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D CO L

02 9J 4 2 7 )
an

h
Copyrig t, 19 09 , by
G
. W . Dru mmu u Cou rm
T h e T h ird D egree

CH APT ER I .


M N G th at s a cinch ! The sooner I
I

. .


chuck it the better !
Caught in the sw irl of the busy city s

midday rush engu l fed in B roadw ay s swi ft moving


,

ood o f hustl ing hum anity j ostl ed uncerem oni ously


,

by th e careless indi fferent c rowd s di sc ouraged f rom


, ,

m
st e ming further th e tid e o f pushing el bowing m en ,

an d women w h o h urri ed up an d down th e great th o r

ough fare H ow ard Jeff ri es tired an d h ungry an d


, ,

thoroughly di sgusted with himsel f stood sti ll at ,

the corn er of Ful ton street cursing th e l uck w hich


,

h ad brought him to h is presen t plight .

I t w as the noon hour the important tim e o f day


,

when nature loudly cl aims h er due when business ,

aff airs no matt er how pressing m ust be t emporari ly


, ,

interrupted so that th e human machine m ay lay in


afresh store of n ervous en ergy From under the .

7
THE THIRD DEGREE
portal s o f precipitous ofce bui l dings mammoth ,

hives of h uman industry which to right an d left


,

soared dizzi ly from street to sky sw armed th ousand s,

o f empl oy ees o f both sexes cl erks sten ograph ers , ,

sh op girl s m essenger boy s all m ov ed by a c om m o n


-
, ,

impulse to satisfy without further del ay th e anim al


cravings o f their physical natures They strode .

al ong with q uick n ervous st ep each ch atting an d


, ,

laughing with h is fell ow int erest ed for th e n once


,

in th e d ay s w ork making pl an s for well earn ed



,
-

recreation w h en v e o cl ock shoul d come and th e


up t ow n st amped e f o r H arl em an d h ome begin


-
.

T h e young m an sull en ly w atched th e scene env i ,

o us o f th e en ergy an d activit y o f all about him .

Each on e in these hurry ing throngs h e thought bit ,

terly to himsel f w as a v al uabl e unit in th e prosperity


,

an d w el far e o f the big t own No m atter h ow .

h umble h is or h er positi on each pl ayed a part in


,

th e busin ess l i fe o f th e great ci ty each w as an un ,

seen unknown yet indi spensabl e cog in th e whir l


, ,

i ng compl icated mec h ani sm o f th e v ast w orl d m e


,
-

t r0 polis Intuitively h e fel t that h e w as not one o f


.

them that h e h ad no right even to consider himsel f


,

th eir equal He w as utterly useless to anybody


. .

8
THE THIRD DEGREE
He w as with out positi on or money He w as d esti
tute even o f a shred o f sel f respect H adn t h e-
.

prom i sed Anni e not to touch l i quor again before h e


f ound a j ob ? Yet h e h ad alr ead y imbibed all th e
w hi skey which th e l ittl e m oney l ef t in h is pock et

woul d buy .

I nvoluntari ly in stinctively h e sh rank back into


, ,

t h e sh adow o f a d oorw ay to let th e crowd s pass .

T h e pav ements w ere now lled to over owing an d


each m omen t n ewc om ers f rom th e sid e streets cam e

to sw ell th e h uman str eam . He tried to av oid oh


servati on ,
fearing th at some on e might rec ogn iz e

h im thinking all c oul d read on hi s face th at


,

h e w as a so t a sel f c on fessed fai l ure one o f l i fe s



-
, ,

incompetents I n h is pain ful sel f con sci ousn ess h e


.
-

bel ieved himsel f the cyn osure o f every eye and he


w inced as h e th ought h e d etected on certain fac es

s i de gl ances o f curi osity , commi ser ati on and con

t em pt .

N or w as h e al togeth er m i st ak en . M ore th an one


p a ss er
-
b y tu rn e d to l oo k in h is di r e cti on attra
,ct ed
b y h is pecul i ar appearance . His w as a type n ot
seen ev ery day in th e c omm erci al di strict th e post

g r a d uat e c o ll eg e m a n ou t a t e l bo w s H
. e w as

9
THE THIRD DEGREE
s mooth -
faced app r ntly
an d b t tw n y ve
a e a ou e t -

y ears o f age His com plexion w as fair an d h is face


.

rened I t w oul d have been hand some but for a


.

drooping irresolute mouth which d en ot ed more


, ,

th an average weakn ess o f ch aracter T h e fac e w as .

thin chalk l ike in its l ack o f colo r and deeply seamed


,
-

with th e tell t al e l in es o f di ssipati on D ark circles


-
.

und er h is eyes an d a pecul i ar w atery l ook suggested

late h our s an d over fondness for al cohol ic refresh


-

ment His cl oth es h ad the cut o f expensive tai l ors


.
,

but th ey w ere sh abby and n eed ed pressing His .

l inen w as soi l ed and h is n eckti e di sarranged His .

w h ol e appear ance w as c arel ess an d suggested th at

reck lessness of mind which comes o f general de


moral iz ati on .

Howard J eff ri es knew that h e w as a fai lure yet ,

l ike most young m en mentally weak h e insi sted ,

th at h e coul d n ot be hel d al together to bl ame .

Secret ly too h e despi sed these sober industri ous


, , ,

peopl e w h o seemed content ed with the c rumbs of


com fort thrown to them What h e wondered idly .
, ,

w as th eir secret o f getting on ? How were they able


to l ead such w ell regul at ed l ives wh en h e st arting ,

out w ith far greater advant ages had f ai l ed ? Oh


, ,

IO

h e kn ew w ell where th e troubl e lay in h is d amn

able w eakn ess o f ch aract er h is l ove for drink


,
.

Th at w as responsible for everything But w as it .

his faul t if h e w ere born weak ? Th ese peopl e w h o


beh aved themselves an d got on h e sneered were , ,

c alm commonpl ace temperaments w ho found no


,

difcul ty in controll ing their baser in stin cts They .

did right simply because they found it easi er th an


to do wrong Their vi rtue w as nothing to brag
.

about .It w as easy to be good when not exposed


to t emptati on But for th ose bo rn with th e d evil in
.
,

th em it cam e hard I t w as all a matt er o f heredity


.

and in uence On e s vi ces as w ell as one s virtues


.

are h and ed down to us read y m ad e He h ad no


.

doubt that in th e Jeff ri es fam i ly somewhere in th e


unsav ory past th er e h ad been a weak vici ous ah ,

cestor from wh om h e had inh erit ed all the t rait s

w hich barr ed h is w ay to success .

Th e crow d s o f hung ry wo rkers grew bigger


ev ery minut e Every one w as elbow ing hi s w ay
.

i nto n eighboring restaurant s crowding th e tables


,

and bu ets all eating voraci ously as th ey tal ked and


laughed How ard w as rudely remind ed by inward


.

pangs that h e too w as fami shed Not a thing had


, , .

II
THE THIRD DEGREE
passed h is l ips since he had left home in H arlem at
eight o c l ock th at m orning and h e h ad tol d Anni e

that h e woul d be home for lunch There w as no .

use stay ing downtown any l onger For th ree .

w eary hours h e h ad trudged f rom of c e to of ce

seeking empl oym ent an sweri ng adverti sement s ask


, ,

ing for w o rk o f any kind read y to do no matter


,
.

w h at but all to n o purpose


, Nobody wanted him
.

at any price Wh at w as th e good o f a m an being


.

w i ll ing to w o rk i f th ere w as n o on e to empl oy him ?

A nice l ook out c ertain ly


-
H ard ly a d ollar l eft and
.

no prospect o f getting any m ore He h ard ly h ad th e


.

courage to ret urn hom e and face Annie With a .

m utt ered excl amati on o f im pati ence he spat f rom


h is m outh the h al f con sum ed cigarette which w as
-

h angi ng f rom h is l ip and crossing B roadway


, ,

w al ked l i stl essly in th e directi on o f Park P l ac e .

He h ad c ert ain ly made a mess o f things yet at ,

one time n ot so long ago wh at a bri ll i ant fut ure


, ,

li fe seem ed to h ave in store for him ! No boy h ad


ev er been given a b etter start He remembered th e
.

day h e l eft h ome to go to Yal e ; h e rec alled h is


f ath er s kin d w ord s o f enc our agement h is m other s

,

tears Ah i f his mother had only l ived ! Then


.
, ,

12
THE THIRD DEGREE
maybe everything w ould h ave been di fferent But
, .

sh e di ed during hi s f reshman y ear carri ed off sud


'

denly by h eart fai l ure His fath er marri ed again


.
,

a young w oman tw en ty y ear s hi s j uni or an d th at h ad ,

st art ed every th ing off w r ong Th e old home l i fe .

h ad gon e forever He had fel t l ike an intruder th e


.

fi rst time h e went home an d f rom that day h is


father s roo f had been di stasteful to him
'

Yes

.
,

that w as th e begi nning of his h ard luck He coul d .

trace all h is mi sfo rtun es back to th at He coul dn t .


stan d for m oth er in law a h aughty selsh supercil


- -
, , ,

ious ambi ti ous creature w ho h ad l ittle sympathy for


,

h er pred ec esso r s chil d and no scruple in showing it



, .

Th en at college he h ad m et Robert Underw ood


, , ,

th e popul ar upper class m an w ho h ad pro fessed to


-
,

take a great fancy to him He a timid young f resh .


,

m an w as n aturally attered by the f ri end ship o f


,

th e dashing fascinat ing sophomore an d th us com


,

m enced th at un fort unate inti macy which h ad


brought about the cl imax to h istroubles T he suave .
,

am i abl e Und erw ood whom h e soon di sc over ed to


,

be a gentl emanly sc oun drel borrow ed hi s m on ey ,


and introd uced him i nto the sporty set an exc l u ,

sive ci rcle i nt o w h i ch th anks to his l iberal allow ance


,

I3
THE THIRD DEGREE
f r om home h e w as wel comed with open arm s
, .

W ith a youth o f h is procl ivities and inherent weak


n ess th e outcome w as inevitable At no time over .

fond o f study h e regard ed resid ence in coll eg e as a


,

m ost d esirable em ancipation from th e restraint o f


home l i fe Th e l ove of books he consid ered a pose
.

an d h e sco ff ed at th e m en w h o t ook their r eading

seri ously T h e univ ersity attracted him m ost ly by its


.

most undesirabl e features its sports its secret so


, ,

cieties its petty c l i ques and its rowdy i sm


, , Th e .

broad spirit an d th e dignity o f th e alma ma ter he


igno red compl etely D irect ly h e went to Yale h e
.

st art ed in to enj oy him sel f an d with th e soph isti

c ated Und erw oo d as guid e w ent to th e d evi l f ast er


,

than any m an before him in the entire hi story o f


th e universi ty .

Reading attendance at lectures became only a


, ,

c onvenient cl oak to conceal h is turpitud es Poker .

pl aying automobi le j oy rides h ard drink ing be


, ,

came th e d ai ly curriculum In town row s an d or


.

gi es of every descripti on h e w as soon a recogniz ed


l eader Scandal followed scandal unti l h e w as
.

threatened w ith expulsi on Then h is f ather heard


.

of it and th ere w as a terribl e scen e j eff r i es S n . , ,

14
THE THIRD DE GREE
w e nt immedi ately to New Haven an d there follow ed
a sto rm y intervi ew in w hich H ow ard promi sed to

reform b ut once th e parent s back w as turn ed


,

th ings w ent on pretty much as before Th ere w ere .

f resh scand al s th e smok e o f w hich reach ed as far


,

as New York This time Mr Je ries tri ed th e


. .

plan o f cutting down the money supply an d Howard


found him sel f n anci al ly embarrassed But thi s had .

n ot quit e th e eff ect d esired by th e fath er f or , ,

rendered d esperate by h is inabil ity to secure fund s


w ith w hich to c arry on h is sp rees th e y oung m an
,

st art ed in to gambl e h eavi ly giving n otes f or h is


,

losses and pocketing the ready money wh en h e


w on .

Then came th e supreme scandal w hich turned h is


f ath er s h eart to steel Sr c l d f rgi v

J
. e ries ou , o . e
,

m uch in a young man He had been young him


.

sel f once None knew better than he h ow di fficult


.

i t is when th e blood is ri ch and red to keep onesel f


in c ontrol But there w as one off ence w hich a
.

man prou d of his descent coul d not cond one He .

w oul d n ev er forgiv e the staining o f the family nam e

by a d egrading marri age Th e news came to th e


.

unh appy f ath er l ike a thunder c lap Howard prob


-
.
,

IS
THE THIRD DEGREE
e xpected to meet you in thi s how l ing wilderness ?
How s everything at Yale

The athlete grinned .


Yale be hanged ! I don t care a d You

kno w I graduat ed l ast June I m in business now .


in a broker s ofce in Wall st reet Say it s gr eat !



.
,

We had a semi panic last week Prices w ent to the


.
-
.

devil Stock s broke tw enty points You sh ould have


. .

seen th e exci tem ent on th e Ex ch ange oo r O ur .

f ootball rushes w ere noth ing to it I tell you it s .


,
'


great It s got coll ege beaten to a frazzle !
.


Q u i ck l y he ad d ed : W hat ar e yo u d o in g ?

How ard averted his eyes and hung hi s head .


Nothi ng h e an sw ered gloomi ly

. .

Coxe h ad quickly taken note of h is former class


mate s sh abby appearance He had also heard o f his

.

escapades .


D i dn t you hear ? m uttered H ow ard Row

.

w i th governo r marri age and all th at sort o f th ing


,
?


O f course he w ent on, fath er s d am nably un
,

j ust actuated by absurd prej udi ce Ann ie s a good


, .

girl and a good w i fe no matter w hat her father


,

w as.

D n it th is is a free country ! A man can
,

marry w h om he l ik es All th ese ideas about fami ly


.

I7
THE THIRD DEGREE
p rid e an d f ami ly
honor are old worl d notion s for -
,

eign to thi s so i l I m not going to give up Anni e


.

to please any on e I m as fond of her now as


.

ev er . I haven t regretted a moment th at I marri ed


h er. O f course it h as been h ard


, Father at once .

sh ut d own m on ey suppl i es m aking my f urther sta ,


y
a t Y al e impossibl e an d I w as fo rc ed to c om e to N ew
,

York to seek empl oyment We v e managed to .


x up a small at in H arlem and now l ike Micaw ,

her I m waiting for something to turn up



.
,

C oxe n odded sympathetically .


Come and have a drink h e said cheeri ly ,

.

H ow ard h esitated Once more he remembered


.

h is promi se to Anni e but as long as h e h ad brok en


,

it once h e w oul d get no credit for refusing now .

He w as horribly thirsty and d epressed An other .

drink woul d ch eer him up It seemed even wicked


.

to decl ine wh en it w oul dn t cost him anything



.

They entered a bar conveniently c l ose at hand and ,

with a tremulous hand Howard carri ed greedily


to h is l ips th e in sidi ous l i quo r which h ad under

m ined h is h eal th an d stol en aw ay his manhood .


Have another said Coxe with a smi le as h e
saw the glass em pti ed at a gulp
. .

18
THE THIRD DEGREE

I d on t care i f I
repl ied Howard S ecretly
do,

.

asha med of hi s w eakn ess h e shufed uneasil y on his


,

feet .


Wel l what are you going to do old man ? de
, ,

m an ded Coxe as h e push ed the whi sk ey bottl e over .


I m looking for a job stam mered H oward

,


awkw ard ly H astily h e went on : It i sn t so

.

If it w as only mysel f I w oul dn t mind Id


easy . .

ge t a l ong som e h ow Bu t the r e s th


. e l ittl e gi rl Sh e

.

wants to go to w ork and I won t hear o f it I ,



.

coul dn t stand for that you kn ow



, .

Coxe feared a touch Awkw ardly he said :



.


I w i sh I coul d hel p you old man As it is , .
,

my ow n salary barely serves to keep m e in neck


wear Wall Street s great fun but it d oesn t pay
.

