Schulers Books Online
books - games - software - wallpaper - everything
- The Treasure-Train - 1/54 -
ARTHUR B. REEVE
FRONTISPIECE BY WILL FOSTER
I. THE TREASURE-TRAIN
II. THE TRUTH-DETECTOR
III. THE SOUL-ANALYSIS
IV. THE MYSTIC POISONER
V. THE PHANTOM DESTROYER
VI. THE BEAUTY MASK
VII. THE LOVE METER
VIII. THE VITAL PRINCIPLE
IX. THE RUBBER DAGGER
X. THE SUBMARINE MINE
XI. THE GUN-RUNNER
XII. THE SUNKEN TREASURE
"I am not by nature a spy, Professor Kennedy, but--well, sometimes one is forced into something like that." Maude Euston, who had sought out Craig in his laboratory, was a striking girl, not merely because she was pretty or because her gown was modish. Perhaps it was her sincerity and artlessness that made her attractive.
She was the daughter of Barry Euston, president of the Continental Express Company, and one could readily see why, aside from the position her father held, she should be among the most-sought- after young women in the city.
Miss Euston looked straight into Kennedy's eyes as she added, without waiting for him to ask a question:
"Yesterday I heard something that has made me think a great deal. You know, we live at the St. Germaine when we are in town. I've noticed for several months past that the lobbies are full of strange, foreign-looking people.
"Well, yesterday afternoon I was sitting alone in the tea-room of the hotel, waiting for some friends. On the other side of a huge palm I heard a couple whispering. I have seen the woman about the hotel often, though I know that she doesn't live there. The man I don't remember ever having seen before. They mentioned the name of Granville Barnes, treasurer of father's company--"
"Is that so?" cut in Kennedy, quickly. "I read the story about him in the papers this morning."
As for myself, I was instantly alive with interest, too.
Granville Barnes had been suddenly stricken while riding in his car in the country, and the report had it that he was hovering between life and death in the General Hospital. The chauffeur had been stricken, too, by the same incomprehensible malady, though apparently not so badly.
How the chauffeur managed to save the car was a miracle, but he brought it to a stop beside the road, where the two were found gasping, a quarter of an hour later, by a passing motorist, who rushed them to a doctor, who had them transferred to the hospital in the city. Neither of them seemed able or willing to throw any light on what had happened.
"Just what was it you overheard?" encouraged Kennedy.
"I heard the man tell the woman," Miss Euston replied, slowly, "that now was the chance--when any of the great warring powers would welcome and wink at any blow that might cripple the other to the slightest degree. I heard him say something about the Continental Express Company, and that was enough to make me listen, for, you know, father's company is handling the big shipments of gold and securities that are coming here from abroad by way of Halifax. Then I heard her mention the names of Mr. Barnes and of Mr. Lane, too, the general manager." She paused, as though not relishing the idea of having the names bandied about. "Last night the--the attack on him--for that is all that I can think it was--occurred."
As she stopped again, I could not help thinking what a tale of strange plotting the casual conversation suggested. New York, I knew, was full of high-class international crooks and flimflammers who had flocked there because the great field of their operations in Europe was closed. The war had literally dumped them on us. Was some one using a band of these crooks for ulterior purposes? The idea opened up wide possibilities.
"Of course," Miss Euston continued, "that is all I know; but I think I am justified in thinking that the two things--the shipment of gold here and the attack--have some connection. Oh, can't you take up the case and look into it?"
She made her appeal so winsomely that it would have been difficult to resist even if it had not promised to prove important.
"I should be glad to take up the matter," replied Craig, quickly, adding, "if Mr. Barnes will let me."
"Oh, he must!" she cried. "I haven't spoken to father, but I know that he would approve of it. I know he thinks I haven't any head for business, just because I wasn't born a boy. I want to prove to him that I can protect the companies interests. And Mr. Barnes-- why, of course he will approve."
She said it with an assurance that made me wonder. It was only then that I recollected that it had been one of the excuses for printing her picture in the society columns of the Star so often that the pretty daughter of the president of the Continental was being ardently wooed by two of the company's younger officials. Granville Barnes himself was one. The other was Rodman Lane, the young general manager. I wished now that I had paid more attention to the society news. Perhaps I should have been in a better position to judge which of them it was whom she really had chosen. As it was, two questions presented themselves to me. Was it Barnes? And had Barnes really been the victim of an attack--or of an accident?
Kennedy may have been thinking the problems over, but he gave no evidence of it. He threw on his hat and coat, and was ready in a moment to be driven in Miss Euston's car to the hospital.
There, after the usual cutting of red tape which only Miss Euston could have accomplished, we were led by a white-uniformed nurse through the silent halls to the private room occupied by Barnes.
"It's a most peculiar case," whispered the young doctor in charge, as we paused at the door. "I want you to notice his face and his cough. His pulse seems very weak, almost imperceptible at times. The stethoscope reveals subcrepitant sounds all over his lungs. It's like bronchitis or pneumonia--but it isn't either."
We entered. Barnes was lying there almost in a state of unconsciousness. As we stood watching him he opened his eyes. But he did not see us. His vision seemed to be riveted on Miss Euston. He murmured something that we could not catch, and, as his eyes closed again, his face seemed to relax into a peaceful expression, as though he were dreaming of something happy.
Suddenly, however, the old tense lines reappeared. Another idea seemed to have been suggested.
"Is--Lane--hiring the men--himself?" he murmured.
The sight of Maude Euston had prompted the thought of his rival, now with a clear field. What did it mean? Was he jealous of Lane, or did his words have a deeper meaning? What difference could it have made if Lane had a free hand in managing the shipment of treasure for the company?
Kennedy looked long and carefully at the face of the sick man. It was blue and cyanosed still, and his lips had a violet tinge. Barnes had been coughing a great deal. Now and then his mouth was flecked with foamy blood, which the nurse wiped gently away. Kennedy picked up a piece of the blood-soaked gauze.
A moment later we withdrew from the room as quietly as we had entered and tiptoed down the hall, Miss Euston and the young doctor following us more slowly. As we reached the door, I turned to see where she was. A distinguished-looking elderly gentleman, sitting in the waiting-room, had happened to glance up as she passed and had moved quickly to the hall.
"What--you here, Maude?" we heard him say.
"Yes, father. I thought I might be able to do something for Granville."
She accompanied the remark with a sidelong glance and nod at us,
1 2 3 4 5 6 10 20 30 40 50 54
Schulers Books Online
books - games - software - wallpaper - everything