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                 A Story of the White City_

by A.K. Sims
   (pseud. for John Harvey Whitson (1854 - 1936))

Beadle's New York Dime Library, No. 786, November 15, 1893.

                  CHAPTER III.


THE FAMOUS and mysterious Borden murder case was then
attracting wide-spread attention; a case in which a young
woman was charged with having slain her parents in the most
cold blooded manner.  Column-long accounts of the trial were
being paraded daily in the papers, and Chicago Charlie could
not but recur to what he had read, as he hastened up the
street leading to the Malcomb residence.

   He knew how quick is the public to seize on anything
suggestive or sensational, and the fear that suspicion might
point its dark finger at Daisy Malcomb in that terrible way,
filled him with the liveliest fears.

   He was troubled, too, lest the inspector should refuse
him his request.  He knew that if another were detailed to
take hold of this already baffling case, that one of the
first things done would be the arrest of Daisy.

   His pulses were bounding as he walked up the flagged path
and rung the door bell.  A servant came, to whom Clingstone
stated his desire to see the young lady of the house.

   It was like receiving a blow in the face, when the
servant, who knew him well, refused him entrance, saying
that Miss Daisy had given strict orders that she was not to
be disturbed.

   "Then she knows of the----"

   "She knows of the death of her father, yes, sir, if that
is what you were going to say!  News of it was brought to
her some time ago.  She is in her room, now, and absolutely
refuses to see any one.

   "Will you not mention my name to her?  Perhaps she 

   The servant, who was of the supercilious kind, drew back
at this, and closed the door in Clingstone's face.

   Charlie choked down his wrath and his great grief, and
walked thoughtfully back to the street.

   He found the coroner ready for business, when he again
sought the office.  One or two unimportant witnesses had
already been examined, and the janitor was now undergoing
the process of telling all he knew, in response to
innumerable questions.

   The coroner scribbled something on a blank and gave it to
an officer, when the janitor told of Daisy Malcomb's visit
to the office, and Chicago Charlie groaningly recognized the
disagreeable fact that she was to be summoned as a witness.

   The body of John Malcomb had been removed, but the
suggestive blood stains were still visible. 

   Clingstone, sitting where he could accomplish it without
much observation, pushed a rug across the blood marks with
his foot.

   Selwyn Fisher, looking shakier and paler than ever, was
next asked to make a formal statement of what he knew.

   There was only one point in the Englishman's testimony
that surprised the pained officer, and that may be given in
Fisher's words:

  "Yes, sir; I was 'ere hin the office with John Malcomb
last night, hand we 'ad a little game hof cards together;
not for much money, you hunderstand, but just to pass haway
the time, sir!  And Malcomb finally got hangry with me, hand
hordered me to leave the room!"

   The coroner metaphorically pricked up his ears.

   "How was that?"

   "Well you see, sir, Hi'd been ha bantering 'im habout
that girl hof 'is, hand ha tellin' im that she was the
prettiest female hin the city, sir; hand finally Hi hoffered
to lay 'im a wager.

   "Hi hoffered to pay 'im twenty thousand dollars, sir,
hagainst the 'and hof the girl!  Hand 'e got mad hat that,
sir, hand told me to leave the place, sir, hor 'e'd shoot my
blawsted 'ead off!  Hof course Hi couldn't stand that kind
of talk from ha friend, don't you know, so I hups and takes
my 'at hand leaves!"

   Chicago Charlie wished at the moment that he might have
his fingers around the throat of the Britisher, and the
glare in his eyes would have been observable had any one
been looking at him.  All attention, however, was centered
on the Englishman.

   "And you two were alone in the office?"

   "We were, sir!"

   "About what time last evening was that?"

   "Habout nine o'clock, sir; for when Hi got down honto the
street, hit was two minutes hafter, has shown by my watch!"

   The look of suspicion with which Chicago Charlie had
before regarded Fisher deepened again in his eyes.

   He was not allowed much time to reflect on the remarkable
testimony of Fisher, when all eyes were directed to the
door, and he beheld Daisy Malcomb enter, heavily veiled, and
walking with an uncertain and quivering step.  He saw that
her form was convulsed by the agony she was silently
enduring, and his great love made him wish that he might
hurry to her assistance.  But prudence held him in his seat.