,

much ; that is not unless you pl ay the game your


,

sel f

.

How ard smi l ed feebly as h e replied :




Non sen se I w oul dn t accept hel p o f th at sort
.

I m not reduced to sol iciting charity yet I guess



.

I d prefer the river to that But if you h ear o f



.


anything k eep m e in m ind
, .

Th e athl ete mad e no respon se He w as appar .

en tly l ost in th ought wh en sudd en ly h e blurt ed out :

19
THE THIRD DEGREE

Say, J eff ri es you haven t got any money have
,

,

ou c pl t d l r
y sa y a ou e o f h ou sa n d o la s ?
Howard stared at the question er as if h e doubted
h is sanity .


T w o thousand dolla rs ! he gasped Do you .


suppose that I d be w eari ng out sh oe l eath er l ooki ng

f o r a j ob i f I h ad tw o th ousand d oll ar s ?

,

Cox e looked di sappointed as he repl ied :



Oh of course I un derstan d you haven t it on
, ,

y o u o n
, ly I th ought you m ight be abl e to rai se it

.


Why do you ask ? inqui red H ow ard h is curi
,

o sity aroused .

Coxe looked around to see i f any one w as l isten


ing Th en in a whi sper he said :
.


It s a cinch If you had d I

.
y ou a n

coul d mak e a snug l itt l e fort une Don t you under .


st and ? I n my ofce I get tips I m on the ia .


sid e .I know in advance what th e big men are


g o ing to d o W h en th.ey st art t o m o v e a c ert ai n

stoc k up I m on the j ob Understand ? If you



.
,

had I could raise as much and w e d pool ,


our capit al st arting in th e b usi es


, n s oursel ves on

a smal l scal e o f c ourse ,


If w e hit it rig ht w e m i ght
.


make a nic e i ncome .

20
THE THIRD D EGREE
How ard s mo uth w atered Certainly that w as

.

th e kind o f li fe he liked best Th e feveri sh ex


.

c itement of gamb ling the close associ ati on w ith


,

rich men the promi se of a luxurious styl e o f living


,

- all th i s appealed to h im stron gl y But wh at w as .

the use ? Where coul d he get He couldn t

g o t o hi s fa th er H e sho
. o k hi s h e ad .


I m afraid not old sport he said as they left

,

,

the salo on and he hel d out h is h and to say good



by . But I ll bear i t in mind and if things im

,

p ro v e ,I ll l
o o k y ou u p So l ong . !

Cl im b i ng w earily up th e di rty stai rs o f the ele


v ated rail road he boug ht a ticket with one o f the
,

f ew nickels rem ain ing in h is pocket an d tak i ng a ,

seat i n a no rthbound train started on hi s tri p back

to H arlem .

Th e day w as overcast rain th reatened ,


A pal l of .

mingl ed smoke and mi st hung over th e en t i re ci ty .

From the car window as th e train w ound its ser

p e n tin e co u r se in an d ou t th e m az e o f grim y of c es ,

sho ps and ten ement s everything appeared drab


, ,

di rty and squal id New York w as seen at its


.

ugl i est . En scon c ed in a cross seat h is chin l ean -


,

ing h eavily on his hand How ard gaz ed d ej ect edl y ,

21
THE THIRD DEGREE
o ut o f window T he depressing out look w as in
th e .

keeping with h is ow n state o f m ind .

How woul d th e adventure end ? Reconci l i ati on


with his father w as out o f the question Letters .

sent h om e remained without respo n se He w asn t .


surpri sed He kn ew h is pater too well to ex pect


.

that h e woul d relent so soon B esid es if th e old .


, ,

m an w ere so in fern ally pr oud h e d show him h e



,

h ad some prid e too He d drown himsel f before


.

h e d go d own on h is knees whining to be forgiv en



, .

His father w as d ead wrong anyw ay His marri ag e , .

might have been fool i sh ; Anni e might be beneath


him soci ally Sh e w as not educated and h er father
.

wasn t any better than he ought to be Sh e did



.

not t alk co rrectly h er mann ers l eft much to be de


,

sired at tim es h e w as secretly ashamed o f h er


,
.

But h er bringi ng up w as h er m isfo un e not her


faul t T h e girl hersel f w as straight as a die


. Sh e .

h ad a h eart o f gol d She w as far mo re intell igent


.
,

far more l ik ely to make him a happy hom e than


some stuck up id l e soci ety girl w h o h ad n o thought
-
,

for an ything save money dress and show , Per .

h aps if h e h ad been l ess honorable and not married


h er h is father w oul d h av e thought more high ly
,

22
THE THIRD DEGREE
of him . ruined th e gi rl no doubt he w oul d
If h e d

h ave been wel comed home with open arms Pshaw ! .

He might be a poo r w eak fool but thank God


, , , ,

they coul dn t reproach him with that An n ie h ad



.

been loyal to him th roughout He d sti ck to h er .


through thick and thin .

A s th e trai n sw ept round the curve at 5 3 d Street


and start ed on its l o ng straight run up th e W
, est

Si de hi s mind revert ed to Robert Underw ood


, .

He had seen h is old associate only once sinc e l eav


i ng college He ran across him one d ay on Fi fth
.

Aven ue Underwood w as coming out o f a curio


.

shop . He explained hurr i edl y that h e h ad l eft


Yale and when asked about his future plans talked '

vaguely o f go ing in for art His mann er w as f rigid


.

and n ervous th e attitud e of th e m an w h o fears he

m ay be approac h ed for a small loan He w as .

evi dentl y w ell aware o f th e ch ange i n h is old asso

ciate s fortunes and having squeez ed all he coul d


out o f him had n o furth er use for h i m


, I t w as .

on ly w hen h e h ad disa ar d th at H w ard su d


pp e e o

denly remem bered a loan of $2 5 6 w hi ch Underw ood


h ad nev er repaid Som e time later How ard l earned
.

that h e occupi ed apartm en ts at th e ex cl usive and

23
THE THIRD DEGREE
to think of it perhaps it w as true Possibly he
,
.

w as a subj ect Anyw ay he w as glad to be rid of


.

Underwood and h is uncanny in uence .

Th e train st opped with a j erk at h is station and


H oward rod e d own in th e elev ato r to th e street .

C rossing E ighth Avenue h e w as going straight ,

home when suddenly he halted T he gl itter and .

tempting array of bottles i n a corn er sal oon window


tempted him He suddenly felt th at i f there w as one
.

thing he needed in the worl d abov e all others it w as


an oth er drink True h e h ad h ad more th an en ough
.
,

al ready. But that w as Coxe s faul t He had i n


.

vited him an d m ad e him drink There coul dn t be .


any harm in taking an other He might as w ell be


.

hanged for a sh eep as a lamb By the time h e .

em erged f rom th e sal oon h is speech w as thick and

h is step uncertain A few minut es l ater h e w as


.

pain fully cl imbing up th e rickety stairs o f a cheap


l ooking at house As h e reached th e top oor
.

a cheerf ul v oi ce c al l ed out :

Is th at you H ow ard dear ?
, ,
THE THIRD DEGREE

CH APT ER II .

YOU N G woman hurried out o f one of the


apartment s to greet H ow ard Sh e w as a
.

vivac i ous brunette o f medi um height intel ,

ligent l ooking w ith good features an d n e teeth


, .

It w as not a d oll face but the fac e o f a woman


,

w h o h ad exper ienc ed early the h ard kno cks of th e

w orl d yet in whom adversity h ad not succeeded in


,

w hol ly subd uing a natur all y buoy ant am i able dis


,

osition Th ere w as determ inatio n in th e li nes


p .

abov e her mouth It w as a fac e full of ch aracter


.
,

the fac e o f a w oman w ho by sheer dint of dogged

p er severa nc e m i ght accornplish a ny t ask sh e c ared


to set h ersel f A sm i le of w elcome gleam ed in her
.

eyes as sh e in q ui red eagerly :



Well dear anything doing
, ,

Howard shook h is head for all respon se and a


look o f d isappointment crossed th e young wi fe s

face .

28
THE THIRD DEGREE

Say ,that s tough ain t it ? she exclaimed

,

.

The janito r w as h ere again for the rent He says .

th ey ll serve us w ith a dispossess I told him to



.

chase h imsel f I w as that m ad



.
,

Annie s vocabulary w as emphatic rather than



,

ch oice . Ent i rely without ed ucat ion she made no ,

p re ten se at b eing wh a t sh e w as no t a nd th er ein


p er h ap s la y h er chi ef ch arm A s H o w ar d st oo pe d .

to ki ss her sh e said reproach fully :


,


You ve been drinking again Howard You

, .

p ro m i se d m e y o u w o u l dn t
.

.The young man made no reply W i th an impa .

tient gesture he passed on into th e at and ung

h imsel f d own in a chair in the dining room From .

the ad j oin ing kitchen came a w elcome odor o f



D inner ready he demanded .

I m devilish


dear j ust a minute replied his wi fe f rom
Yes , , ,

Th ere s some ni ce I rish stew j ust



the kitchen

.
,


w hat you like .

The box l ike h ole w here How ard sat aw ai ting


-

hi s meal w as th e largest room in a at w h ich



boasted o f ve and bath Th ere w as a bedroom .

29
THE THIRD DE GREE
q lly diminutive propo rtions an d a parlor with
o f e ua

w all paper so l oud th at it t al ked Th ere w as .

scarc ely enough room to swing a cat around T he .

thin walls were cracked th e rooms were carpetl ess


, .

Yet it sh ow ed th e c are o f a good housek eeper .

Floors an d window s w ere cl ean th e cover on th e ,

t abl e spotless T he furni shings w ere as meagre


.

as th ey w ere ingeni ous With their sl ender purse


.

they h ad been abl e to purchase only th e bare neces


siti es a bed a ch air or tw o a dining r oom t abl e
, ,
-
,

a few kitch en ut en si l s When they w anted to sit in


.

th e parl or th ey h ad to c arry a ch air f rom th e din

ing room ; when meal times cam e th e ch air s h ad

to t rav el back again A soap box t urn ed upside


.

down and n eatly c overed with chintz did duty as


.

a dresser in th e bedroom an d w ith a f ew ph ot o


,

graphs and tacks they h ad managed to impart an


aesth etic appearanc e to th e par l o r Thi s pl ace cost .

th e h uge sum o f $2 5 a m onth It might j ust as


.

well hav e cost $ 1 0 0 for all Howard s abi l ity to pay

it T h e past month s rent w as l ong ov erd ue and


.

th e j anit or l ooked more in sol ent ev ery day But .

they did not care They were young and l i fe w as


.

sti ll bef ore th em .

3 0
Presently An ni e c ame in carrying a steaming
di sh o f stew which she laid on th e tabl e A s she
, .


helped Howard to a pl ate full sh e said : So you
had no l uck again thi s mornin g ?

H oward w as too busy eating to answer A s h e .

gulped d ow n a h uge pi ec e o f bread h e grow l ed : ,



Noth ing as usual same old story n othi ng do
, ,

mg .
9

Anni e sighed She had been given thi s an swer


.

so o ft en that it w oul d h ave surpri sed h er to h ear

any thing el se I t m eant that th eir h ard hand to


. .
-

m outh struggl e must go on Sh e said n oth


.

ing Wh at w as the use ? It w oul d never do to


.

di scourage H ow ard She tri ed to mak e light of


.

it
.

O f course it i sn t easy I quite und erstand th at



.
,

N ever mind d ear Something w ill turn up soon


, . .

Where did you go ? Whom did you see ? Why


di dn t you let drink alone when you promi sed m e


y o u w ou l d ?

That w as Coxe s fault blurted out Howard al

,

,

w ays ready to bl ame oth ers for h is ow n sh o rtcom

You remember Coxe ! He w as at Yal e



in gs .

w hen I w as . A big fair fell ow with blue eyes He


,
.

3 1
THE THIRD DEGREE
pulled stroke in the

varsity boat race , yo u remem

ber ?

I think I repli ed h is wi fe indi ff erent ly as
do,

, ,


sh e h el ped him to m ore st ew What did he w ant ? .

What s h e d oing in N ew York ?



He s got a ne place in a broker s ofce in Wal l

S treet I felt ash amed to let him see m e low do wn


.

like thi s He sai d th at I coul d mak e a good deal


.

o f mon ey i f on ly I h ad a l itt le c apit al He kno w s .

ev erything goin g on in Wall S treet If I w ent in .

with him I d be on Easy Street


.


How much woul d it r equire ?


Tw o thousand dollar s

.

T h e young wi fe gave a sigh as sh e an sw ered :

I m af raid th at s a day dream Only your



.

father co uld gi ve you such an amount and you

w oul dn t go to h im w o uld you ?



,


Not i f w e h adn t another crust in the house

,


snapped H ow ard sav agely You don t w ant me

.


to do you ? h e ask ed looking up at h er quickly
, .


No dear

,sh e answ ered c alm ly
,

I hav e cer .

tainly no wi sh that you sh ould h umbl e yourself .

At th e same time I am no t selsh enough to w an t


to st and in th e w ay of your future Your father .

3 2
THE THIRD DEGREE
an d s et pm other hate m e I kn ow that I am the
,
.

cause o f your separation from your folk s No .

d oubt your fath er woul d be very w ill ing to help you



i f you w ould con sent to leave me .

How ard laughed as h e repl i ed :



Well if that s th e price for the
,

I guess
I ll go w ithout it I w oul dn t gi ve you up for a

.

mi llion tim es
Anni e stretched her h and across the table .


Really she said

, .

You kn ow I w oul dn t Anni e h e said earn estl y



.
,

Not one second hav e I ever regretted marrying

y ou th at s h

o n est to God !

A faint ush o f pleasure l it up th e young wi fe s

f ac e .For all h er assum ed l ighth eartedness sh e


w as bad ly in n eed o f thi s reassurance If sh e .

thought How ard nouri shed secret regret s it woul d


break h er heart She coul d stand anyt hing an y
.
,

hardship but not that She w oul d l eave him at


, .

In a w ay sh e hel d herself respon sible for h is pres


ent predicament Sh e h ad felt a deep sen se o f gui l t
.

ev er sin ce th at aft ern oo n in N ew Hav en when ,

li stening to How ard s importuniti es and obeying an


33
THE THIRD DEGREE
time in l i fe seem ed with in reach and she had
h er

not th e m or al c ourag e to say No .

If Ann i e h ad n o ed ucati on sh e w as not w ith out

brain s Sh e h ad sen se enough to realiz e that h er


.

bringing up or the l ack of it w as an unsurmountable


barri er to her ever being admitted to th e inner
ci rcl e o f Howard s fami ly If her husband s

.

fath er h ad not marri ed again th e breach might


h av e been cro ssed in time but h is new w i fe w as
,

a promin ent member o f th e smart set a w oman full ,

of ari stocratic n oti on s w h o reco i l ed with ho rro r at

having anyt hing to do with a girl gui l ty o f the


en ormity o f earning h er ow n l iving Indivi dual.

m erit inh eren t n obili ty o f character ami abi l ity o f


, ,

di spositi on an d a person al reputation untouched by


,

scand al all thi s w ent for n othing bec ause un ac


compani ed by w eal th or soci al position Annie h ad .

n eith er w eal th or positi on She had not even edu


.

cation Th ey considered her common im possible


.
,
.

They w ere ev en ready to l end an ear to certain


ugly stories regarding h er past non e o f which w ere
,

true After their m arri age Mr Jeff ri es Sr and


.
, . ,
.
,

h is w i fe abso lutel y refused to receive h er or have

any c ommunicati on w ith h er what soever As long .


,

35
THE THIRD DEGREE
th erefore as How ard remained faith ful to her the
, ,

breach with h is family could never be healed .


Have some more stew dear she sai d extending, , ,

h er hand for her husband s plate



.

How ard shook his head and threw dow n his kni fe


n gh
I ve had e ou ,

he said despond ently .

I

h aven t much appeti te

.


