Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
Go to Home Page
This work is out of copyright in countries with a copyright
period of 70 years or less, after the year of the author's death.
If it is under copyright in your country of residence,
do not download or redistribute this file.
Original content added by RGL (e.g., introductions, notes,
RGL covers) is proprietary and protected by copyright.


EMILE C. TEPPERMAN

THE CORPSE TAKES A CURTAIN CALL

Cover Image

RGL e-Book Cover


Ex Libris

First published in The Spider magazine, May 1938

This e-book edition: Roy Glashan's Library, 2020
Version date: 2020-10-01
Produced by Matthias Kaether and Roy Glashan

All content added by RGL is proprietary and protected by copyright.

Click here for more books by this author



The Spider, May 1938, with "The Corpse Takes a Curtain Call"



As the Masked Marksman, on the stage, Ed Race had been called upon to perform miracles with his .45's—but none as hair-raising as the time, in real life, when he faced a killer who blasted men into eternity before he had even fired a shot!




THE doorman at the Clareton Hotel greeted Ed Race warmly, as an old patron. Ed let him take his bags out of the cab, paid off the driver and turned to enter the hotel. Then abruptly he stopped, body tautening, lips thinning into a tight line. The long powerful fingers of his right hand hovered up near his necktie where they would be within swift reach of one of the two heavy .45's which he carried in twin shoulder holsters.

His narrowed eyes met the faintly mocking gaze of Duke Sundelius, who was just emerging from the Clareton, followed by "Sonny" Conwell, his bodyguard.

Sundelius threw a quick order over his shoulder at Conwell. "Take it easy, Sonny!" Then he faced Ed Race and said banteringly, "Too bad you had to come back to New York, Race. The air in Florida is much healthier for you right now."

Sundelius had a thin face in which were set a pair of high narrow eyes that almost never blinked. Men swore they had watched Sundelius over the baccarat table at the Sundelius Club, and that the man had sat there for hours without blinking. Men told many other stories about Sundelius, but most of them were in whispers.

Ed Race met the gambler's gaze, and said steadily, "You know why I came back, Sundelius. I'm going to testify at Sonny's trial tomorrow. I'm going to testify before a jury, that I saw Sonny run down Julius Opperman that day, and that it wasn't an accident—but was deliberate!"

Ed swung his eyes to meet the cold glare of Sonny Conwell, who had moved up alongside of Duke Sundelius. "Your boss was pretty smart, Sonny, to get the charge against you reduced to manslaughter, so you could get out on bail. If you'd take my advice, though, you'd lam. Because when I finish testifying tomorrow, you'll fry!"

Sonny Conwell uttered an obscene snarl, and started his hand toward his shoulder. But Sundelius' sharp voice stopped him. "Lay off, you fool! Do you think you can beat Race with a gun?"

Conwell grunted, and lowered his hand. His eyes still locked with Ed's. "I'd like to smack a hunk of lead through that mouth of yours!" he spat out. "Why don't you mind your own business? Who asked you to tell the cops what you saw? I thought you was a right guy!"

Ed said tightly, "That was murder, Conwell. Opperman tried to dodge you, and you swerved so as to hit him. You stepped on the gas instead of braking. Opperman was no criminal. He was only a poor fool who lost a lot of money at your boss's club, and couldn't pay up. It's always been Sundelius' way to do his killings openly, but in such a way that they couldn't be called murder. Well, this is one time when your boss and you slipped. I saw it, and I'm not afraid to talk. I'm going to see that you get the chair tomorrow, and I hope you talk before they give you the juice, and incriminate your boss!"

Conwell choked back an oath, and Sundelius smiled grimly. "Don't be too sure of yourself, Race. The trial isn't till tomorrow. I hope you stay healthy till then!"

He jerked his head at Conwell, and the two of them strode west toward Broadway.

Ed heard the taxi driver behind him expel a long breath. "Gosh, mister, you sure tangled with a tough one. I thought for a minute they was going to start blasting—and me right behind you!"

"I wish they had started blasting!" Ed said grimly. He strode across toward the hotel, and passed through the revolving door into the lobby.


HIS eyes had become speculative. Duke Sundelius hadn't been here at the Clareton by accident, just at the time of Ed's arrival. There must be a deep and calculated reason for it. Sundelius wouldn't be fool enough to appear here if he had planned to have one of his gunmen make an attempt on Ed's life. Besides that wasn't the Duke's way. There was no doubt that he was planning some deadly sort of trick to prevent Ed Race from testifying tomorrow—but it would take a more subtle form than the coarse shootings of the average gangster. Duke's methods had always been the envy of the underworld. And Duke Sundelius had his back to the wall now, for he knew that Sonny Conwell would certainly talk if he went to the electric chair.