   If he was to have the management of this special
detective work, he realized that he must be cautious how he
permitted the public to see what was passing in his mind. 
He must not let his feelings sway him, for he knew not but
that some detective officer was in the room, sent by the
inspector for the purpose of watching his conduct during the

   Yet it was hard on him to permit another to place for
Daisy a chair and assist her to it.

   The coroner, probably willing to spare her all he could,
called her name immediately, and administered the usual

   Then came the customary questions, varied to suit each

   "You visited your father in his office last evening, did
you not?" queried the coroner.

   A number of seconds, during which she was evidently
trying to obtain control of her voice, elapsed before she
spoke--seconds that seemed interminably long to the
breathless, listening crowd.

   Many spectators had gathered, for the news of the murder
had already been bruited abroad; spectators from every walk
of life, almost, but chiefly belonging to the idle and half
vicious classes.  And these craned their necks and stared at
the veil which hid from view the features of the trembling

   Chicago Charlie, with heart bleeding for her, wondered if
any there thought of the Borden murder case, so strongly
impressed at that moment on his mind; and, thus wondering,
he prayed that, if such thoughts existed, they might not
prejudice the public mind against her.

   "I did not, sir!"

   The silence became more profound, as these words fell
from the lips of Daisy Malcomb.

   Recalling the evidence given by the janitor, the coroner
could scarcely credit his hearing.

   So he framed the question anew:

   "Were you not up there last evening?"

   "Yes, sir; but I did not see my father!"

   A deep sigh welled from the throng.  The sensation was
likely to be spoiled, after all!

   "Who did you meet, if any one?"

   "No one.  I was up here, first, in the afternoon, when my
father told me to return for him at eight.  It was about
nine, though, when I came, and he had already gone."

   "And you saw no one?"

   "No, sir!"

   "You did not see that man over there?" indicating the

   She lifted her veil, showing a dark, handsome face, and
glanced at Fisher, but still replied:

   "I saw no one!"

   Chicago Charlie could see that the exposed face was
pained and drawn, as was to be expected.

   "Nine o'clock, did you say?"

   "Yes, sir.  I looked at my watch, to see how much I was
behind time, and it was three or four minutes before nine

   "And no one was in the office?"

   "I think not.  The office was dark, and I did not enter!"

   Every one thought of the testimony given by the
Englishman concerning the time, and several curious glances
were bestowed on him.

   After a few further questions, Daisy was permitted to

   Chicago Charlie did not attempt to follow, feeling sure
he would be the next witness--as he was.

   He told how Fisher had summoned him from the street; of
what they had discovered, and going into the minutest
details, at the coroner's request.

   Again Fisher was called to the stand.

   "Why did you wish to see John Malcomb this morning?" was
the sharp inquiry.

   The Englishman trembled.

   "Because hof that quarrel, sir, hif hit may be called ha
quarrel.  We 'ad halways been the best hof friends, hand Hi
couldn't bear that we should be enemies, at this late day!" 
The explanation seemed sufficient.

   Then a witness was called whose testimony was to startle
Chicago Charlie out of what little composure he had left. 
This witness was the police officer he had summoned to take
charge of the room during his absence.

   He came forward and produced a bloody knife, which he
held up for the coroner's inspection.

   "You may state where you obtained that knife, Mr.

   "Yes, sir.  I found it lying in the corner over there,
just before you reached the office; and when you came in you
will remember that I showed it to you."

   Chicago Charlie looked at the corner indicated, and saw
that some papers were lying in it, under which the knife
might have lain concealed.  But he did not think it had thus
escaped his notice, for he felt he had made a close search
of the premises.  The thought that it had been placed there
since, for a purpose, came to him like a flash.

   He looked again at the knife, which the coroner was
passing around for the inspection of the jurymen; and a cold
sweat broke out on his forehead.

   He recognized the knife.  It was a small knife, but with
a long, slender and keen blade.  It was a knife he had given
to Daisy Malcomb not a month before!

   He turned aside his face for fear some one would observe
the anguish there depicted.