Poor boy, you re ti red out l

A s she noted how pale and dej ected he appeared ,

her eyes lled with sym pathetic t ears Sh e fo rgot .

the appall i ng number o f cigarettes h e smoked a

day nor did she reali z e h ow abuse o f alcohol h ad


,

spoi led h is stom ach for so l id food .


I wi sh I knew where to go and get that
m utt ered H ow ard h is mind st ill preoccupi ed with
,

Coxe s proposition Lighting another cigarette he



.
,

leaned back in his chai r and lapsed into si l ence .

Annie sat an d watched him wi shing she could ,

suggest some w ay to solv e th e probl em th at troubl ed

him She loved her h usband wi th all her heart and


.

soul .His very w eakness o f ch aract er en deared him


the more to her She w as not bl ind to h is f aults but
.
,

3 6
THE THIRD DEGREE
she e xc used them His vices h is drinking cigarette
. , ,

smoking and gen eral shi f tl essn ess w ere sh e argued , ,

the resul t of bad associ ates He w as sel f in dulgent


.
-
.

He made good resolutions and b roke them Bat h e .

w as not really vici ous He had a good heart


. .

With some one to w atch h im and keep h im i n the


straigh t path he w oul d still give a go od ac coun t o f
,

himsel f to the w orl d She w as con dent o f that


. .

She recogni zed man y excellent qualities in him .

They only w an ted fostering and bringing out .

Th at w as w hy she m arried him She w as a few .

years his sen io r ; she felt that sh e w as the stronger


mentally She consid ered it w as her duty to de
.

vot e h er l i fe to h im to protect him from h imx l f


,

and m ake a man of him .

I t w as not her faul t she mused if she w ere


, ,

not a l ady . Literally brought up in the gutter ,

w hat adv antages h ad she h ad ? Her moth er di ed in


childbirth and her father a professi on al gambl er
, ,

abandon ed the l ittl e gi rl to th e tend er mercies of

an indi fferent n eighbor When she w as about


.

eight years old h er f ath er w as arrested He re .

fused to pay pol ice bl ackm ai l w as indicted rai l


, ,

roaded to pri son and di ed soon after in convict


37
THE THIRD DEGREE
stripes . There w as n o provi si on fo r Annie s m ain

ten an ce so at th e age o f nin e sh e found h ersel f


,

t oi l ing in a factory a helpless victim o f th e brutaliz


,

ing system o f chi l d slavery which in spit e o f pro


h ibiting l aw s sti ll dn races th e Uni ted St ates Ev er .

sinc e th at tim e sh e h ad earn ed h er ow n l iving T he .

road h ad o ften been hard there w ere times when she


,

thought she woul d have to gi ve up the ght other ,

girl s sh e h ad m et h ad hinted at an easi er w ay o f


earning on e s l iving but sh e h ad k ept h er c ourage

, ,

refused to l i sten to evi l coun sel and alw ays m an aged


to keep h er nam e un sull i ed Sh e l eft th e factory
.

to w ork behind th e count er in a New Yo rk dry

g o o d s sto re Th e n a
.bou t a y ea r ag o sh e dri ft ed
to N ew H aven an d t ook th e po siti on o f w aitress

at th e rest aurant which th e c oll ege boy s patroniz ed .

Robert Underwood w as among the students w ho


came almost ev ery day He made l ove to h er f rom
.

th e start and on e day att empt ed l iberti es which


,

sh e w as prompt to resent in a w ay h e did n ot rel

ish . A fter that h e let h er al one Sh e never l iked .

the m an .Sh e kn ew him to be unprincipled as w ell


as vicious O ne night h e brought How ard J effri es
.

to the rest aurant They seemed th e c losest o f


.

3 8
croni es an d sh e w as so rry to see what bad in uence
th e el d er sopohomo re h ad over th e y oung f reshman ,

to w h om sh e w as at once attract ed E very tim e


.

they came sh e w atched them and sh e noticed h ow


und er h is m en to r H ow ard became m ore h ard en ed .

He drank mo re an d more and became a reckless


gambler Underw ood seemed to exerci se a baneful
.

spell over him . Sh e saw th at h e w oul d soon be


ruin ed with such a man as Underw ood for a con
stant c ompani on Her interest in th e young student
.

grew They bec ame acquainted and H oward not


.
,

real izing that sh e w as older than h e w as imme ,

diately captiv ated by h er v iv aci ous ch arm and h er


common sen se view s They s
-
. aw each oth er m o re

f requentl y an d th eir f ri end shi p grew unti l one day

How ard ask ed her to marry him .

Whi le she sometimes blamed hersel f for h aving


l i sten ed too wi ll ingly to H ow ard s pleadings sh e

,

did not al together regret the step sh e h ad taken .

I t w as most un fortunate that th ere must be thi s


rupture w ith h is fami ly yet something withi n
,

t ld
o h er th t
a sh e w as d ing God s w rk
o o

savi ng a

man s soul Without h er Howard w ould have



.
,

gone sw i ftly to ruin there w as l ittl e doubt o f that


, .

39
THE THIRD DEGREE
His aff ecti on for h er h ad partly if not wholly re , ,

d eemed him and w as k eeping him straight He h ad .

been good to her ever since th eir marri age an d


done everything to m ake h er com fortable Once .

h e t ook a po sition as guard on th e el evated road ,

but caught col d an d w as forced to g iv e it up She .

wanted to go to w ork again but h e angrily re ,

fused .That alone showed that h e w as not entirely


d evoid o f ch aracter He w as un fortunate at pres
.

en t an d they w ere poo r but by dint o f perseverance


,

h e w oul d win out and m ak e a positi on for him sel f

without h is father s help These were their darkest


day s but l ight w as ahead


, A s long as th ey l ov ed
.

each other and had th ei r h eal th wh at more w as

n ec essary ?

Say Anni e I hav e an id ea



, , sudd enl y bl urted ,

out H oward .


What is it d ear she asked h er reveries thus
, ,

abrupt ly interrupted .


I mean regarding that You know all
about th at $2 5 0 which I o nce l en t Underwood I .

n ev er g ot it bac k al tho ugh I ve been after h im many



,

times for it He s a sl ippery custo mer But und er



. .

th e ci rcumstances I th ink it s worth another deter


4o
THE THIRD DEGREE
min ed eo rt He seem s to be better xed now th an
.

h e ever w as He s l iving at the A struria makin g a



.
,

so ci al spl urge and all th at so rt o f thing He must .

h ave money I ll try to borrow th e .



fr o m
him .
,9


He certainl y appears to be prosperous repli ed

,

Anni e
1 see his n ame in the n ew spapers all the
.

time There is hardly an aff air at which h e is not


.


present .

Yes grow led How ard ; I don t see h ow h e



,

does it He trav els on h is cheek principally I


.
, ,

guess His n ame w as among those present at my


.

stepm other s musical e the oth er n ight



B itterly .

h e add ed :

That s h ow the w orl d goes Th ere is

.

no place f or me und er my fath er s roo f b ut th at



,


blackguard is w elcomed with open arms !

I thought your father w as such a proud man ,

interrupted Anni e How does he come to asso.


ci ate with peopl e l ike Underw ood



Oh pater s an old dolt ! excl aimed Howard im
,


pat iently There s no fool like an old fool O f
.

.

course he s sensible enough in business matters


,

.

He woul dn t be w here h e is to
day i f h e w eren t

.

But wh en it comes to the wom an questi on he s as


4 1
THE THIRD DEGREE
U nd erw ood ? k
He never in

sh e as ed . w as so

ciety .


No, repl i ed H ow ard w ith a grin

I t w as my .

st epm oth er w h o gave him th e entre You kn ow .

sh e w as onc e engaged to him b ut broke it o ff so sh e ,

coul d mar ry Dad He felt v ery sore over it at th e


.

tim e but after h en m arriage he w as seem ingly as


,

f ri end ly with h er as ev er to serv e h is ow n end s o f ,

course I t is simply w ond er ful what in uence h e


.

h as with h er He exerci ses over h er th e same f as


.

c ination th at h e did ov er m e at col l ege He h as so rt .

o f hypn oti zed h er I don t think it s a case o f love


.

or anything l ik e th at but h e simply h ol d s h er und er


,

h is thumb and gets her to do anything h e w ant s .

Sh e invites him to h er house introd uces h im righ t ,

an d l eft got peopl e to t ak e him up


, Everybody .

laug h s about it in soci ety Underw ood is known as .

Mrs How ard J eff ri es pet Such a thing soon get s


.

.

talked about That is the secret o f h is successful


.

career in New York A s far as I kn ow sh e s as


.
,

much in fatuated with h im as ever


.

A look o f surpri se cam e into Anni e s face To


.

thi s young woman whose one idea of matrimon y


,

w as stead fast l oy al ty to th e man w hose li fe sh e

43
THE THIRD DEGREE
h r d and w hose name she bore there w as some
s a e ,

thing repellent an d n auseating in a woman permit


ting hersel f to be talked about in that w ay .


Doesn t your fath er obj ect ? sh e asked

.


Psh aw !

l aughed Howard
He doesn t see
.

w hat s go ing on und er his very n ose



He s too .

r ou d a m a n t oo su r o f h is ow n good j udgment
p , e ,

to bel ieve fo r a mom ent th at th e w om an to whom

h e gave h is n ame w oul d be gui l ty o f th e sl ightest



indi screti on o f that kind .

Annie w as si l ent for a minute Then sh e said : .


Wh at m akes you thi nk that Underw ood woul d
let you h ave the money ?


B ecause I think h e s got it I obl iged h im on ce

.

in the same w ay mysel f I would ex pl ain to him


.

w h at I w ant it for .He wi ll see at onc e th at it is


a good thing I ll off er him a good rate of interest
.

,

an d h e might be v ery gl ad to let me h av e it An y .


h ow th ere s n o harm trying

.
,

Anni e said nothing She did not entirely approve


.

thi s id ea o f her husband try ing to borrow money


o f a man in whom h is stepm other w as so m uch in

terested . On the other h and starv ation st ared them


in th e face If How ard could get hold o f thi s $2
.
,

44
TH E THIRD DEGREE
000 and s a t rt in the brokerage business it might be
th e begi nning o f a n ew l i fe for them .



Well do as you l ike dear sh e said
,
When , ,

.

will you g o to him ?


T h e best time to c atch h im woul d be in the

evening repl ied Howard


,

.


Well th en go to night she suggested
, ,
-
, .

How ard shook h is head .



No not to night
, I d on t think I shoul d nd
.

h im in He s out every night somewhere T o


.

.

n ight th ere s an other big rec eption at my f ather s


house . He ll probably be there I think I ll w ait



.

ti ll to mo rrow night I m n early sure to catch him


-
.

at h ome th en

.

Annie rose an d began to remove th e di sh es f rom


th e t able How ard nonchalantly l ighted another
.

c igarette an d l eaving th e table took up th e evening


, ,

new spaper Sitt ing d own com fortably in a rocker


.

by the window h e blew a cloud o f bl ue smoke up in


,

th e ai r and said :

Yes that s itI ll go to m orrow night to the



,

A struria and strike Bob Underwood for that

45
THE THIRD DEGREE

CH APT ER III .

H E hand som e town house of Howard J effries ,

th e w ell kn own b ank er on Riversid e D riv e


-
, ,

w as one o f th e most striking among th e

m any imposing mi ll i onaire homes that l in e th e city s

spl endid w at er f ront H ouses there were in th e im


.

medi ate proximity which were mo re showy an d h ad


c ost more mon ey but none as compl etely sati sfying
,

f rom th e art lover s st andpoint



I t w as the home
.

o f a m an w h o st udi ed an d loved th e beauti ful fo r its

o w n sake an d not bec ause h e w anted to ast oni sh

people with wh at miracles h is money coul d work .

Occupying a large pl ot on sl ightly el ev ated ground ,

th e h ouse command ed a n e vi ew of th e broad Hud

son . D irectly opposite across th e river busy with


, ,

steam an d sai l ing craf t smi l ed th e green sl opes o f


,

N ew J ersey ; in th e purpl i sh n orth frown ed th e


j agged cl i ffs of th e preci pitous Pal i sad es .

T h e el der J eff ri es ari st ocrati c d esc end ant o f an


,

old K nickerbocker f ami ly w as proud o f h is h ome


,

and had spent l arge sum s o f mon ey in beauti f ying

4 6
THE THIRD DEGREE
it B ui lt in coloni al styl e o f pure white marble with
.

long French windows and l o fty columns supporting


a at round ed roo f
,
surround ed b y broad l awn s
, ,

wide spreading sh ad e trees and spl ashing fountains


-
,

it w as a con spicuous landmark fo r mi l es The in .

teri or w as full o f arc h itectural beauty Th e statel y


.

entranc e h all h ung w it h ancestral po rtraits w as o f


, ,

noble proportion s and a superb staircase deco rated ,

with statuary led off to tastefully d ecorated re


ception room s abov e To night th e house w as bri l
.
-

liantly ill uminated and there w as con sid erabl e ac

tiv ity at th e f ront entrance where a footman in


,

smart l i very st ood opening th e d oo rs o f th e car

riages as they d rov e up in quick successi on .

M rs J eff ri es musical es w ere al way s l argely at


.

tended because she knew th e secret o f making them


interesting Her husband s weal th and her ne
.

house enabled h er to entertain on a l iberal sc al e an d ,

sh e w as a t act fu l and dipl omatic h ost ess as w ell .

Sh e not on ly cul tivat ed th e right kind o f people


w ho were c ongeni al to each oth er b ut sh e alw ays
,

managed to have som e gu est o f special di stinction


w hom every on e w as eager to m eet Her ow n .

wide acquaintance among th e prominen t operatic ar


47
THE THIRD DEGREE
tists an d h er husband s in uenti al position in th e

w orl d o f n ance made thi s pol icy an easy w ay o f


furth ering h er soci al ambiti on s Sh e woul d al w ay s
.

invite some on e whom she coul d present as the


l i on o f th e evening O ne w eek it w oul d be a ten or
.

f rom th e opera h ouse another time a f am ous vi ol in


,

ist
. I n thi s w ay sh e managed to create a l ittle
arti stic sal on on th e l i n es o f th e fam ous pol itic al

sal on s in which th e bri ll i ant w omen o f th e eigh

teenth cent ury m oul d ed pub li c opin i on in France .

Al ici a kn ew she w as cl ev er and as sh e sto od ad

m iring hersel f in front o f a full length mirror whi le


aw aiting th e arrival o f h er guest s sh e c ongratul ated

h ersel f that sh e h ad mad e a success o f h er l i fe Sh e


.

h ad w on those things which most w om en hol d d ear


w eal th an d so ci al positi on Sh e h ad marri ed a
.

m an sh e did n ot l ove it w as t rue but other w omen


, ,

h ad d one that before h er If she h ad not


.

brought h er h usband love she at l east w as n ot


a wi fe h e n eed be ashamed o f I n h er Paquin gown
.

o f gol d c l oth with sweeping trai n an d a j ew el ed

ti ara in her h air sh e considered hersel f hand some


,

enough to g race any man s hom e



I t w as indeed
.

a beauty which sh e saw in t e mirro r


h the fac e o f a

4 8
THE THIRD DEGREE
w oman not yet thirty with the features regular an d
rened The eyes w ere large an d d ark an d th e
.

mouth and nose del icately mould ed Th e face .

seem ed ac ad emically per f ec t all but th e expressi on


,
.

She h ad a col d cal culating look and a cynic might


, ,

h av e charged h er with being heartless o f st opping at ,

no thing to gain h er ow n end s .

T o night Alici a h ad every reason to feel j ubiliant


- .

Sh e h ad secured a so cial l i on t h at all N ew York


w oul d tal k about no less a person th an D r Bern
.

stein th e c el ebrat ed psy ch ol ogi st th e o rigin at o r o f


, ,

th e theo ry of sci enti c psy ch ol ogy Everything


.

seem ed to go th e w ay sh e wi sh ed ; h er musical es

w ere th e tal k o f th e t ow n ; her husb and h ad j ust

resen ted her with the j ew el ed ti ara w hich now


p
graced her head there seem ed to be nothing in th e
w orl d th at sh e could no t en j oy .