Absently, Ed picked up the pen and signed the register at the desk. The clerk said, "Your room is reserved for you, Mr. Race. Eleven-seventeen—the same you had last time."

Ed thanked him, and turned away to find dour old Inspector MacSpain at his elbow.

MacSpain was a good deal past fifty, but there was no fat on him, and he was almost as tall as Ed. His pearl-grey fedora did not conceal the whiteness of his hair. But his cheeks were ruddy, his mouth and chin firm, and there was a steely glint in his eyes which showed he had lost none of the deadly efficiency which had brought him his present job.

He smiled bleakly, and said, "How are you, Ed? I've been waiting for you. I want to make sure nothing happens to you between tonight and tomorrow."

Ed grinned. "It's refreshing to have a cold-blooded eel like you worried about my health, Mac."

MacSpain took his arm. "I'd be worried even if you weren't the star witness at Conwell's trial, Ed. I've known you since the day when I got the Broadway assignment as a first-grade detective. You've done me real favors more than once. In a way, I'm sorry that it has to be you that gets Sundelius down on him."

Ed Race shrugged. "Don't feel too bad about it, Mac. I've been able to take care of myself for a long time now."

"I know that—and Sundelius knows it too. That's why I'm afraid he'll rig some special and infernal trick up for you," MacSpain agreed. "I'm going up to your room with you, Ed. I'll stick with you all evening—that is, if you don't mind my company."

"You won't be much company," Ed told him sourly, "if you're on duty. I want a couple of drinks."

MacSpain smiled. "I'm officially off duty tonight. This is on my own time."

"Good!" Ed exclaimed. "I'll go up, take a shower and change, and then we'll go down to the bar. What do you say?"

"Right. But I'm going up with you while you do it." MacSpain's visage suddenly became grim. "Ed, it's the first chance in ten years that I've had of getting the goods on Sundelius. That man has killed indiscriminately, and he's terrorized people and flouted the law." The inspector's eyes were hard and bleak. "I don't want to mess up this time. If Sonny Conwell is convicted of murder, he'll open up—then we'll have a chance to rid the town of the crookedest, rottenest gambler we've ever had!"

Ed Race nodded sympathetically. He knew that Inspector MacSpain was one of those policemen who took their jobs with the utmost seriousness, wholeheartedly devoted to the performance of duty. He also agreed with MacSpain that the city needed to be rid of Sundelius.

They started toward the elevator together, and just then a bellhop came through the lobby calling, "Telephone for Inspector MacSpain! Inspector MacSpain!"

The inspector frowned. "I'll get that down here, Ed. Meet you in your room—eleven-seventeen, isn't it? Be careful—watch yourself till I get up."


ED got in the elevator with the bellboy who was carrying his luggage, and they rode to the eleventh floor. His room, which he usually occupied when in New York, faced southwest with a view of the entire Empire State building and of the upper bay, as well as of the Jersey shore across the river. It was fairly large, with private bath and shower, and Ed got a special rate on it because he was in the theatrical game.

On the vaudeville stage, Ed Race was one of the headline numbers of the Partages Circuit. He appeared as "The Masked Marksman—the Man who can Make Guns Talk." His act consisted of a series of almost miraculous juggling acts; with this difference from the usual act of that kind—he used six heavy .45 caliber hair-trigger revolvers instead of dumb-bells. In juggling those guns, he performed feats of marksmanship which invariably left his audience breathless. The finale, which always evoked thunderous applause, was a routine wherein he did a back somersault while all the guns were in the air—then, catching them as they came down, he fired each in turn, extinguishing the flames of a row of candles thirty feet across the stage.

It had come to be an aphorism on Broadway, that when Ed Race missed one of those candles the end of the world would arrive. Carnarvon, the well-known betting commissioner had turned down odds of fifteen to one that Ed would miss on any given night.

But all this was Ed Race's business. He was used to the applause and to the extremely large salary he drew each week from the Partages Circuit. His nervous energy craved some other outlet besides that of the stage, and he had chosen an avocation which gave him that outlet—the avocation of criminology. He dabbled in crime as other men played the races or collected stamps. He held licenses to operate as a private detective in a dozen states, and the underworld had just cause to fear him and the two .45's that he always carried.

