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- Raspberry Jam - 45/45 -


"I did. I--I--oh, I can't--talk. You talk--"

"This is his confession," Fibsy turned to the priest and the doctor; "listen to it." Then addressing himself again to Hanlon, he resumed: "You climbed up the side of the apartment house--on the cross street--not on Park Avenue--and you got in at Miss Ames' window."

"Yes," said Hanlon, his white lips barely moving, but his eyes showing acquiescence.

"You went straight through those two rooms--softly, not awakening either of the ladies--and you killed Mr. Embury, and then--you returned through the bedrooms--" " Again the eyes said yes.

"And, passing through Miss Ames' room, she stirred, and thinking she might be awake, you stopped and leaned over her to see. There you accidentally let fall--perhaps from your breast pocket- -the little glass dropper you had used--and as you bent over the old lady, she grabbed at you, and felt your jersey sleeve--even bit at it--and tasted raspberry jam. That jam got on that sleeve as you climbed up past the Patterson's window, where a jar of it was on the window-sill--"

"Yes--that's right," Hanlon breathed, and on his face was a distinct look of admiration for the boy's perception.

"You wore a faintly-ticking wrist-watch--the same one you're wearing now--and the odor of gasoline about you was from your motor-cycle. You, then, were the 'vision' Miss Ames has so often described, and you glided silently away from her bedside, and out at the window by which you entered. Gee! it was some stunt!"

This tribute of praise was wrung from Fibsy by the sudden realization that what he had for some time surmised was really true!

"I guess it was that jam that did for you," he went on, "but, say, we ain't got no time for talkin'."

Hanlon's eyes were already glazing, his breath; came shorter and it was plain to be seen the end was very near.

"Who hired you?" Fibsy flung the question at him with such force that it seemed to rouse a last effort of the ebbing life in the dying man and he answered, faintly but clearly:

"Alvord Hendricks--ten thousand dollars--" and then Hanlon was gone.

Reminding the priest and the doctor that they were witnesses to this dying confession, Fibsy rushed from the room and back to New York as fast as he could get there.

He learned by telephone that Fleming Stone was at Mrs. Embury's, and, pausing only to telephone for Shane to go at once to the same house, Fibsy jumped into a taxicab and hurried up there himself.

"It's all over," he burst forth, as he dashed into the room where Stone sat, talking to Eunice. Mason Elliott was there, too--indeed, he was a frequent visitor--and Aunt Abby sat by with her knitting.

"What is?" asked Stone, looking at the boy in concern. For Fibsy was greatly excited, his fingers worked nervously and his voice shook.

"The whole thing, Mr. Stone! Hanlon's dead--and he killed Mr. Embury."

"Yes--I know--" Fleming Stone showed no surprise. "Did he fall?"

"Yessir. Got up the climb all right, and 'most down again, and fell from the sixth floor. Killed him--but not instantly. I went to the hospital, and he confessed."

"Who did?" said Shane, coming in at the door as the last words were spoken.

"Willy Hanlon--a human fly."

And then Fleming Stone told the whole story--Fibsy adding here and there his bits of information.

"But I don't understand," said Shane, at last, "why would that chap kill Mr. Embury?"

"Hired," said Fibsy, as Stone hesitated to speak; "hired by a man who paid him ten thousand dollars."

"Hanlon a gunman!" said Shane, amazed.

"Not a professional one," Fibsy said, "but he acted as one in this case. The man who hired him knew he was privately learning to be a 'human fly,' and he had the diabolical thought of hiring him to climb up this house, and get in at the only available window, and kill Mr. Embury with that henbane stuff."

"And the man's name?" shouted Shane, "the name of the real criminal?"

Fibsy sat silent, looking at Stone.

"His name is Alvord E. Hendricks," was Stone's quiet reply.

An instant commotion arose. Eunice, her great eyes full of horror, ran to Aunt Abby, who seemed about to collapse from sheer dismay.

Mason Elliott started up with a sudden "Where is he?" and Shane echoed, with a roar: "Yes, where is he? Can he get away?"

"No," said Stone; "he can't. I have him covered day and night by my men. At present, Mr. Shane, he is--I am quite sure--in his office--if you want to go there--"

"If I want to go there! I should say I do! He'll get his!"

And in less than half an hour, Shane had taken Alvord Hendricks into custody, and in due time that arch criminal received the retribution of justice.

Shane gone, Fibsy went over the whole story once again.

"You see, it was Mr. Stone's keeping at it what did it. He connected up Hanlon and the jam--he connected up Mr. Hendricks and the Hamlet business--we connected up Hanlon and the gasoline- -and Hanlon and the jersey and the motor-cycle and all!" Fibsy grew excited; "then we connected up Hendricks and his 'perfect alibi.' Always distrust the perfect alibi--that's one of Mr. Stone's first maxims. Well, this Hendricks--he had a pluperfect alibi--couldn't be shaken--so Mr. Stone, he says, the more perfect the alibi, the more we must distrust it. So he went for that alibi--and he found that Mr. Hendricks was sure in Boston that night, but he didn't have any real reason, not any imperative reason for going--it was a sorta trumped up trip. Well--that's the way it was. He had to get Mr. Embury out of the way just then, or be shown up--a ruined man--and, too, he was afraid Mr. Embury'd be president of the club--and, too--he wanted to--"

Fibsy gave one eloquent glance at Eunice, and paused abruptly in his speech. Every one knew--every one realized that love of Sanford Embury's wife was one reason, at least, for the fatal deed. Everybody realized that Alvord Hendricks was a villain through and through--that he had killed his friend--though not by his own hand.

Eunice never saw Hendricks again. She and Aunt Abby went away for a year's stay. They traveled in lovely lands, where the scenery and climate brought rest and peace to Eunice's troubled heart, and where she learned, by honest effort, to control her quick temper.

And then, after two of the one-time friendly quartet had become only a past memory, the remaining two, Eunice and Mason Elliott, found happiness and joy.

"One of our biggest cases, F. Stone," said Fibsy, one day, reminiscently.

"It was, indeed, Fibs; and you did yourself proud."

"Great old scheme! Perfect alibi--unknown human fly--bolted doors--all the elements of a successful crime--if he hadn't slipped up on that Raspberry jam!"


Raspberry Jam - 45/45

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