Yet she w as not h appy an d as she gazed at the


,

face reected before her in the gl ass she w ondered


i f the wo rl d guessed how unhappy sh e w as Sh e .

knew th at by her ow n indiscretio n she w as in d anger


o f l osing all sh e h ad w on h er po sitio n in soci ety her
, ,

p l ac e in th e aff ecti on s o f h er h usb and ev eryt hing


, .

When she marri ed Mr Jeff ri es it w as w ith de


.

49
months did n ot attempt to go n ear h er Then he .

m et h er in publ ic Th ere w as a reconci l iati on He


. .

ex ert ed th e old spell ou th e marri ed w oman .

Col d and indi erent to h er husban d Al ici a found


,

i t amusing to have her old lover paying her court


and th e danger o f di sc overy only gav e th e intrigue

additi onal z est an d ch arm Sh e did not l ead U n


.

derw ood to bel ieve th at h e coul d induce her to for


g et h er d uty to Mr J.eff ri es b ut sh
, e w as f oo l i sh
enough to encou rage a dangerous intim acy She .

thought sh e w as strong enough to be able to call a


hal t w henever sh e w oul d be so di spo sed but as is ,

o ften th e case sh e o v erestimat ed h er powers T he .

intimacy grew Underwood became bol der c laim


.
,

ing and obtai n ing speci al pri vileges He soo n


.

real i zed that he h ad th e upper h and and h e t rad ed


on it . Under h er patron age h e w as invited every
w h ere . He practically li ved ou h er f ri end s He .

borrowed their money an d cheated them at cards .

His real character w as soon kn own to all but no ,

on e dared expo se him f or f ear o f off ending th e in

uen tial M rs J eff ri es


. Real izing thi s Underw ood
.
,

continued his depredati ons unti l h e became a so rt


of soci al h ighwaym an He h ad no legiti mate
.

5 1
THE THIRD DEGREE
sou rce o f income but he took a suite o f apartments
,

at th e expen sive A struria and on credit furni shed .

them so gorgeously that they became th e tal k of th e


to wn T he magazines and n ewspapers d evoted


.

c olumn s to the magnicence of their furni shings an d


th e art treasures they con tain ed . Art deal ers all
ov er the c ountry off ered him l iberal c ommi ssi on s i f

he w oul d dispose of expensiv e obj ets d art to h is


f ri end s. He entered in business relati on w ith sev


eral rm s an d soo n h is rooms becam e a v eritabl e

baz aar for art curios o f all kind s Mrs J eff ri es



. .

f ri ends paid exorbitan t pri ces for some o f th e stuff

an d Und erw ood pocketed th e money fo rgetting to


,

acco unt to the owners for th e sums th ey broug ht .

T he dealers d em and ed restitution or a settlement

and Underwood dread ing ex posu re h ad to h ust l e


, ,

around to rai se enough mo ney to make up th e de

ciency in ord er to avoid prosecuti on I n thi s w ay


.

h e l ived f rom day to day borrowing f rom Peter to


settle w ith P aul an d on one or tw o occasi ons h e
,

h ad not been asham ed to borrow from Mrs J eff ries .

lent the money more because she feared


Al i c i a
ridi cule than f rom any real d esi re to obl ige Under

5 2
THE THIRD DEGREE
wood Sh e had long since become di sgusted w ith
.

him T he man s real character w as now plain ly


.

revealed to h er He w as an adventurer littl e better


. ,

than a common crook She congratulated h ersel f


.

on h er n arrow esc ape .Suppose she had marri ed



h im th e horro r o f it ! Yet the next in stan t she
w as ll ed with con st ern ati on Sh e h ad al low ed h im
.

to become so intimat e th at it w as di fcul t to break

off with h im all at onc e Sh e realiz ed that with a


.

m an o f th at ch aracter th e inevitable must c ome .

There w oul d be a di sgraceful scandal Sh ewoul d be .

m ixed up in it h er husband s ey es w oul d be O pen ed



,

to her fol ly it might ruin h er entire l i fe


, Sh e must .

end it now o nc e f or all Sh e h ad already given


.

him to understand that their intim acy must cease .

Now h e must stop h is vi sits to h er h ouse and d esi st


f rom trapping h er f ri ends into h is m any sch emes .

Sh e had written him that mo rning forbidding h im


to come to th e h ouse thi s evening Sh e w as d on e
.

with him forever .

These thoughts were responsible for th e f row n


on th e beauti ful M rs Jeff ri es bej ewel ed brow
.

that particular Saturd ay evening Al ici a gave a .

sign an d w as drawing on h er l ong kid gl ov es befor e

53
the gl ass when suddenly a maid entered an d
,

tendered h er m i stress a note Al ici a kn ew th e .

handwriting only too w ell She tore the letter open .

an d read :

DEA R Mas Jarr-


m as : ece i ed you letter telling me that I r v r

m y pre s ence at y ur h ous e t n i gh t ul d b di staste ful t


.

o o- w o e o

yo u A y u s i m g i n
o e it a gre t s h ck
can a D nt y u w as a o o

o

un der stan d th h rm thi s w ill d me ? Everyb dy ill


. .
,

e a o o w

n tice my ab s nce They w ill j ump to th c n cl usi n that


o e e o o

n d my cred i t w ill s uff er im m di


.

there h a b ee n a r up ture s a e

ate l y w i th y ur f r i e n d s I cannot ff rd t l t th i s happe n


,

o a o o e

My ff i rs a i n s uch c n d i ti n th t it w ill b fatal


.

n ow a a re o o a e

me I need y ur s upp rt a d fri e nd sh ip m re than ever


.

to o o n o

I h ve n ti ced f s me ti me that y ur m nn er t me h
. .

a o or o o a o as

cha g ed Perh p s y u have be li eved s me f th st ri e my


n a o o o e o s

en em ie s h ve ci rcul ted ab ut me F th ake f u ld


.

a a o or e s o o r o

f r i n ds h i p A li c i a d n t de sert me
.

Remember wh at I

e o no w

t y u a d l t me c me t your re cepti n to n ight


.
, ,

o nc e w as o o n e o o o -

Th e e a eas n hy I m us t b s een i n y ur h us e
.


r s r o w e o o

You s dev ted l y


.

r o ,

Rom r Unm w oon.

Al ici a s face ushed wi th anger Turning to



.


th e maid sh e said : There s no an sw er

, .

T h e girl w as about to cl ose th e d oo r wh en her


mi stress sudd en ly recalled h er .


Wait a m inute sh e said ; I ll write a line

,

.

Taking f rom h er d ainty esc ritoire a sheet o f per


fum ed n otepaper sh e wrote hurri ed ly as f ollow s : ,


If you da e to co r me near my house to
night , I w il l h ave
you put out by th e s e vants
r

.

S4
Q ick
u ly fo l ding th e not e sh e c rush ed it into ,

an env el ope sealed it


,
handed it to th e girl an d
, ,

said :

Give that to th e m essenger .

T he serv ant di sappeared an d Al ici a resum ed h er


work o f drawing on h er gl oves in f ront o f her m ir
ror. How d are he writ e h er such a l etter ? Was
h er h ouse to be m ad e th e h ead quarters for h is
swind l ing sch em es ? D id h e want to cheat more o f
h er f ri ends ? T h e mo re sh e thought o f all h e h ad

done th e angri er sh e becam e Her eyes ashed an d


, .

h er bosom heav ed with indignat ion Sh e w ondered .

what her husband the soul o f honor w oul d say i f


, ,

h e suspected that sh e h ad permitt ed a m an o f U n

d erwood s ch aracter to use h is home for h is dis


h on est practices She w as gl ad she h ad end ed it


.

now ,before it w as too l ate There might have .

been a scandal an d that sh e must avoid at any cost


, .

Mr Jeff ri es she fel t certain woul d not tolerate a


.
, ,

sc and al o f any kind .

All at once sh e felt something brush h er ch eek .

Sh e turn ed quickly It w as h er husband w ho had


.
,

entered th e room qui etly .


Oh How ard sh e excl aimed peevi shly how
, ,

55
THE THIRD DEGREE
yo u f rightened m e ! You s ou h ldn t startle
me l ike

h t
t a .

A tall di stingui shed l ooking m an with white m us


,
-

tache and po inted beard stood admiring h er in


si lence His erect gure admirably set off in a
.
,

w ell cut dress c oat suggest ed th e so l di er


-
.


Wh at are do ing alon e here dear ? h e said
I , .

hear c arri ages outsid e O ur guest s are arrivi ng



. .


Just think ing tha t s all sh e replied evasively
,

,

.

He noticed h er preoccupi ed l ook and with some ,

conc ern h e demand ed :


,


There s nothi ng to w orry you is there ?

,


O h n o n othing l ike th at
,
sh e said hasti ly ,

.

He looked at h er closely an d sh e averted her


eyes . Mr Jeff ries o ften wondered i f h e h ad made
.

a mi stake He fel t th at thi s woman to whom h e h ad


.

gi v en h is n am e did n ot l ov e him bu t h is v anit y as ,

m uc h as his pri de prevent ed him f rom ackn ow ledg


ing it even to himsel f A fter all what did h e care ?
, .
,

Sh e w as a compani on sh e graced h is home an d


,

looked after h is creature com forts Perhaps no .

reasonable man should ex pect anyth i ng more .

Carelessly he asked : ,


Whom do you ex pect to night -

5 6
THE THIRD DEGREE

Oh the usual crowd repli ed Al icia languidly
, ,

.

.

Dr B ern st ein is c oming you know he s quit e th e

rage j ust now He h as to do w ith psychology an d


.

all th at so rt o f thing

.

So h e s your l i on t on ig ht is h e ? sm i led th e

, ,

banker Then h e went on :


.


By the bye I m et B rew ster at the club to n ight
,
- .

He promi sed to drop in .


N ow it w as Al ici a s turn to sm i le I t w as not



.

everybody w h o coul d boast o f h avi ng such a dis

tinguish ed law yer as J udge B rew st er on their c all

ing l i sts T o night would c ertain ly be a success


.
-

tw o l ions inst ead o f one For the moment sh e for.

g ot h er w o r ry .


I am del ighted that the j udge is coming she ,

exc l aim ed h er face beam ing


,

Ev ery one is talking .

about him since h is bri ll i ant speech f or th e d efen se

in that murder case .


T h e banker noted h is wi fe s beauti ful h air an d


th e white tran sparency o f h er skin His gaz e .

l ingered on the graceful l ines o f h er neck and


bosom gl ittering with precious stones An ex
, .

q uisite ar om a exuding f r om h er p er so n reach ed


where h e stood His eyes grew m ore ardent and
.
,

57
THE THIRD DEGREE

CH APT ER IV .

H E ri chly decorated rec eption rooms bril ,

liantly i ll um in ated with so ft incandescen t


lights arti stically arranged behind ban k s o f
owers were ll ed with peopl e
, In th e air w as .

the famil i ar buzz al w ays present in a room wh ere

eac h person is t ry ing to speak at th e sam e tim e On .

all sid es one h eard f r agment s of in ept conv ersa

tion .

So good o f you to come ! How w el l you re


looking my d ear

, .


My husband ? O h h e s at th e club play ing ,

,

p ok er as us
,ual H e h at es m u sic
.

.


I ve such a t erri bl e col d !


Trouble with servants ? I shoul d say so I .

bounced my cook thi s mo rning


.


Aren t th ese aff airs aw efully tiresome ?


I w as so gl ad to come I al w ay s en j oy your .

m usical es

.


D r Bern stein coming ? How per fect ly delight
.

ful. I ll ask him for h is autograph



.

59
THE THIRD DEGREE

Wh at s psychol ogy ?


Something to do with rel igion I think , .


H aven t w e been having dread ful w eather ?


I saw you at th e opera
.


Doesn t sh e look sw eet ?


Oh I think it s j ust lovely
,

.

People n ow arrived in quick succession and form ,

i ng l ittle groups th e room soo n presented an ani


,

mated scene Th e women in their smart gow n s and


.

th e m en in their black coats m ad e a pl easing pic

ture .


My dear Mrs Jeff ri es h ow do you do thi s even
.
,

ing exclaimed a rich deep v oice , .

Th e h ostess turn ed to greet an el d erly an d dis


tinguish ed looki ng m an w h o h ad j ust ent ered
-
.

D irectly h e came in voices were h ush ed and on ,

ev ery sid e on e h eard th e w h isper :



There s Judge B rew ster the fam ous

,

There w as a general craning of necks to catch a


glimpse of the em inent j uri st whose bri ll iant address
to the j ury in a recent cause cel bre h ad saved an

inn ocent man from th e electric chair .

Richard B rewster w as a ne example o f the old


school statesm an l aw yer o f th e H en ry Clay t ype
-
.

60
THE THIRD DEGREE
He bel onged to that w class o f public men w h o
all

are ind epen d ent o f all coteries w hose onl y amb iti on
,

is to serve thei r count ry w ell w h o know no oth er


,

dut y than that dictated by their oath an d conscience .

A bri ll i ant and forceful orator there w as no office in


,

th e gi ft o f the n ati on that mig h t not h ave been his

for th e asking but h e h ad no taste for pol iti cs


, .

A fter serving w ith honor for som e years on the


biench h e reti red into private practice and thereafter
,

h is n ame becam e one to con j ure w ith in th e law

courts . By sheer pow er o f his matchless oratory


and unan sw erable l ogic h e w on case a fter case fo r

h is cl i ents an d it is a tribut e to h is nam e to reco rd


the pl ain fact that in all h is career h e never cham

p i on ed a c ause o f w h ich h e n eed be asham ed Po w.

erf ul n anci al int erest s h ad att empt ed to secure h is

servi ces by off ers o f p ri ncely retainers but w ith out


,

succ ess . He fought the tru sts bitterly every tim e he


found them oppressing the people .He preferred
to remain comparatively poor rather th an en rich

himsel f at the price o f prostituting his profes


si on
.

Ali ci a advanced w ith ex tend ed h and .


Thi s is ind eed kind Judge she ex claimed with
, ,

61
THE THIRD DEGREE
a graci ous smi le I hard ly dared hope that my
.

p o o r m u s ic al e w ou l d b e s o h o n o re d .

T h e old l awyer smi led good h um oredly as h e re -

p l i e d ga ll ant ly :


I don t know much about music m m ; I cam e


to see you Looking around h e added : You ve
.

g o t a nic e p l ac e h e r e .

He spoke in h is ch aracteri stic mann er short ,

n ervous explosive sentences which h ad often terri


, ,

ed h is oppon ents in court .


Lawyers are such atterers l aughed Al icia as ,

sh e n ervously fann ed h ersel f and l ooked around


,

to see i f h er g uests w ere w atching .


Law yers on ly atter when they w ant to int er ,

rupted grimly Mr ffi j t j in d


J e ri
.e s w h o h a d ,
us o e th e

group .

Al ici a turned to greet a n ew arrival an d the law


ye r c ontin u e d ch a tting wit h h i s h o st .


I suppose you ll take a rest now after your

,

spl endid vict ory said th e banker



.
,

J udge B rew ster shook h is head dubiously .

No sir w e l awyers n ever rest We can t



No

. .
, ,

soon er is one case di spo sed o f th an an oth er crops

up to c l aim our attenti on The trouble w i th th i s


.

62
country is that w e h ave too mich law If I w ere to .

be gui l ty o f an epigram I w oul d say th at th e country


h as so m uch law th at it is practical ly l aw l ess

.


So y ou re preparing an oth er case eh ?

sai d

,

M r Jeff ri es interested
.
, .


What is it a secret ?



Oh no l an sw ered th e lawy er th e n ewspapers
,

,

w i ll be full of it in a day or tw o We are going .

to bring suit again st th e city It s really a test case



.

that shoul d int erest every citiz en ; a protest again st



th e high h and ed acti on s o f th e pol ic e
-
.