Many attempts had been made upon his life in the past, and he expected that there would be other attempts in the future. But he knew very well that at this time he had never had a more deadly enemy than Duke Sundelius.

Now he was careful to throw his quick glance over every part of the room as he entered it with the bellhop. The boy opened a window, and Ed gave him his tip.

"Who has the room next to this?" he asked.

"It's a guy I took up, sir," the boy told him. "A young fellow named Linton—Frank Linton. That's all I know about him, sir, except that he's had a couple of men call to see him today. I brought drinks up twice."

Ed nodded, and the bellboy left. Ed stood for a moment, inspecting the room. The door of the bathroom was partly open, and he could see into it. He removed his coat, put it in the closet, and started to take off the harness of his two shoulder holsters, with their heavy revolvers.

Then he stopped, taut, every nerve alert. He had distinctly caught a low sound from the bathroom.

Carefully, making no noise on the thick rug, he moved over alongside the bathroom door. Effortlessly, without even thinking, one of the .45's came into his hand.

He remembered clearly that he had looked into the bathroom, and had seen no one there. His mind ran swiftly over the picture of the bathroom, and suddenly he smiled tightly. For he recalled that the shower sheet had been drawn across the front of the stand-up shower. Some one was behind that sheet!

If Sundelius had planted some one there to kill him, it was a crude thing to do. The killer would find it hard to escape from the hotel—especially with MacSpain on the way up.

MacSpain! Something clicked in Race's brain. That telephone call in the lobby had been timed too perfectly to be a coincidence—just the right moment to keep the inspector from coming up with him. The whole thing began to have the earmarks of a genuine Sundelius job.


ED moved around in front of the bathroom doorway, with his gun ready. He kept his eyes glued to that shower sheet, and saw that it was swaying almost imperceptibly. The stand-up shower was in the side wall at the right, and he had only a side view of it. But he was squarely in the doorway of the bathroom, and the killer could see him if he peered through the crack in the middle.

Ed's gun covered the shower. He'd see the killer's gun, and he could fire his hair-trigger revolver a split-instant before the other. It was all the break he required. He stepped slowly into the bathroom. The sheet kept swaying. Then suddenly he heard the same sound he had heard before—only this time he was closer and he could identify it.

Distinct, unmistakable—it was a choked sob!

Swiftly, Ed stepped forward and yanked the sheet aside, thrusting the gun in front of him. Then he uttered an ejaculation of dismay.

This was no cold-eyed killer. It was only a huddled, sobbing, auburn-haired girl, who crouched against the wall and stared up at him with wide, frightened eyes. What further amazed Ed was that this girl was dressed only in flimsy panties and brassiere. A small bundle of clothes lay on the floor of the shower beside her—dress, shoes, hat and cloth coat.

The girl was sobbing aloud now. She started to get up slowly and tremulously, wrapping her arms about her breasts, flushing as she looked down at her own nakedness.

Ed Race smiled puzzledly. "You poor kid! What's happened to you?"

She raised her eyes to his, stopped sobbing, and her lips trembled. Suddenly she broke out in a gust of words that tumbled out with the frantic speed of approaching hysteria.

"Please, mister, I had to do it!" she cried. "They would have done terrible things to Frankie, if I didn't. Don't—don't think I'm bad. I only did it because I had to. The—the man said you wanted a divorce anyway, and it wasn't any disgrace to be a correspondent. He promised that he'd let Frankie alone, if I went through with it!"

She stepped out of the shower, and pulled the sheet around her timidly, gulping for breath.

Ed stared at her, amused. "But what's this terrible thing you've done, girlie?"

"I—I haven't done it yet. But—but I'm supposed to wait till you got here, then I'm supposed to come out l-like this, without any clothes on. That's when the detectives will come in, and then y-your wife can get her d-divorce—"

She couldn't finish. She dropped the shower sheet, raised both hands to her eyes, and began to sob.

Ed's mind was working swiftly, fitting odd pieces together—MacSpain detained on the phone, Sundelius just leaving the Clareton, his sardonic glance as he walked away, with that vague threat about Ed staying healthy. But a thing like this—how could it help Sundelius? How could it prevent his testifying against Conwell? Ed Race was a bachelor. He had no wife, no one to worry if he was caught in a room with a girl. Devious, unfathomable—this was like most of the traps laid by Duke Sundelius.

Ed took her gently by the arm, picked up her clothes from the shower, and led her into the other room. "Who is making you do all this? And why do you have to do it? Who is Frankie, and what sort of trouble is he in?"

