfil it faithfully.”

“Then go to it,” said Officer Garroway.


Ferris stood with his back to the sleeping-porch, looking at the moon with a touch of wistfulness. Moonlight nights always made him a little homesick, for Brangmarley Hall had been at its best on such occasions. How often had he, then a careless, light-hearted footman, watched the moonbeams reflected on the waters of the moat and, with all the little sounds of the English country whispering in his ear, pondered idly on what would win the two o’clock race at Ally Pally next day. Happy days! Happy days!

The sound of someone murmuring his name brought his wandering thoughts back to the workaday world.


The butler was a man who never permitted himself to be surprised, but he was conscious now of something not unlike that emotion. Disembodied voices which whispered his name were new in his experience. It could hardly be one of the two birds in the sleeping-porch that was speaking, for they were behind concrete walls and a solid door.


Possibly an angel, thought the butler, and was turning his mind to other things when he perceived that in the wall by which he stood there was a small window high up in the concrete. So it was one of the birds, after all. Scarcely had he made the discovery of the window when the voice spoke again, and so distinctly this time that he was able to recognise it as that of his employer, Mrs. Sigsbee H. Waddington.


(To be concluded)



Printer’s errors corrected above:

In XVI, magazine omitted comma following “straining her ears outside”; inserted as in other sources.

In XVII, i, magazine had an extraneous comma in “stood, on the landing”; removed as in other sources.

In XVII, i, magazine had “with spruce spoonful”; ‘a’ inserted as in other sources.

In XVII, i, magazine had “half-a dozen dinners”; second hyphen inserted as in other sources.

In XVII, iii, magazine omitted closing quotation mark after “but to comply.”