T h e bank er el ev at ed h is eyebrow s .


I ndeed h e exclaimed
,

.

What h ave the police
been doing now ?

T he l aw yer l ooked a t his cl i ent in surpri se .


Wh y my dear sir you must h ave seen by the
, ,

p ap e r s w h at s been

go ing on in ou r city o f l at e .

T h e papers h ave been full o f it Pol ice brutality


.
,

illegal arrest s assaul ts in station houses star c ham


, ,
-

ber m ethod s th at w ould di sgr ac e th e middl e ages .

A state o f affairs exists to d ay in the ci ty of New


York w hich is inconceivable Here w e are l iving .

in a civi lized country every man s liberty is guar


,

ant eed by th e Con stituti on yet citi zens as th ey w al k


, ,

o ur streets are in gr eater peril than th e inhabitan ts


,

63
THE THIRD DEGREE
of t erro r stricken Russi a T ake a police of cial o f
-
.

Captain Cl inton s type His on ly noti on of th e law



.

is brute forc e an d th e night stick A bully by na .

ture a m an o f th e coarsest in stincts an d enormous


,

physical strength h e lov es to pl ay th e ty rant I n


, .

h is precinct h e p o ses as a kind o f cz ar an d fond ly

imagines h e h as the pow er to ad mi ni ster the law


itsel f By h is brow beating tactic s intolerable
.
-
,

und er Anglo S axon gov ernment h e is turnin g our


-
,

police force into a gang o f rufans w h o have the


city terror stricken I n order to further his po l iti
-
.

cal ambiti on s h e stops at n othing He lets th e .

gui lty escape wh en inuence h e can t resist is

brought to bear but in order to keep up h is record


,

with th e department h e m akes arrests without th e


sl ightest j usti cati on T o secure convict i on s he
.

manu factu res with th e aid o f h is detectives all


, ,

kind s o f perj ured evidence T o paraphrase a well .

known say ing h is, is o


motto : C nvict honestly if
,

o u an bu t c o nvict

y c .


It is outrageous said Mr Jeff ri es No one
,

. .

can approve such methods O f course in d eal ing .


,

with th e criminal population of a great city they ,

cann ot w ear kid gl ov es but Captain Clin ton cer ,

64
THE THIRD DEGREE
tainly goes too far What is th e speci c compl aint
.

on which th e suit is based


Captain C linton repl i ed th e j udge made the
,
9
,

mi stake o f persecuting a young woman w h o h ap


p e n e d to b e th e daught er o f a w ea l thy c l i ent o f
mine O ne o f h is detectives arrested her on a
.

charge o f shopl i fting T he girl mind you is o f


.
, ,

exc el l ent fami ly an d i rreproach abl e character My .

cl i ent an d h is lawyer tri ed to sho w Captai n Cl inton


that h e h ad m ade a seri ous blunder but he brazen ed ,

it out cl aiming on the stand that th e girl w as an


,

old off ender . O f course h e w as forced at l ast to


,

admit his mi stake and th e g irl w ent free but t h ink ,

o f th e hum i l iati on and m ent al an gu i sh sh e und er

went ! It w as simply a repetition of h is old tactics .


A c onvict i on no matter at wh at cost
'

.
,


What do you hope to bring about by thi s
suit ?


Arouse public indignati on and if possible get
,

C aptain Cl inton di smi ssed f rom the force His .

record is n on e too savo ry Charges o f graft h ave


.

been made against h im time and time again but ,

so far noth ing h as been proved T0 day he is a


.
-

man of w ealth on a comparatively small salary Do .

65
THE THIRD DEGREE
W ith a l augh sh e l eft th e group and hurri ed toward
th e doo r D i rectly she w as out of earshot the three
.
,

women began whispering :



Isn t sh e terribly overdressed exclaimed the

blonde The cheek of such a pom nae to wear th at


.


ti ara .


Her face is all made up too said anoth er , ,

.


These aff airs of hers are aw fully st upid don t ,


y o u t hink so? piped th e third .


Yes they bore everybody to d eath

,
said th e ,

bl onde .

She s ambitious and l ikes to think sh e is a

soci al l ead er I only come here because it amuses


.

m e to see wh at a fool sh e mak es o f hersel f Fancy .

a w om an o f h er age mar ry ing a m an old en ough to

be h er father By th e bye I don t see her beau


.
,

here to night -
.

You mean th at scamp Robert Und erw ood



,


I sn t it per fect ly scandalous th e w ay he dances

,

after h er ? I m surpri sed Mr Jeff ri es allow s him



.

to come to the house



.


M aybe there s been a row Perhaps that ex

.

a
pl in s why h e s not here to night It s th e rst time

.


I ve known him absent f rom one o f h er musicales

.


He s con spicuous by h is absence Do you know

.

67
THE THIRD DEGREE
what I heard the other day ? I w as tol d that Under
wood h ad again been caught cheating at card s and
summari ly expell ed f rom th e c lub kicked out so to ,


speak .


I m not at all surpri sed I always had my

.

doubts about him He induced a f ri end o f mine


.

to buy a pict ure an d got a tremendous price f or it


,

on th e fal se representati on that it w as a genuine

Co rot M y f ri end found out afterward that he


.

h ad been duped P roceedings w ere threaten ed but


.
,

Underwood managed to hush th e affai r by returning


pa rt o f th e m on ey
.

In another part o f th e room a couple were dis


cussing Mr Jeff ri es as he stood talking with Judge
.

Brew ster .


D id you notice h ow Mr J eff ries h as aged re .

cen tly ? He no l onger seems th e same m an


.

No w onder aft er al l th e troubl e he s had



Of

.
,

course you know what a di sappointm ent his son



turned out ?

A scamp I understand M arried a cho rus girl
, .


and al l th at sort o f thing .

Not exactly but almost as bad T h e gi rl w as



.
,

a w aitress or something l ike th at in a restaurant .

68
THE THIRD DEGREE
She s very com mon her father di ed in pri son

.

You can imagi n e the blow to old J eff ri es He .

turn ed the boy adri ft an d left him to shi f t for him


sel f

.

Al ici a approached her husband w h o w as sti ll ,

talking with Judge B rewster She w as leaning on .

th e arm o f a tall h and some m an with a d ark V an


,

Dyke beard .


Who are you di scussing with such interest ? sh e

demand ed as she came up with h er escort


,
.


We were talking o f Captain Cl inton and h is de
testable pol ice method s said th e banker ,

.


Judge said Al icia turn ing to th e l aw yer

, , ,

all ow m e to introd uce D r B ern st ein Doctor thi s

.
.
,

i s J udge B rew ster



.

. T h e str anger bowed low as h e repl ied c our ,

teously :

T he f ame Judge B rew ster has spread to every
of


State i n th e Uni on .

A faint smi le spread over the f ac e of th e famous


lawyer as h e ext end ed his h and :

I ve o ften h eard o f you too d octor I ve been

, , .

reading with great interest your book



Ex peri ,

m ental Psychology Do you kn ow h e went on



.
,

69
THE THIRD DEGREE
ea rnestly there s a lot in that We have sti ll much
,
'
.


to l earn in th at directi on .


I think said D r B ernstei n qui etly that we re
,

.

,


onl y on th e threshol d o f w ond erful di scov eri es .

P leased to nd that h er tw o di stingui shed guests


w ere co ngeni al Al ici a l ef t th em to them selv es and
,

j oined h er other guests .


Yes said the lawy er musingly m an has stud

, ,

ied for centuri es th e mechani sm of the body but ,

h e has negl ected entirely th e mechani sm o f th e



m ind.

D r B ern stein smi led approvir gly


. .


We are j ust w aking up h e repl i ed quickly ,

.

People are begi nning to l ook upon psychology seri


ously. Up to comparatively recently th e layman
h as regard ed psy chol ogy as th e d omain o f th e phi
losoph er and th e dreamer I t did not seem po ssible
.

that it could ever be appl ied to our practical ev ery


day l i f e but o f l at e w e h av e m ad e remark able
, .

strid es . Al though it is a comparatively new sci ence ,

ou wi ll probably be astoni sh ed to l earn that there


y
are to day in th e Unit ed States f ty psych ol ogical
-

laboratori es Th at is to say workshops fully


.
,

equipped with every devic e known for th e probing

70
THE THIRD DEGREE
of th e human brain I n my laboratory in Califor
.

n ia al one I h av e as man y as tw enty rooms hung

w ith el ectric wires an d equipped with all th e n eces ~

sary in strument s chronoscopes kymographs tach , ,

istoscopes and ergograph s in strument s which en


, ,

abl e us to measure and rec ord the h um an brain as

acc urately as th e B erti l lon sy stem



.


Really you astoni sh m e ! ex claimed the j udge
,

.

Thi s is most interesting Think of l aboratories


.

sol ely d evot ed to d el ving into mysteri es of th e h u

m an brain ! It is wonder ful !


He w as si lent for a moment th en h e said : ,


I t is quite plain I think that psychology
, ,

p r ov e m ost us ef u l in m ed icin e I t is I .t ak e it th e
, ,

v ery foun dati on o f m ental heal ing but what el se ,

w oul d it do fo r hum anity ? For i nstance can it help ,

m e th e l awyer ?

,

D r Bernstein smi led


. .


You gent l emen o f the law h ave al w ays scoff ed
at th e very suggesti on o f bringi ng psy ch ology to

y o u r aid, bu t j u st think si
, r h o w en o
, rm o u sly it

m ight aid you in cross examining a witn ess You


- .

c an t ell with al m ost sci enti c accuracy i f th e wit

n ess is t ell ing l ies or th e truth and th e same w ould


,

7 1
be c lear to th e j udge and the j ury J ust think h ow
.

your powers woul d be increased i f by your ski ll in


psychological observation you coul d convince th e
j ury that your client w h o w as about to be con
,

v icted on circ umstanti al evid ence al on e w as really ,

innocent of th e crime o f which he w as ch arged .

Why sir the road which psychology opens up to


, ,

th e l aw yer is w ell nigh bo und l ess


-
Don t you use
.

the B erti ll on system to measure th e body ? Don t

ly th mb print id nti y h nd
'

y o u re on u s to e f th e a ?
How do you know that w e psychol ogi sts are not
abl e to d ay to t est th e individ ual di ff erences o f

m en ?

In
word laughed th e j udge you mean that
a , ,

any one trained to read my m i n d can tell j ust wh at s



passing in my brain ?

Prec i sely repl i ed th e d octor with a smi le ; the
,

psy ch ol ogi st can t ell with a l m ost m ath ematic al ac

curacy j ust h ow your ment al mech ani sm is w orking .

I admit it sound s uncanny but it can be proved In , .


fact it has been proved time and ti m e agai n
, , .

Alicia came up and took the doctor s arm


.

O h D r Bernstein sh e protested I can t al low



, .
, ,

the j udge to monopolize you in thi s w ay Come .

72
THE THIRD D EGREE
with m e I want to introd uce you to a most ch arm
.

ing woman w ho is dy ing to meet you Sh e is per .


fectly crazy on psy ch ology .


Don t introduce m e to her laughed the j udge

, .

I see en ough craz y peopl e in th e law courts .


D r Bern stein smi led and followed his hostess


. .

Judge B rewster turned to ch at with th e banker .

From th e di stant music room came th e sound o f a


pi ano and a beauti ful soprano v oice T he rooms .

w ere n ow crowded and n ewcomers were arriving


each min ut e S ervants passed in and out serving
.

i ced d el icacies and champagne .

S udden ly th e butler entered th e salon and quietly ,

approaching A l ici a hand ed h er a l ett er


,
I n a low .

tone h e said :
,


Thi s l etter h as j ust come m m Th e messenger
,

.

said it w as v ery import ant and I shoul d d el iv er it

at o nc e

.

Al ici a turned pale Sh e instantly recognized the


.

handwriting I t w as from Robert Underwood


. .

Was not her last message enough ? How dare he


add ress h er again an d at such a time ? Retiring to
.

an inn er room she tore open the envelope and read


,

as fol low s :

73
cou l d hear of her vi siting h im alone in his apart
m ent that w oul d be the en d .


Yes I must see him at once T o morrow is .
-


Alici a ! Al ici a !

. doo r opened and Mr J eff ri es put his head in


Th e . .


Wh at are you doing here my d ear h e asked
, .


s ert wi shes to say good night .


I w as xing my hai r th at s,

all,

replied
THE THIRD DEGREE

CHAPT E R V .

MO N G the m any huge caravansari es that of


recent years have sprung up in New York
to provid e l uxuri ous quart ers regard less o f

cost f or those w h o can aff ord to pay for the best ,

none coul d rival th e A struri a i n Si z e and m agni


cence Occupying an entire bl ock in th e very heart
.

o f th e resid en ti al di st ri ct
, it took preceden ce over
all th e other apartm en t h otel s o f the m etropol i s as

th e bi ggest and most splendid ly appo inted h ostel ry

o f its kind in th e w or l d. I t w as indeed a small


, ,

city in itsel f I t w as not n ecessary for its fortunate


.

ten ant s to leave it unl ess they w ere so minded .

Everything f o r their c om fo rt an d pleasure w as to


be h ad without taking th e troubl e to go out o f doo rs .

On the ground oor w ere shops o f all kinds which ,

catered only to th e A struria s patron s Th ere were



.

al so on th e prem ises a bank a broker s office a



, ,

hairdresser and a postal tel egraph ofce A spec i al


,
-
.

feature w as th e garden court containing over


,

square feet o f open space and t ast efull y l aid out


,

76
w ith plant s and ow ers H ere f ountain s spl ashed
.

and an o rch est ra pl ay ed w hile th e patron s l ounged

on com fortabl e rattan chai rs o r gossiped with thei r .

f ri end s Up on th e sixt eenth oo r w as th e cool


roo f garden an ex qui site bower o f palms an d roses


,

arti cially paint ed by a famous F rench arti st wi th ,

its recherch restaurant its picturesque tzigane}


,
o r
,

and its superb vi ew o f all M anh attan I sl and .

T he A struria w as th e l ast w o rd in expensiv e


apartment h ot el bui lding Architects d ecl ared that
.

it w as as far as mod ern lavi sh ness and extrav agance

coul d go . Its in teri o r arrangements w ere in keep


ing with its external splendor Its apartm en ts w ere
.

o f nobl e d i m ensi on s ri ch ly d ec orat ed and equi pped


, ,

with every devi ce n ew and old th at modern sci ence


, ,

and buil ders ingen uity coul d suggest That th e



.

ren ts w ere on a scal e w ith th e grand eur o f th e es

tablishm en t goes with out saying Only l ong pu rses


.

coul d st and th e strain I t w as a f avorite h ead


.


quarters for Western ers w ho h ad struck it ri ch ,

weal thy bach elors and successful actors and opera


,

singers w h o l ov ed th e l im el ight o n and o ff th e stage .

Sunday evening w as usually exceedingly quiet


at the A struria Most o f th e tenant s w ere out o f
.

77
THE THIRD DEGREE
t own over th e w eek end an d as th e restaurant an d
-
,

roo f g ard en w ere on ly sl imly patroniz ed th e ele ,

v ato rs ran l ess frequent ly m aking l ess chatter an d


,

bust l e in corridors and stairways Sti llness reign ed


.

ev ery wh ere as i f th e sobering in uenc e o f th e Sab

bath had invaded even thi s exclusive domain o f th e


unh oly rich . T he uni form ed att end ant s h aving ,

nothing to do y aw n ed l azi ly in th e d eserted hall s


, .

Some even indulged in surreptiti ous n aps in co rners ,

condent that they w oul d not be di sturbed Callers .

w ere so rare that when some one did enter f rom the
st reet h e w as l ooked upo n with suspici on
, .

I t w as shortly af ter seven o cloc k th e day follow


ing M rs J eff ri es reception when a m an came in by



.

th e main entrance f rom B roadw ay and approach i ng ,

one o f th e h all boy s in quired f or Mr Robert U n


, .

derwood .

Th e boy gav e h is interl oc utor an impudent stare .