She picked up her dress, fumbling with it. "Frankie's my brother. He—he works for Smart and Smart, the jewelers. He—he's been playing the horses, and he took a couple of stones from the jewelry store and pawned them. Then some man came and told me about it, and Frankie admitted it. The man said that Frankie owed more money that he had lost at some gambling club, and that Frankie had two days to pay up. Yesterday, the man came and told me he'd forget what Frankie owes—and besides that he'd give Frankie enough money to take the stones out of pawn—provided I would do this thing."

"I see," Ed said softly. "What is your name, girlie?"

"Linton—Nellie Linton."

"And your brother would be Frank Linton?" Ed frowned.

He didn't wait for her answer. The bellhop had told him that the next room was occupied by a Frank Linton. The thing was growing quite clear in Ed's mind—diabolically clear. His eyes became bleak, hard. He gripped the girl's arm. "Never mind putting on that dress," he said. "How were you supposed to signal when you were ready for the detectives to break in?"

"By screaming," she said shakily.

"All right," Ed told her. "Now, do just as I say. Go ahead and scream—quick!"

She stared at him, open-mouthed.

"Scream, I tell you!" To hurry her up, Ed took her arm and pinched hard.

She cried out, and the scream had hardly died away when there was quick movement at the corridor door and a key grated in the lock...


THE door was pushed open and a voice out in the hall said, "Take a look, kid—and shoot fast, because he's lightning with a gun!" The door slammed violently inward, revealing a youth standing framed in the doorway. He was wild-eyed, and Ed could see that he had had several drinks too many.

Staring past the youth's shoulder, Ed caught a glimpse of a sardonic face that he recognized—Sam Myles, one of Duke Sundelius' mob. It was Myles whose voice Ed had heard urging the youth to shoot quick.

The young fellow had a gun in his hand, and stood there in the doorway, shivering with rage and hate, his hot eyes darting from the girl to Ed.

The girl uttered a cry. "Frankie! How—"

Frankie growled, never taking his eyes from Ed, "So you bring an eighteen-year-old kid up to your room!" His eyes swept back to Nellie Linton's nakedness. "My sister!" he exclaimed huskily. "This is too good for you, you rat—but take it!" His gun thrust forward.

Ed's revolver was already in his hand. He could have shot Frank Linton dead while the youth was still talking. Instead, he held his gun ready.

Linton had not taken Myles' advice literally, which showed that he was not a confirmed gunman. He should have shot without talking. Even then it was doubtful whether he could have beaten Ed to the trigger. But now he didn't have a chance.

Ed saw the lad's gun come forward, and his own finger steeled, ready to contract on the hair-trigger. But just then Nellie Linton uttered a shriek, and threw herself in front of Ed. "No, Frankie! It isn't what you think—"

Frank Linton cursed, and reached out to thrust his sister aside—and that was all Ed needed. He lunged forward with his .45. The muzzle caught Frank Linton on the side of the chin with a hard, thudding noise. The boy gasped, eyes rolling, knees wobbling. The gun fell from his fingers, and he collapsed.

That had been a ticklish lunge for Ed Race. His finger was still on the hair-trigger. He had had to slip it out and in again, behind the trigger to prevent the gun from going off and smashing Linton's face to smithereens. He didn't wait to watch Linton fall to the floor, but spring past him, reached the door in a stride and raced down the hall.

At the far end, Ed glimpsed Sammy Myles pulling open the fire- door. Myles was getting away by the stairs. He had kept young Linton in the next room, fed him liquor, then sent the boy in there to commit murder. It was clever. Ed Race would have been dead, and no one could have accused Sundelius of the murder. Myles would no doubt leave town, and the girl's story of having been induced to go through the act as a correspondent would be laughed out of court. Frank Linton would take the rap for the murder, and Conwell would go free because the main witness against him was dead...

All this flashed through Ed's mind as he saw Myles rushing through the fire exit. He snapped, "Hold it, Myles!"

The gunman realized his plan had gone wrong. He was around the edge of the fire-door, and could have made his escape. But Ed's voice, calling after him, told him that the witness against Conwell was still alive. Viciously, he poked his head and shoulder back around the edge of the door. He thrust out the black snout of an automatic squarely at Ed, who was running toward him.

Ed's eyes were narrowed to pinpoints, as they always were when he fired at minute objects in his vaudeville number. A candle at the other end of a stage is a small target. But the edge of a man's shoulder, sticking out past a steel door, is bigger than a candle. He couldn't miss.