   He had seen that the knife-blade and handle were smeared
with blood.  Had that knife taken the life of John Malcomb? 
He would not believe it.  At least he refused to listen to
the suggestion that the owner of the knife had dealt the
fatal blow.  That was too preposterous, too horrible, for
belief.  No one but an insane man would harbor it for a

   The terror that possessed him during the next few minutes
can scarcely be realized.  He felt that he ought, as an
officer of the law, to tell what he knew concerning the
weapon.  Yet he shook, clinging almost blindly to his chair,
in the great fear that he might be called up and asked some
further questions.

   He could not reveal that!  It would be supreme folly, he
thought, to give out that information, until he had made an

   His feeling of gratitude was intense, when he observed he
was not to be called.  The policeman had turned the knife
over to the coroner, and the jurymen were deliberating.

   How he listened for the result of their discussion!

   It came at last: A general verdict of murder, by some
person or persons unknown.

   Daisy was safe for the present; and the great work of
Chicago Charlie's life had commenced; for he was resolved to
run down this mystery, even if he had to resign his position
to enable him to do it.

   Henceforth, he was Chicago Charlie, the detective, and he
was destined to prove he was not unworthy of that title.

                  CHAPTER IV.

                "WHO WAS SHE?"

AS SOON as he felt at liberty to leave the room, Chicago
Charlie slipped out, and hastened once more to the Malcomb

   It was a pleasantly-situated house, with neatly-kept
walks and trees, and the sun that morning was flooding it
with light.  Yet there was about it an air of marked and
suggestive stillness.  The presence of death brooded there,
which not even the flooding sunshine could drive away.

   There was crape on the door, and a glance at the curtains
of the windows of one of the lower rooms told that the body
of John Malcomb was reposing within, robed for the grave. 
Chicago Charlie would have known this, without any such
evidence, for the carriage of an undertaker was drawn up at
the curb.

   His pull at the bell was answered by the servant who had
previously sent him away.

   Resolved not to be balked this time, the young detective
pushed past the man and into the house.

   "You will take this card to Miss Daisy Malcomb!" he
commanded, frowning at the man, who had followed.  "I am
sure she will see me!  If not, tell her it is important!"

   The man looked doubtfully at the card, hesitating as if
he thought of refusing, then disappeared with it, leaving
Chicago Charlie to await his return.

   He was back, though, in a remarkably short time, and led
the way to a little room on the second floor, where the
detective found the girl, sitting disconsolately at a
window, a servant having just left her side.

   Taking this as a good omen, Chicago Charlie advanced

   She arose, sobbingly, to greet him.

   Without a word he drew her away from the window, and
folded her in his arms, as if he would by that act shield
her from all harm.

   "My dear Daisy!  How you must suffer!  I came two hours
or more ago, but you would not see me; and now I have come
again.  You will let me assist you? comfort you? do
something for you?"

   There was entreaty in the tones.

   "I did not know you had called!" she asserted, a light
flash of pleasure suffusing her pallid cheeks, where were
many traces of tears.  "I supposed the servant would admit
you, even though I had given orders that I was not to be

   His arms tightened about her.  Then he conducted her to a
chair and drew one close up at her side, kissing her as he
did so.

   She began to sob, showing all the bitterness of her fresh

   "It is terrible!" he confessed.  "But you must endeavor
to remain calm!"

   "The manner of his death is what hurts so!" she averred,
between the shaking sobs.  "That my father should be killed
in that cruel manner!  It is dreadful!  Dreadful!  And he
was so kind to me, and so good; and he loved me so!  Oh!  I
don't know what I shall do!  I feel at times as if I was
losing my mind!"

   The anguish on the young officer's face was painful to
see.  Yet, before this outburst of grief, he was silent. 
Words failed him.  He knew not what to do or say;-realizing
how weak and impotent are mere words at such a time.

   "You must not distress yourself so!" he pleaded.  "I know
it is dreadful!  But tears can do no good, now!"

   He took her trembling hands in his, and was startled at
their feverishness.

   "You are making yourself ill!" he urged.  "Perhaps you
need a physician more than anything else.  Your palms are
burning hot!"

   "No!  No!  I am not sick!"

   But when she looked up, he observed that while her cheeks
were pale, her eyes were feverishly bright.