There w as something about th e call er s dress and

manner which tol d him in stinctively th at h e w as not


deal ing w ith a vi sitor whom h e must treat respect
fully N o one d ivin es a man s o r woman s soci al

.

stat us quicker or m ore un erring ly th an a servant .

T h e attend ant saw at once th at th e m an did not

78
THE THIRD DEGREE
belong to the cl ass wh ich pai d soci al vi sits to ten
an t s in th e A struria He w as rather seedy looking
.
-
,

h is co ll ar w as not immacul at e h is boots were thick ,

and c lum sy h is cl oth es cheap and i ll tting


,
-
.


Is Mr Und erw ood in ? h e d emand ed
. .

Not home repl i ed th e attendant in solent ly after



, ,

a pause Like most h all boys h e took a savage


.
,

easure in say ing th at th e t enant s w ere out .

T h e call er look ed ann oy ed .


He must be in h e said with a frown
,

I h ave .


an appo intment wit h h im .

. Thi s w as not strictly true but the bluff h ad th e ,

d esired eff ect .


Got an appointment ! Why di dn t you say so at

o nce ?

Reaching lazi ly over th e tel ephone switchboard ,

an d with out ri sing f rom h is seat h e asked surl i ly : ,


Wh at s th e nam e ?


Mr B enningt on
.

.

Th e boy took th e t ran smitter and spok e into i t :



A party c alled to see M r Underwood
. .

There w as a brief pause as i f the person upstairs ,

w as in d oubt wheth er to admit that h e w as h ome

or not . Then came the an swer T h e boy looked up . .

79
THE THIRD DEGR EE
'


He y you sa s sh ou ld go up . Apartment 1 65 .

Take the el evato r .

I n h is luxuriously appointed room s on the four


teenth oor Robert Und erw oo d sat before th e re
,

p u
'

i ng n e rvously a t a strong cigar A ll a r ou nd him .

w as a l itter o f obj ets d ort such as w oul d hav e l l ed



,

the h eart o f any conn oi sseur with j oy Oi l paint .


.

ings in heavy gi lt f ram es o f every peri od and ,

sch ool Rembrandt s Cuyps Ruysdaels Reynoldses


, , , , ,

Corots H enners some on easel s some rest ing o n


, , ,

th e oor ; h and some F rench bronz es d aint y chin a on ,

J apanese teakw ood tables anti que furniture gold , ,

embroidered clerical v estments hand painted ,


-

screen s costly Oriental rugs rare ceram ics all


,
,

were con fusedly j umbled together On a gran d .

pi ano in a corner o f th e room stood tw o tal l cloi


sonn v ases o f al most inestimabl e val ue On a d esk .

cl ose by were pi led mini atures and rare ivori es The .

w all s w ere covered w ith t apestri es armor an d tro , ,

phies o f arms More l ike a museum than a sitting


.

room it w as th e h ome o f a m an w h o m ade a busi


,

ness o f art or mad e o f art a business .

Underw ood stared moodi at the glow ing logs in


80
THE THIRD DEGREE
th e ope n chim neyplace . His face
pal e and de w as

termined A fter coming in f rom th e restaurant he


.

had ch anged h is tux edo fo r th e more com fo rtable

house coat Nothing called him away th at particu


.

lar Sunday evening and no one w as l ik ely to di sturb


,

him .

Ferri s h is m an servant had taken his usual
, ,

Sunday off and would not retu rn unti l midnigh t .

The apartm ent w as sti l l as th e grav e It w as so .

high above the street that not a sound reach ed up


f rom th e n oi sy B roadway bel ow Und erw ood l iked .

th e qui et so th at h e coul d think an d h e w as thinkin g


,

hard On th e at d esk at h is el bow stoo d a dainty


.

-
dem i tasse o f black coff ee untasted There were .

glasses and decanters o f whi skey and co rdial but ,

th e stimul ant s did n ot t empt him .

He wond ered if Al ici a w oul d ign ore hi s lett er or


i f sh e w ould com e to him Surely sh e coul d not
.

be so h eartl ess as to throw him ov er at such a m o


ment C rushed in h is left han d w as a copy o f th e
.

N ew York Herald cont aining an el aborat e account


of the bri ll i ant recepti on and musical e given th e

previous even i ng at h er home With an exclama .

tion of impati ence he rose f rom h is seat th rew the ,

paper from him and began to pace th e oo r


, .

81
THE THIRD DEGREE
f ate,peopl e woul d begin to talk There w as no use .


k eeping up a hopeless ght suicide w as th e only
w ay out !

He t p d in f ront o f a mirror startl ed at what


s op e ,

h e saw there I t w as th e face o f a m an not yet


.

thi rty but apparent ly m uch ol der


, T he features
.

were d rawn and haggard an d h is dark h air w as,

p l enti f u lly strea k ed with g ray H e l oo


.k ed l ik e a

m an w h o h ad l iv ed tw o l ives in one T o night h is .


-

face f rightened him His eyes h ad a xed stare l ike


.

those o f a m an he h ad once seen in a madhouse .

He wond ered if m en looked l ike th at when th ey


'

w ere about to be ex ec ut ed Was not h is ow n hour


.

close at hand ? He wondered why the cl ock w as so


noi sy ; it seemed to him that th e ticks w ere l ouder
than usual He st arted sudd enly an d l ooked around
.

fear fully He thought h e h ad heard a sound out


.

side . He shuddered as he glanced toward th e l ittl e


draw er on th e right h and side o f h is d esk in w h ich
-
,

h e kn ew there w as a l oaded revol v er .

If Al ici a w oul d on ly rel ent escape might yet be


possible If h e did not hear from h er it must be
.

for to night O ne sl ight l ittle pressure on th e trig


-
.

g e r an d a ll w o ul d be o v er .

83
THE THIRD DEGREE
Suddenly th e bell o f the telephone connecting th e
apartment with th e m ain h all d own stair s rang v io

lently I nterrupt ed thus abruptly in th e mid st o f h is


.

reflections Underwood j umped forward startl ed


, , .

His nerves w ere so unstrung th at h e w as ever ap


p re h en siv e o f d ang er W ith .a tr em ul ous h and h e ,

took hold o f th e receiv er an d placed it to h is car .

A s h e l i stened h is al ready pall id face turned whit er


'

an d the l in es about h is mouth tighten ed He hesi .

f at ed a moment before reply ing Then with an .


,

eff ort h e said :


,


Send him up .

D ropping th e receiver h e began to walk nervously


,

up and down th e room T h e cri si s h ad come sooner


.


th an h e expected exposu re w as at h an d This .

m an B ennington w as th e manager o f th e rm o f
deal ers whose goods he di sposed o f He coul d not .

make restitution Prosecution w as inevitable Dis


. .

grace an d pri son woul d follow He coul d not stan d .

it ; h e woul d rath er ki ll himsel f Troubl e w as very.

close at hand that w as certain How coul d h e get


, .

o ut o f it ? Pacing the oo r he hit h is l ips ti ll the


,

blood came .

There w as a sharp ring at the front door Under .

84
wood opened it A s he recogn iz ed his vi sitor on
.

the threshol d h e exclaimed : ,


Why B ennington thi s is a surpri se !
, ,

T h e m an ager ent ered awkw ardly He h ad th e .

constrai ned air o f a m an w ho h as come on an un


pleasant errand but w ants to be as amiable as the
,

circumstances wi ll permit .


You didn t expect m e did you ? h e began

.
,

Shutting th e front doo r Underw ood led the w ay'

back int o th e sitting room and m aking an effort ,

to control h is nerves sai d : ,


Sit d own won t you ? ,

But Mr B enni ngt on m erely bowed stiffly I t w as


. .

evident th at h e did not wi sh h is c all to be mi st ak en

for a soci al vi sit


'


I haven t time thank you T o be frank m y

, .
,


mi ssion is rather a del icate one Mr Underwood , . .

Underwood l augh ed nervously Aff ecting to m is .

i nterpret th e other s meaning h e said :


,


Yes you re right T h e art an d anti que business

.
,

i s a d el icat e business God kn ow s it s a prec ari ous



.


on e ! Reaching for th e decanter he add ed : H ave

,


a drink .

But M r Bennington refused to unben d


. The .

8S
THE THIRD DEGREE
proff er o f refreshment d id not tempt h im to swerve
f rom th e obj ect o f h is mi ssion Wh ile Underw ood .

w as t alking t ry ing to gai n time h is eyes w ere tak


, ,

ing in the contents o f th e apartment .


Come tak e a drink , urged Underw ood ,

again .


No th anks repl i ed Mr B ennington curt ly

. .
, ,

S udden ly h e turned square around .


Let s get down to business Mr Underwood

, .
,


h e exc laim ed My rm insi sts on th e immedi ate
.

retu rn o f their property Pointing around th e 9


.


room ,
h e added : Ev erything do you under ,

st and

Underwood w as standing in th e shadow o f the


lamp so h is vi sito r did not notice that h e h ad grown
sudd en ly v ery whit e and that h is mouth twitched ,

pain fully .


Why what s th e troubl e ? h e stammered
,

.

Haven t you done a lot of b usiness through m e ?


H aven t I got prices for your peopl e that they w oul d


never h ave gotten ?



Yes w e kn ow all th at
repl ied Mr B enni ng , .


ton impati ent ly T o be f rank Mr Und erw ood
.
, .
,

w e v e rec eived in form ati on th at y ou ve sol d man


y
86
THE THIRD DEGREE
of th e v aluable articles entrusted to you for which

you ve made no accounting at all

.


That s not true excl aimed Underwoo d hot ly

, .

I have accounted for al most every thing The rest .

o f th e things are h ere O f c ourse th ere may be a


.
,

few th i ngs

T aking a box of cigars f rom th e d esk h e off ered ,

it to h is vi sitor .


N 0 thank s repl i ed B ennington coldy push ing
,

, ,

back th e proffered box .

Underw ood w as fast l osing h is sel f control -


.

Throwing aw ay h is cigar with an angry excl ama


tion h e began to walk up and down
, .


I can account for everything i f you give m e
time You must give m e time I m h ard pressed
. .

by my creditors My expen ses are enormous and


.

collection s exceedingly diffi cul t I h ave a l arge .

amoun t o f mon ey out standing A fter our pl easant


.

busin ess relations it seem s absurd and most un f ai r


that your rm shoul d take thi s st and with m e
He .

halted sudden ly an d faced B enningt on


Of .

course I m much obliged to you personally for thi s


,

, ,

f ri end ly tip

.

Bennington sh rugged h is shoul ders .

87
THE THIRD DEGREE

The w arn ing m ay give you time either to rai se
th e mon ey or to get th e things b ack

.

Underwood s dark eyes ash ed with suppressed


w rath as h e r et orted :
,

O f c ourse I can get them al l back in time



.
,

Damn it you fellow s don t kn ow w hat it cost s to



,

run thi s kind o f busin ess succ essfully ! O ne h as to .

spend a sm all fortun e to k eep up appearanc es .

Th ese soci ety people w on t buy if th ey think you

really n eed th e mon ey I v e h ad to give expensiv e



.

dinners an d spend money l ike w ater even to get them


to c ome h ere an d l ook at th e things You must .

give m e time to make a settlement I need at least .

a m onth

.

B ennington shook h is head There w as a hard .


,

unc ompromi sing look in h is fac e as h e repl i ed caus

t ic ally :

They re coming for th e th ings to morrow I

- .

th ought it fair to let you know I can do no more


. .

Underwood stopped short .


To morrow he echoed faintly
-
,

.


Yes said B enning ton grimly

, You migh t as .

w ell un der stand th e situati on th oroughly T he .

g am e

s up T h e rm h as
. bee n w atching you for

88
so m e time . When yotried to sell th ese things
u

to old Def ri es for one quarter th eir real v al ue he


-

instan tly recogniz ed where they cam e from He .

tel ephoned straight to our place You ve been shad .


ow ed by d et ectiv es ever since There s a man out


.


side w atching thi s pl ace now .


My God ! exclaimed Underw ood

Why .

they b oun ding m e l ike thi s


Approaching B ennington quickl y he grasped h is ,

hand .


B ennington h e said earnestly you and I ve

, ,

al way s been on th e square Can t you tell them it s


.


all ri ght ? Can t you get them to gi ve me time ?

B efore the manag er coul d reply th e telephone bell


rang sh arply . Underw ood started An expression .

o f fear cam e over h is face Perhaps th e rm h ad


.

al ready sw o rn out a w arrant for hi s arrest He .

p ick e d up th e re c ei v er to a n sw er th e ca ll .


What n ame is that ? he demanded over the tele
ph o n e .T h e n a m e w as rep ea t ed a nd w i th a gest ure

o f reli ef h e ex cl ai med :



How ard Jeff ri es what on earth does he w ant
I can t see him

.Tell him I m

Benn ingt on took his hat and turned to go :


89
THE THIRD D EGR EE

h e excl aimed Things haven t been going my w ay
. .

lately. I don t care a hang whether school keeps


If they driv e m e to th e wall I l l do some



or not .

thing desperate I .
9 9

A ring at the f ront d oor bell interrupted him .


Who can that be ? he exclaimed startled He
.

looked c losely at h is com panion as i f trying to read ,

in h is f ace i f h e w ere deceiving him .


Probably your f riend o f the telephone sug
,

g e st ed B ennin gt o n .

Underw ood opened the door and H oward entered


j auntily .


Hello fellers how goes it ? w as his j ocular
, ,

g re e ting .

He w as plain ly un der the inuence o f l i quor .

When h e left home that evening he had sworn to


Annie that he woul d not touch a drop but by the ,

time h e reached the A struria h is courage fai led him .

He rather feared Underw ood an d he felt the need ,


o f a stimul ant to br ac e him u t ik
p for th e s r e h e

w as about to make T h e back d oor o f a sal oon w as


.

conv eni ently open and whi l e h e w as ref reshing h im

sel f tw o oth er m en h e kn ew dro


ppe d in B e fo re .

he knew it h al f a d oz en drinks h ad b een absorbed


, ,

9 1
THE THIRD DEGREE
and h e h ad p nt the whol e o f $ 5 which h is wi fe h ad
s e

intrusted to h im out o f h er carefully hoarded sav


i ngs Wh en he sobered up h e woul d real iz e that h e
.

h ad acted l ike a c ow ard and a cur but j ust n ow h e ,

w as feel ing rath er j olly Addressing Underwood


.

with impudent fami l i arity h e went on : ,



T e d d boy didn t seem to know if you w ere
h

in or not so I came up anyhow


, Gl ancing at Ben 9

n ington h e add ed :
,

Sorry if I m butting in
,

.

Underwood w as not in th e humo r to be very gra


cious .Long ago young H oward J eff ri es h ad out
grown li fs useful ness as far as h e w as concerned .

He w as at a l oss to g uess why he h ad come to see


him uninvited on thi s particul ar Sunday night too
, , .

I t w as w ith studied col dness therefore that he , ,

said :



Sit down I m gl ad to see you
.


You don t look it gri nn ed How ard as h e ad

, ,

vanced fu rther i nt o th e room with sh ambl ing un ,

certain steps .

Conceal ing h is ill humor an d promi sing him sel f


to get rid o f h is unwel come vi sito r at th e rst op

p or tun ity U nd erw o o d


,
intro d uc ed t h e tw o m en .


.

M r Benni ngton Mr How ard Jeffri es Jr .

, .

9 2
THE THIRD DEGREE
Mr B enningt on h ad heard o f the elder J eff ries
.

trouble with h is scapegrace son an d h e eyed with , ,

some interest thi s y oung m an w ho h ad m ade such a


,

asco o f h is career .


Oh I kn ow Bennington exc laimed H ow ard
,

,

j ovi ally
.I bought an elephant s tusk at h is place

i n the d ays when I w as somebody W ith mock .


sadness h e add ed

,


I m nobody now couldn t even


buy a col l ar button .


Won t you sit down and stay awhi le ? sai d

Underwood sarcastically .