He fired as he ran, and the reverberation of the heavy .45 thundered in the narrow hallway, drowning out the scream of Sammy Myles.

Myles disappeared behind the door, his scream breaking off in the middle. When Ed got around that fire-door, Myles lay there, with blood streaming from his smashed shoulder. He was on his back, and his whipped, suddenly frightened eyes looked up at Ed without any of his usual swagger. Myles was no longer the deadly gunman, but only a yellow, cringing cur.

Ed's lips tightened, as he holstered his gun. He turned at the sound of the clanging elevator door, to meet Inspector MacSpain who was coming out of the cage, red-faced, gun in hand.


MACSPAIN breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Ed on his own two feet. "God!" he exclaimed. "I thought that was you getting yours, Ed! That phone call was a put-up job. Some mug kept stringing me along offering to stool for me, and, when I got wise, I tried to have the call traced, and wasted time. I should have known it was a plant. What happened?"

Swiftly, Ed told him everything. "Those two kids are in the room now, Mac," he finished. "Give the boy a break. Don't take him in. I have an idea."

MacSpain bent over the moaning Myles, and picked up his automatic. "Yellow, like the rest of them!" he grunted. "That was good shooting, Ed. What's your idea?"

The elevator boy was googling at them, and several doors on the corridor had opened.

Ed said quickly, "Help me get Myles into the room. Come on, lift him up. What do we care if he bleeds to death?"

Myles yelled, as they lifted him, "Gawd, it's killing me! Get a doctor! A doctor!"

They carried him, none too gently, into the room, and placed him on the bed.

Nellie Linton was on the floor, holding her brother's head in her lap, and applying a wet handkerchief to his chin. She looked up as they brought Myles in, and said, "That's the man who made me come here."

Ed nodded with satisfaction. "Go in the next room, Mac," he said to the inspector, "and call the switchboard. Tell the operator to fix it so you can listen in on the call I'm going to make."

MacSpain glanced at him, puzzled, then shrugged. "It's your show, Ed. I'll tell Regan, the house dick, to stand at the door and not let anybody in—if you want privacy."

"You guessed it, Mac," Ed told him ominously. "I want privacy!"

Myles stirred in the bed, holding his shoulder, his hand crimson. "Gawd, what you gonna do? Why don't you get a doctor?"

MacSpain grinned sourly and went out without answering him.

Ed came over to the bed, holding his .45. He looked down dispassionately at the wounded gunman. "Sammy, do you remember a night two years ago when the police found the body of a man in an empty lot in Brooklyn? It was a man who had welched on a bet with Duke Sundelius. He'd been shot in the shoulder, and then some one had played with him for a long while. The medical examiner said that some one had kept striking his wounded shoulder many times, with a blunt instrument—till the man died. Do you remember that case, Sammy? They could never pin it on you, but it doesn't matter. It gives me an idea."

Sammy Myles' face was drained of blood, in sharp contrast to the crimson sheet upon which he lay. "Gawd! What you gonna do?"

Ed hefted the revolver, experimentally. "I'm going to try that treatment on you, Sammy. I'm going to pound that smashed shoulder of yours, with the butt of my revolver. I'm going to keep on pounding till you faint. Then I'm going to revive you, and do it all over again. I'm going to keep it up till you die. Then I'll tell the police that you tried to escape and I hit you in the scuffle. The medical examiner won't be particular about a rat like you."

Myles gasped, "No—you wouldn't do that, Race! Gawd, no!"

Ed nodded coolly. "That's what I'm going to do. And here's the first little love tap." He raised the gun.

Myles screeched. "Please—no! Don't hit me. I—know what you want. I'll—talk."

Ed smiled. "I want more than talk, Sammy. I want you to call your boss, Sundelius, and report to him. I want you to make believe that your little plan went off okay, and I want you to report like that. Well?"

Myles was sweating copiously. His eyes were fixed in terrified fascination upon the revolver which Ed swung significantly. "What about me? Do I get off easy—"

"You get off with a nice jail term," Ed told him coldly, "and a doctor to treat your wound so you won't die. But I want you to do this so that Sundelius gets the chair."

Myles opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again, and said in a whisper, "Gimme the phone..."


ED smiled, hiding his relief. He would never have been able to give Myles the harsh treatment he had promised. He handed the wounded man the phone, waited while he got Duke at the Sundelius Club. Then Ed bent close so he could hear the conversation at both ends.

Myles said, "Hello, Duke. This is me—Sammy."