   "What did they learn at the--the trial?" she questioned.

   It was the point to which he would have directed speech,
had he known how.

   "I wanted to talk to you about that!" he averred.  "I
think I will be assigned to look into this case, for I have
resolved to ferret it out and find the--the murderer!  I
have already applied to the inspector for the assignment."

   Her glance showed her gratitude.

   "The man must be found and punished!" she declared, with
unexpected sternness.  "I can never rest until that is

   "Nor I!" his pulse quickening.  "But the murderer was not
a man.  The crime was by a woman!"

   "By a woman?"

   Her voice shook with horror.

   "Surely you must be mistaken!  That seems incredible!  No
woman could be guilty of such a thing!"

   "I have good reasons for thinking otherwise!" and he
clasped the hands yet more firmly.  "I distinctly saw a
woman's tracks in the dust on the floor, and the print of a
woman's fingers on the table at which your father must have
been sitting when the fatal blow was given.  I am sure the
murderer was a woman.  You say you were not in the office
last night; those tracks and marks were made last night; and
some woman made them.  If I could lay my hands on her, I am
sure I should have the guilty one!"

   She shuddered, involuntarily.

   Chicago Charlie was thinking of the knife, but he thought
it best to withhold that information for the time.

   "How can you tell when the marks were made?" she queried,
her curiosity quickened.

   "By their general appearance!  If very old--much more
than twelve hours old--they would not have been so distinct. 
Yet they were not sufficiently fresh and clear to have been
made this morning.  It is not likely any one would venture
on a deed of that kind in broad daylight.  Therefore, they
must have been made last night!"

   He looked at her thoughtfully for a moment.

   "What I wanted to ask you is this: Has any strange woman
called on you lately, or been in the house?"

   She started as if stung.

   "Why, it could not be!  Yes, a woman was here last
evening!  Her coming was what kept me from visiting the
office promptly, as I promised father I would!"

   Chicago Charlie's breath came quick and fast, like that
of a hound scenting a trail.

   "Who was that woman?"

   "I cannot tell you who she was!  She was dark--very 
dark--and wore a heavy veil.  Her eyes were as black as
night, and so was her hair.  She wanted me to let her tell
my fortune, and--I foolishly consented.  You do not think
that she--that that could have brought about--that my delay
here could have caused father's death?"

   Her eyes were filled with remorse and horror.

   Even faster came the detective's breath and louder
thumped his heart.  Here was information worth having!  He
felt sure that this dark-eyed fortune-teller had not come
there simply to tell fortunes.  She had come to get a weapon
with which to commit that foul crime;--a weapon from
Malcomb's own house, so that the crime might be laid at the
door of another!  At the door of Malcomb's daughter!  The
mystery of the Borden murder had evidently not only
suggested itself to him; it had suggested itself to this
murderess, who had acted on it.

   In vain he sought to recall the face of some well-known
adventuress or desperate woman who might have committed
the crime.

   "Describe her minutely!" he requested.

   "I do not know that I can, any more than I have already."

   "Was she young or old?"

   "Young!  I should say not more than twenty.  Surely a
girl of that age could not do that!"


   "Rather pretty.  Her cheeks and lips were red and plump,
and she had a good form."

   "How was she dressed?"

   "In an ordinary dark dress.  I did not notice her
clothing closely, for she had on a dark shawl."

   "I will find her," he declared, "if she remains in the
city!  And I don't think she can escape me, even should she
leave.  She is the woman that killed your father.  I feel
sure of it!"

   Having obtained this information, he was anxious to hurry
at once with it to the inspector.  The description tallied
with the footprints and marks found in the office, and he
did not doubt that the inspector would see that this was the
murderess, and not Malcomb's daughter.  It explained
everything.  The finding of the bloody knife, and all.  Yet
he could not refrain from secretly cursing himself for
overlooking so important a thing in his search as that

   Notwithstanding his desire to hasten away, he lingered
for many long minutes, and had the satisfaction, as he left
the residence, of knowing that Miss Daisy Malcomb was in
much better frame of mind than when he came.  And, most
important of all, he had gained the clue needed to begin his

(End of the second instalment)
(Prepared by Virginia Conn)

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