If you d on t mind I l l h ave a dri nk rst replied



, ,

How ard m aking h is w ay to th e desk and tak ing up


,

th e whi skey d ecant er .

Underwood did not conceal h is annoyance but ,

h is angry gl anc es were entir ely l ost on h is new


vi sitor w ho w as rapid ly getting into a maudl in con
,

di tion Addressing B ennington with famil iarity


.
,

Howard went on :

Say do you remember that w ond erful set of
,


ivory chessmen m y old m an bought ?
Bennington smi led and nodded .


Yes sir ; I do in deed Ah your father is a ne
, , .
,


art critic !

93
THE THIRD DEGREE
Howard burst into boi sterous l aughter .


Art critic ! h e excl ai med

I shoul d say he .

w as .He s a born critic He can critici se any old



.


thing every old thing I don t care wh at it is
.

,

h e can critici se i t When in doubt critici se is


.

-
,

nailed on father s escutcheon



Bowing with mock .
9

courtesy to each h e rai sed th e glass to h is l ips and



said : H ere s h ow

Bennington l aughed good h umoredly and turned ,


Well good night M r Jeff ri es
, , . . Good n ight ,


M r Underw ood
. .

Underwood followed th e manager to th e door .


Good night h e said gloomily .

94
THE THIRD DEGREE

CH A PT E R V I .

HEl mmed and Und erwood return ed


door sa ,

to th e sitting room Taking no notice of .

H oward h e w alked over to the d esk slow ly


, ,

selected a cigar an d l ight ed it H ow ard l ook ed up .

at him fool i sh ly not kn owing wh at to say


,
His .

f requent l ibation s h ad so befuddl ed him th at h e


h ad alm ost fo rgotten th e obj ect o f h is vi sit .


Excuse my butting in old ch ap he st ammered , ,

,

but
Underw ood mad e no an swer H oward stared at .

him in c om ic surpri se He w as n ot so d runk as not .

to b e abl e to n otic e that something w as wrong .


Say old fellow h e gu rgl ed ; you re a regul ar

, ,

J im Dumps Why so chop fallen so


'

. My ! ,

w hat a l ong fac e ! Is th at th e w ay you g reet a c l ass

mate a fell ow f rat ? Wait ti ll you h ear m y h ard


,

luck story That ll cheer you up Wh o w as it


.

.

sai d : There s nothing heers us up so much as


c

other peopl e s mon ey Reaching for th e whi sk ey


bottle he went on
,

First I ll pour out another
, ,

95
THE THIRD DEGREE
drink . You see, I need courage old m an I ve , .

got a fav or to ask I want some money I not


. .

only want it
it I need .

Un derwood laughed a holl ow mocking laugh o f , ,

d eri si on His old classmate had certainly chosen a


.

good time to come and ask him for money How ard .

mi stook th e cynical gayety for goo d hum or .

I said I d cheer you up he went on



I don t ,

.

w ant to remind you o f that l itt le matter of tw o


hundred and fty bucks which you borrowed from
m e tw o y ears ago I suppose you ve forgotten it
.

,

but
A look of annoyance came over Underw oo d s

face .


Well what of it ? h e snapped
, .

How ard took another drink before he continued .


I woul dn t remind you o f the loan old chap ; but

,

I m up against it When the fami ly kicked m e out



.

for marry ing th e n est girl th at ever l ived my ,

f ath er cut m e off with a piking all owance which I

tol d him to put in th e church pl ate I told him I .

preferred independence Well he went on w ith .


,

seri o com i c gravity


-

I got my independence but, ,

Im m dead broke You might as w el l under



.

9 5
THE THIRD D E GREE
t nd the situation pl ai nly I can t nd any busi
sa .

ness that I m tted for and Annie threatens to go



,

'

back to w ork Now you know I can t stan d for


.
,

any thing like th at I m too m uch o f a man to be


.


support ed by an w om an
y .

He looked toward Und erw ood in a stupi d kind


o f w ay as i f l ooking f or some sign o f approv al
, ,

but h e w as di sappointed Underwood s face w as a


.

study o f supreme indi ff erenc e He did not even .

appear to be li stening Somewh at disconcerted'


.
,

Howard agai n rai sed th e gl ass to h is lips and thus ,

ref resh ed w ent on : ,


Then I thoug h t o f you old chap You ve
.
,


made a rousing success o f it g ot a big nam e as
art o
c ll ector made lots of money and all
that

U nderw ood impat iently i nterrupted him .


It s immssible Je ries Things are a l ittle hard

.
,

w ith m e too j ust now You ll have to w ait for


.
, ,

that

Howard
Taint th e $250 old man I didn t w ant that

, ,

.

I w an t a couple o f thousand
.

97
THE THIRD DEGREE
What

do you w ant for ?

d emanded Un

derwood .


I v e got rtunity to go into business I
an oppo .

an d I w ant it deuc ed qui ck



want .

Und erw oo d shrugged h is shoulders .



Why don t you go home and ask your father ?

h e demand ed .

His vi sitor seemed off ended at the sugges


What ! h e exclai med w ith comic surpri se

, ,

af ter b eing turn ed out l ik e a dog wi th a young

w i f e on m y h and s !
N ot much no I ve inj ured .

th eir prid e You kn ow f ather marri ed a secon d


.

time loaded m e d own with a stepmother She s all


, .

right but she s so con f ound ed ly ari stoc ratic You



, .

kn ow h er .

Say didn t you and she w asn t th ere
,

som e sort o f an engagement onc e ? S eem s to m e


I
n

Underwood rose to his feet and ab ruptly turned


his back .


I d rather you wouldn t get personal h e sai d

,

curtly Sitting down at a desk h e began to rum


.
,

mage with some papers and turning impati en tly to ,

H oward h e said : ,

99
THE THIRD DEGREE

Say, old m an, I m

very busy now . You l l

h ave

to xcuse m e
e .

If H ow ard h ad been sober he w oul d hav e under ,

stood th at thi s w as a pretty strong hint for him to

be gone but in hi s besotted conditi on h e did not


, ,

p r opo se to be di spo sed o f so easily T urning to .

Underwood he burst out w i th an air o f offended


,

dignity

Underw ood you w oul dn t go back on me now
,

.

I m an outcast a pari ah a d erel ict on th e ocean of



, ,

li fe as one o f my highl y respectabl e un cl es w rote


,

me His grand father w as an i ron puddle


. r
.

With a drunken laugh h e went on : Doesn t it

m ake you sick ? I m n o goo d because I marri ed


th e girl If I had ruined h er l i fe I d sti ll be a


'
.

decent member o f soc i ety .

He helped h imsel f to anoth er drink h is han d ,

sh aking so th at h e coul d hardl y hol d th e d ecanter .

He w as fast approaching th e state o f complete in


toxicati on Underwood made an attempt to
.

i nter fere Why should h e care i f th e young


.

fool made a sot o f himsel f ? T h e sooner h e drank


'

himsel f insensible the quicker he woul d get rid of

10 0

How ard
No, , he sa id ; you d

never make a de

cen t mem ber o f i soc ety .


P r aps not hiccoughed H ow ard

, .


How d oes An nie take h er social ostracism ia
quired Underw ood .


Like a bri ck She s a thoroughbred all right .

, .


She s all to the good

.


All the sam e I m sorry I ever introduced


yo u t o h er r e pli ed U nd e
,r w oo d I nev er .

thought you d nu ke such a fool of yourself as to


marry
How ard shook his h ead in a maudlin manner as ,

he repli ed :

I don t know w hether I made a fool of mysel f

or not but she s all righ t She s got in h er th e



.
,


makings of a great w oman very crude but sti ll th e ,

mak ings Th e onl y thing I obj ect to is she i nsi sts


. . ,

O n going back to work j ust as i f I d perm i t such a



,

thing Do you know what I said on our w ed ding


.

day ? M rs H ow ard J eff ri es you are entering on e



.
,

of th e ol d est f am i l i es i n Am eri ca Nature has tted .

y ou f or so ci al l e a d e rship Y o u ll be a petted .

,

p amp ere d m em be r o f that sel ec t f ew ca ll ed the

and now damn i t all h ow can I ask h er to , ,

10 1
THE THIRD DEGREE
here Once h e gets an idea h e never lets it go h e
.
, ,

h ld
o s o n .

Obsti nate O ne idea stick to it Gee
. .
,

but I ve made a mess o f things haven t I ?



,

Underwood looked at him w ith con tempt .


You ve made a mess o f you r l i fe h e said bit

,


terly , y et you v e h ad so m

e measu re o f h appi n ess .

You at least marri ed th e woman you love


.
, , .

D ru nken beast as you are I envy you T h e w oman ,


.

I wanted marri ed some one else d amn h er ! ,


H oward w as so drowsy f rom th e eff ects o f th e


whi skey that h e w as almost asleep A s he lay back .

on th e so fa h e g urgl ed :
,

Say old m an ; I didn t come h ere to l isten to



,

hard luck stori es I came to tell o ne


-
. .

In mau dl i n f ashi on h e began to si ng 0 h listen , ,

to m y tale of w oe whi l e Un derw ood sat glari ng at


'

hi m wond eri ng how h e coul d pu t him out


, .

A s h e reached th e l ast verse h is head began to


nod . The wo rd s came thickly f rom h is l ips an d h e
sank sl eepi ly back among th e so ft divan pi ll ow s .

Just at that moment th e telephone bell rang .

Underwoo d qu ickly picked up th e receiver .


Wh o s that ? h e asked A s he heard th e answer

.

h is face l it up and h e repl i ed eagerly : Mrs J eff ri es



.

10 3
THE THIRD DEGREE
-
yes I ll come down No tell h er to come u p
.

.
, .
"

Hanging up the receiver h e hastily went over to,

th e divan and shook How ard .


Howard wake up ! con found you ! You ve got
,


to get out th ere s som ebod y comi ng

.

He shook him roughly bu t h is old classmate ,

mad e no attempt to move .


Quick do you hear ! ex cl ai med Un derw ood im
,

pa ti en tly
V.Vake up
som e o ne s c omi n g

.

Howard sleepily hal f O pened h is eyes He had .

forgotten enti rely wh ere h e w as and bel ieved h e w as


on th e t rain for h e answ ered :
,


,


S ure I m sleepy S ay porter make up m y
.
,


bed .

His patience ex h austed Un derw ood , w as a ou b t to

pull h im from th e f
so a by force, when there w as a

ring at f ront door


the .

B endin g qu ickly over h is companion Underwood ,

saw that h e w as f ast asl eep T here w as no time to


.

awak en him and get him out o f th e w ay so qu ickly , , ,

he t ook a big screen an d arranged it aroun d th e


divan so th at H oward coul d not be seen Then he .

h urried to th e f ront doo r and opened it .

Alicia entered .

I0 4
THE THIRD DEGREE

CHA P TER V II .

OR a moments Un derwood w as too much


few
o vercome by emoti on to speak A l ici a .

brushed by in haughty si lence n ot deigni ng ,

to l ook at him .All h e heard w as th e so ft ru stle


of h er cl i ngi ng si lk gown as it swept along th e oor .

She w as i ncensed with him o f course but sh e h ad


, ,

come . Tha t w as all h e asked Sh e h ad come in .

time to sav e him He woul d tal k to h er and ex


.

p lai n eve ryt hi ng an d sh e w o ul d u n d erst an d Sh e .

w oul d h elp him in thi s cri si s as sh e h ad in th e pas t .

Th ei r long f ri end ship all these years o f i n ti macy


.
, ,

could not end l ike thi s Th ere w as sti ll hope for


.

him . T h e situati on w as not as d esperate as h e


feared He might yet avert th e sh ameful en d of
.

the su icide . Advancing tow ard her h e sai d in a ,

hoarse whi sper :



O h thi s is good o f you you ve com e th is is
, ,


the answ er to my l ett er

.

10 5
THE THIRD DEGREE


Lve ! sh e exclai med mocki ngly
o

You love .

no one bu t ou r sel f
y .

Un derw oo d advanced nearer to H er an d th ere w as

a tremor in h is vo ice as h e said :



You have no right to say th at You remember.

what w e once w ere Wh ose f aul t is it that I am


.

w here I am to day ? -
When you broke our en
a
g g em en t an d m arri ed old J eff ri es to g rati f y yo ur

soci al ambiti on you rui n ed m y l i f e You didn t



.
,


destroy my love you couldn t ki ll that You m ay
.


forbid m e everything to see you to speak to you
even to thi nk o f you but I can never forget th at
,

yo u are t h e o n ly w om an I ev e r c ar e d fo r I f yo u .

h ad married m e I might h av e been a di ff erent


,

m an . A n d now ju st when I w ant you most you


, ,

deny m e even you r f ri en dship Wh at have I done .

to d eserv e su ch treatment ? Is it f air ? Is it


just
Al icia h ad l i sten ed with growing i mpati en ce I t .

w as only with dii culty th at sh e c on t ai ned h ersel f


'
.

N ow sh e i nterrupted him h otly :



I broke my engagement w ith you becau se I
found that you were deceiving m e just as you

deceived others .

10 7
THE THIRD DEGREE


It s

a broke in Underwood
lie !

I may have.


tried with others bu t I n ever decei ved you
, .

Al icia rose and crossing th e room carel essly in


, ,

Spected one o f th e pict ures on th e w all a stud y ,

of th e nu d e by B ou guereau .


We need not go i nto that sh e said haughtily

, .

.That is all over now I came to ask you what thi s


.


letter thi s threat means Wh at do you expect.

to gai n by taki ng you r l i fe u nless I c onti nue to be

you r f rien d ? How can I be a f ri en d to a m an l ike


y ou ? Y ou k n o w w h a t y o u r f ri en d ship f o r a

w o man means I t mean s that you w oul d drag her


.

down to you r ow n level and di sg race h er as well as


yoursel f Th an k God my eyes are now opened
.
,

to you r true ch aracter No sel f respecti ng woman


.
-

coul d aff o rd to allow h er name to be assoc i ated

w ith y ou rs You are as i ncapable o f di si nterested


.

f riend ship as you are o f common honesty Coldly


.


she added : I hope you qu ite un derstand that
h enceforth my house is c losed to you I f w e h ap .

p en to m eet in p u b l ic it m
, u st be a s str a ng er s .

Un derwood did not speak Word s seem ed to fai l .

h im .His face w as set and white A nervous .

tw itchi ng about th e mouth showed the terrible

10 8
THE THIRD DEGREE

mental st rain which the m an w as under In th e ex .

c item en t h e h ad forgott en abou t H oward s presen c e


on th e div an behi n d th e screen A l i stener might .

have detected th e heavy breathing o f th e sleeper but ,

even A l ici a h er sel f w as too preo cc upi ed to notice it .

Underwood exten ded h is arms pleadingly :




Al icia for th e sake o f Aul d L ang Syne !


Aul d L ang Syne she retorted , I w ant to .

forget the past Th e old memori es are distasteful


. .

My only obj ect in com i ng h ere to n ight w as to -

make th e situation pl ai n to you and to ask you



t promi se m e not to car ry out you r threat to ki ll
o

y o u rse l
. f W h y sh oul d yo u ki ll yo u r se l f ? O n ly
cowards do that Because you are in trouble ?

Th at is th e cow ard s w ay out L eav e New York



. .

Go where you are n ot known You are sti ll you ng . .

Begi n l i fe over again somewhere else , Advanci ng .


9

tow ard him she went on : I f you wi ll do thi s I wi ll


,

help you I never want to see you again but I ll


.
,

try n ot to thi n k o f you unki ndly But you must .

promise m e solemnly not to m ake any attempt


.

agai n st you r l i f e

.


I promi se nothing muttered Underwood dog

,

10 9
THE THIRD DEGREE
th e h me of being assoc i ated in any w ay with a
s a

su icide .I w as af raid you meant what you said .



A frai d interrupted Underwood bitterly that
,

,

some o f th e sc an d al might reach as f ar as th e ari s

tocratic M rs H ow ard J eff ri es Sr


.
, .