"Yes?" Duke's voice was tight. "Did it go off all right?"

"Okay, boss. I fixed it so the Linton kid would barge in on Race at the right minute. I filled the kid full of liquor, and he plugged Race." Myles looked up at Ed, then added into the phone, embellishing the story, "Race plugged the kid, too. That fixes everything, and Conwell can't fry for knocking off Opperman. Sonny sure did a lousy job on Opperman, boss. He should have waited till he was sure no one saw him. But now we had to get Race knocked off—"

"Shut up, you fool!" Duke's voice raged. "Don't you realize you're talking over the phone? The wire might be tapped. I ought to have you knocked off, too—"

Duke's tirade broke off with a gasp, as Inspector MacSpain's voice, from the phone in the next room, cut in, "That's swell, Duke. This conversation is just what I wanted. We can pin murder on you now, without waiting to convict Sonny Conwell. I'll be right over for you!"

Duke Sundelius screamed hoarsely into the phone, "You damned double-crossing rat, Myles! I'll skin you alive if I have to chase you around the world!" Then suddenly he hung up.

Ed took the instrument from Myles' hand, and put it back on the night table Myles sighed wearily, and fainted. Ed turned just in time to see MacSpain, grinning, rush into the room.

The inspector was jubilant. "That cleans up Sundelius! It'll get him cold—"

"Why did you warn him on the phone?" Ed demanded. "You're giving him a chance to escape!"

MacSpain winked at him. "Do you think old Mac is that dumb, Ed?" He reached for the phone, which had just begun to ring. "That'll be for me." He picked it up, said crisply, "MacSpain speaking." He listened for a moment. "All right, Flannery," he said at length. "Call the M. E. and the morgue wagon. I'll be over in a little while."

He hung up, turned to Ed, who was listening, mystified. MacSpain rubbed his hands in satisfaction. "I took the precaution," he explained to Ed, "to post a dozen men around the Sundelius Club before I got myself hooked up with your phone. After that scare I gave Sundelius, did you hear how fast he hung up? He must have realized we would be coming for him. So he packed up all his ready cash and tried to lam out the back way, with Sonny Conwell. My men called to them to halt, but unfortunately—" MacSpain's tone became unctuous—"Sundelius and Conwell refused to surrender and attempted to run. The boys had to kill them!"

Ed Race's eyes were gleaming. "My congratulations, Inspector. It looks like your life work has been consummated!" He was attracted by the sound of sobbing from the floor in the middle of the room. It was the Linton boy and girl.

"What'll we do with these two kids?" he asked MacSpain.

Nellie came over and put a trembling hand on Ed's arm. "Y- you're not going to be hard on Frankie, are you?"

Ed shook his head. "How much was that stuff worth that you took and pawned, Frank?" he asked.

The lad raised his head, revealing bloodshot eyes. He was holding his jaw where Ed had hit him. "I—I pawned them for fifty dollars."

Ed nodded. "I see." He came over and stood above Frank Linton. "Now look, Frankie, you can talk freely, because Inspector MacSpain isn't listening." He turned and glared at the inspector.


MACSPAIN was a policeman—but even more than that. He understood the difference between vicious criminals like Sundelius, and young babes like the Lintons who are forced into crime by the wolves who prey on innocence. He knew also, that the law, unfortunately, does not make a careful distinction. Before a court, Linton could get two years, if found guilty of stealing fifty dollars worth of stones. Those two years might make the lad a confirmed criminal.

He hesitated, glanced from Ed to the girl, then to Frankie. At last, he sighed.

Ed grinned, and turned back to Linton. "There's no charge against you here," he said. "I'm not signing any complaint against you. Now here's sixty dollars. That ought to cover the interest, too. Go and get those stones out of hock, and put them back in the store. If I catch you gambling or stealing again, I'll whale the hide off you!"

Frank Linton stared up at him, unbelievingly. "You're giving me that money?" He took it fearfully, as if he were afraid that it would crumble in his fingers. "I swear to you, Mr. Race, that I'll never gamble again in my life."

Nellie Linton was crying softly. She came over and took Ed's hand, and kissed it. Ed laughed, and put his arm around her, and gave her a hug. "And don't you go being a correspondent any more, either!"


THE END


Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
Go to Home Page
This work is out of copyright in countries with a copyright
period of 70 years or less, after the year of the author's death.
If it is under copyright in your country of residence,
do not download or redistribute this file.
Original content added by RGL (e.g., introductions, notes,
RGL covers) is proprietary and protected by copyright.