Her face u shed w ith anger Al ici a paced up and ,

down th e room T he man s taunts stung h er to the


.

quick In a w ay sh e felt that h e w as right Sh e


.
, .

ought to h ave gu essed h is charact er l ong ag o and

h ad n othi ng to do with him He seem ed desperate .

enough to do an ythi ng yet sh e d oubted i f h e h ad


,

the cou rage to ki ll himsel f Sh e thought sh e woul d


.

try more con ci l i ato ry meth ods so stoppi ng short , , ,

she said more gent ly :


You know h ow my h usban d h as su ffered
through th e w r etch ed marri age o f his on ly son .

You kn ow h ow d eeply w e both feel thi s di sgrace


n ,

and yet you woul d add

Underw ood laughed mocki ngly .


Why sh ould I consideryourh usband s feel i ngs

he cri ed

.He didn t consider mi ne when h e m ar

ri ed you .S u dden ly bendi ng fo rward every nerve



,

tense he conti n ued hoarsely : Al ici a I tell you I m


,

,

desperate I m hemm ed in on all sides by creditors



. .

III
THIRD DEGREE
THE

You know w hat your fri en dship you r patronage
means? If you drop m e now you r f ri ends wi ll ,


follow th ey re a lot o f sheep led by you and when

my creditors hear of m e they ll be down on me l ike

a ock o f wol ves I m not able to m ake a settle



.


m ent . Pri son stares m e in the face .

Glancing around at th e handsome furnishings ,

Al ici a repl ied carelessly :



I m not responsible for your wrongdoing I

.

want to protect my f ri ends I f they are a lot o f .

sheep as you say th at is preci sely why I sh oul d w arn


,

them They have implicit condence in m e You


. .

have borrow ed th ei r money cheated them at cards , ,

stol en f rom them You r acqu aintance with me has


.

g i v en th em th e o pp o rt u nity B u t n ow I ve fou nd
.

y o u out I
. ref u se a n y l on ger to sacri c e my

f riends my sel f respec t my sen se o f decency
,
-
, .


Angri ly she continued : You thought you coul d
bluff m e You ve adopted this coward s w ay o f
.

forcing me to receive you agai nst my will Well .


,

you ve fai led I wi ll not sanction your robbing



.

my f ri ends I will n ot allow you to sell them any


.

more o f you r high priced rubbish or permit you to


-
,


cheat them at cards .

I 12
THE THIRD DEGREE
Underwood l i stened in si lence He stood mo .
m

tionless watching h er u shed f ace as sh e heaped re


,

p ro a ch es on him S h e w as pra ctically


. pr o n o un ci ng
h is death sentence yet h e coul d not h elp thi nking ,

h ow pretty sh e looked When she had ni shed he .

sai d n oth i ng bu t going to his desk h e o ened a


, ,
p , .

small draw er an d t ook o ut a revolver .

Alici a recoi led f rightened , .


Wh at are you going to do she cried .

Underwood smi led bitterly .


Oh don t be afraid I wouldn t do it while you
,

.

are here In spite o f all you ve said to m e I still



.
,

thi nk too m u c h o f you for that



Replacing .

th e pi stol in th e d raw er h e added :



Al icia i f you , ,

desert m e now you ll be sorry to the day o f you r



,


death .

His vi sitor look ed at him m si lence Then con .


,

tem ptuously sh e said : ,


I don t beli eve you i ntend to carry out your

threat I shoul d have known fro m the rst that


.

you r obj ect w as to f righten m e T h e pi stol display .

w as high ly th eat ric al but it w as only a blu ,


.

You ve no more idea o f taking you r l i fe than I have


o f taking mine I w as f ool i sh to come here I


. .

1 13
THE THIRD DEGREE

bag , dded : I should have thrown it in th e
sh e a

w aste paper basket but on secon d thoughts I thi nk


-
, ,


I ll keep it Goo d n ight

. .


Good n ight echoed Un derwood mechanically
, .

He watched h er go d own th e long hal lw ay and


di sappear in the elevator T h en shutti ng the door. . , ,

h e came sl owly back i nto th e room and sat down

at h is desk For ten mi nutes h e sat th ere moti on


.

less h is h ead bent forw ard every l imb rel ax ed


, , .

T h ere w as deep si l ence broken only by H oward s



.
,

regu l ar breathing and th e lou d ticking o f the clock .

h e m uttered to himsel f

It s all up

, It s no .

use batt l i ng agai nst th e tid e T he strongest swim . .

m er must go u n der som e time I v e pl ayed my



.

last card and I velost Death is better than going



.

to j ai l What good is l i fe anyway withou t money ?


.

Just a moment s nerve and it wi ll all be over



.

Openi ng th e drawer in th e desk h e took out the ,

revol v er again He tu rned it over in h is h and


.

and regarded fearfully th e pol i shed su r f ac e o f the

i n strument that bridged l i fe and death He h ad .

completely forgotten Howard s presence in the

room .O n th e threshol d o f a terri ble deed h is ,

thoughts were leagu es aw ay L ike a man w ho is .

1 15
THE THIRD DEGREE
drowni ng , and c lose to death h e saw with sur
,

i si ng di sti n ct n ess a k al eidoscopic vi ew o f h is past


p r

li fe. He saw himsel f an i nnocent impulsive school ,

boy th e prid e o f a d ev oted m other th e h appy h ome


, ,

where he spent h is chi ldhood Then came th e as .

soc iati on with b ad c ompan i ons th e rst step in ,

wrongd oi ng steal ing out o f a comrade s pocket in


,

school th e d eath o f h is mother leavi ng h ome


, ,
with
downward progress unti l h e gradual ly dri fted i nto
h is present di sh onest w ay o f l ivi ng What w as the .

g oo d o f re g re t s ? H e c oul d n ot r ec all h is m oth er


to l i fe. He coul d never reh abi l itat e him sel f among
decen t m en and w om en . T h e wo rl d h ad su dd enly
become too small for him He mu st go and .
,

q u ic k ly.

Fi ngeri ng th e pistol n ervously he sat before the ,

mirror an d pl aced it agai nst h is temple T he col d .

st eel gav e him a su dd en sh ock He wondered i f it


.

woul d hu rt an d i f there woul d be i nstan t obl ivion


, .

T he glare o f th e el ectric l ight in the room di scon


certed him . I t occu rred to hini th at it would be
easi er in th e d ark . Reaching out h is arm h e tu rned ,

th e el ectric butt on and th e room w as imm edi at ely


,

p l u n g ed in t o d a rkn es
, s exc ept fo r t h e m oonl igh t
1 16
which entered th rough th e wi ndows imparti ng a
,

ghost ly aspect to the scene O n the other side o f


.

th e room behi n d the screen a red glow f rom th e


, ,

open re f ell on th e sleepi ng form of H oward

Je ff ri
. es

S lowly del iberately Underwood rai sed the pi stol


, ,

to h is temple and red .

i1 1 7
THE THIRD DEGREE
h ad heard a w oman s h e knew


voice a voice .

Perhaps that w as only a dream He mu st have .

been asleep some time becau se th e l ights w ere out ,

and seemi ngly ev erybod y h ad gone to b ed


, ,
He .

w ondered wh at th e n oi se whi ch st art l ed h im coul d

h ave been S uddenly h e heard a groan He


. .

li stened i n tent ly bu t all w as sti ll T h e si lence w as


, .

uncan ny .

N ow th orough ly f rightened H oward cauti ou sly ,

g ro ped h i s w ay a bo u t try i n g to n d th e el,ec t ric


button He h ad no idea what time it w as I t mu st
. .

be v ery late What an ass h e w as to dri nk so


.

m u ch ! He won d ered what Annie w oul d say when


h e didn t ret urn

He w as a h oun d to let h er sit up
.

and w orry l ik e th at Well thi s woul d be a l esson


.
,

to him it w as th e l ast time h e d ever t ou ch a drop



.

O f cou rse h e h ad prom i sed h er th e same thi ng a


,

hundred times before but thi s time he meant it , .

His drinki ng w as al ways getting him i nto some fool


scrape o r oth er .

He w as gradually worki ng h is w ay along th e


room when suddenly h e stumbled over somethi ng
,

on th e fl oor I t w as a m an ly i ng prostrate
. .

Stooping h e recognized th e gu re
, .

1 19
THE THIRD DEGREE


Why it s Underw ood !

xcl aimed
he e .

At rst he bel i eved his classmate w as asl eep yet ,

considered it strange that h e shoul d h ave selected


so un com f or tabl e a pl ace {I hen it occu rred to
.

h im th at h e might be i ll Shaki ng h im by the


.

sh oul der h e cried :


,


Hey Un derw ood what s th e matter ?
, ,

N o response came f rom th e prostrate gure .

How ard stooped l ower to see better an d accident


, ,

a lly tou chi ng Un derw oo d s f ac e f ou n d it c l ammy



,

an d w et He h eld h is h an d up in th e moonl ight


.

a nd saw th at it w as cov ered with bl ood Horror .

stricken h e cri ed :
,


n
My God ! He s bl eedi g h e s hurt !

What h ad happened ? A n accident or worse ?


Q u ick ly h e f el t th e m an s pul se I

t h ad c eased .

to beat Underwood w as dead


. .

For a momen t H oward w as too m u ch overcom e


by h is di scovery to know what to think or do .

What dread ful tragedy could have happened ?


Carefully gropi ng along the mantelpiece h e at last ,

foun d th e electric button and tu rned on th e l ight .

There stretch ed out on the oor lay Underwood


, , ,

with a bullet hole in h is l eft temple from which ,

1 20
THE THIRD DEGREE
blood h ad ow ed freely down on h is full dress shirt -
.

I t w as a ghastly sight T h e man s white set f ac e


. .

, ,

covered with a crimson stream m ad e a repul sive ,

spect ac l e . O n th e oo r near th e body w as a high ly


pol i shed revolver still smoki ng
, .

Howard s rst suppositi on w as that bu rglars


h ad entered th e pl ac e and that Und erwood h ad

been ki lled whi le defen ding h is property He re .

membered now that in h is drunken sleep h e h ad


heard voices in angry altercation Yet why h adn t .

h e call ed for assi stan ce ? P erhaps h e h ad and h e


hadn t heard him

.

He looked at th e cl ock an d w as su rpri sed to n d


,

i t w as n ot yet m idn ight He bel i eved it w as at


.

least v e o cl ock in th e m o rn i ng

It w as evident
.

that Un derwood h ad never gone to bed T h e .

sh ooti ng h ad occ u rred eith er whi l e th e an ry dis


g
p u t e w as go i ng o n or af t er th e u nkno w n vi sito r h ad
departed T he barrel o f the revolver w as sti ll
.

warm showing that it coul d only have been dis


,

charged a few moment s before S udden ly it .

ashed upon him th at Underwood might have


committed su icide .

B u t it w as usel ess to stand there theorizi ng .

I ZI
THE THIRD DEGREE

Who the devil are you ?

Th e m an looked astounded at the questi on and


eyed his i n ter l oc uto r cl osely as i f in d ou bt as to h is
,

identity In a cockney accent h e said lofti ly :


.


I am Ferris Mr Underwood s m an sir, .

, .


S uspici ously h e added : Are you a f rien d of Mr
, .

Underwoo d s sir ?
,

He might w ell ask th e questi on for H oward s ,


di sheveled appearan c e and ghastly f ace sti ll dis ,

torted by t error w as an ythi ng bu t reassu ring


, .

Taken by su rpri se H oward did not know wh at


I ,

to say an d l ike most peopl e questi oned at a disad


,

vant age h e answered foo l i sh ly :


,


M atter ? No W hat m akes you thi nk any
.

thing is the matter



B ru shing past the man he added : It s late ,

.

I m goi ng

.


Stop a mi nute 2 cri ed the m an servant There

-
.

w as som ethi ng in H ow ard s m an n er th at h e did not


like . Passi ng quickly i nto th e sitti ng room he ,

called out ; Stop a minute ! But H ow ard did not


stop .Terror ga ve him wi ngs and withou t w aiti ng ,

for th e elevator h e w as al ready h al f w ay dow n


,

th e rst staircase wh en h e heard sh out s behi n d h im .

1 23
THE THIRD DEGREE

M u rder ! Stop thief ! Stop that m an ! Stop
that m an !

There w as a ru sh o f feet and h u m o f voices ,

which m ade How ard run all th e faster He leaped .

down fou r steps at a time in h is anxiety to get


aw ay But it w as no easy matter descen di ng so
.

many ights o f stairs I t took him sev eral minu tes


.

to reach the mai n oo r .

By thi s time the whole hotel w as aroused Tele .

phone call s h ad qu ickly w am ed the atten dants w ho ,

h ad promptly sent for th e pol ice By the time


.

H ow ard reached th e main entran ce he w as i nter


cepted by a m ob too n um erou s to resi st .

Things certainly looked black for him A s h e .

sat, white and trembl i ng un der guard in ,

a corner o f th e en trance hall w aiting for ,

th e arrival o f th e pol ice th e v al et breathl essly gave


,

th e sensati onal partic ul ars to th e rapid ly growi ng

crow d o f cu ri ous onl ookers He h ad t aken h is


.

u sual S un day out and on retu rn ing h ome at m id


n ight as w as h is cu stom h e h ad let him sel f in with
, ,

h is l atchk ey T o h is aston i shment h e had foun d


.

thi s m an th e pri son er abou t to leave th e prem


, ,

ises His mann er and remark s were so pecul i ar


.

1 24
THE THIRD DEGREE
th at they at once aroused h is suspicion He hu r .

ri ed i nto th e apartment and found h is master ly ing


dead on the oor in a pool o f bl ood In h is hu rry .

th e assassi n h ad dropped his revolver which w as ,

lyi ng n ear th e corpse As far as h e could see .


,

no thi ng h ad been t ak en f rom th e apartm en t Evi .

dently th e m an w as di st u rbed at h is work and when ,

sudd enly su rpri sed h ad m ad e th e b lu ff th at h e w as


,

call i ng on Mr Un derwoo d They had got the


. .

right m an that w as c ertai n He w as caught red


, .

han ded an d in proo f of what h e said the val et


, ,

po i n t ed to H o w ard s right h an d

which w a s sti ll ,

cov ered with bl ood .


How t errible ! excl aimed a woman bystander

,

averti ng h er f ace

So you ng too
.
,


It s all a mi stake I tell you It s all a mi stake

.
, ,

cri ed Howard almost pan ic stricken


,

I m a friend-
.

o f Mr Un derwood s
. .


N ice f ri end l sn eered an onlooker

.


Tell that to the pol ice l aughed anoth er , .


O r to th e marines ! cried a third

.

opined a f ou rth

It s th e ch air for hi s n

.

By thi s time th e mai n ent rance h all w as c rowded


with peopl e tenants and passers by attracted by the
,
-

12 5
THE THIRD DEGREE
g ruly, an d looking f rom Ferri s to the white faced -

Howard T he valet eagerly tol d h is story :


.


I came home at midn ight sir and found my , ,

m aster Mr Robert Un derwood ly ing d ead in th e


, .
,


apartment shot through th e h ead
, Poi nting to .

How ard he added : Thi s m an w as in the apart


,

ment tryi ng to get away You see h is han d is sti ll


.


covered with blood .

Captai n Cli nton chuckled and expandi ng h is ,

mighty chest to its fullest l icked h is chops with sat,

isfaction Thi s w as the oppo rtu n ity h e h ad been


.

o o
l ki ng for a sensati onal mu rder in a big apart
ment hotel right in the very heart of h is preci nct !
,

Nothi ng coul d be m ore to h is l iking I t w as a .

rich man s mu rder th e best ki n d to attract att en



,

ti on to himsel f Th e sensational newspapers would


.

be full o f th e case They woul d prin t columns of


.

stuff every day t ogeth er with h is portrait


, T hat .

w as ju st th e ki nd o f publ icity he need ed now

that he w as wire pull ing for an i nspectorship


- .


They had c aught the m an with the goods that

w as v ery c l ear He promi sed himsel f to attend to


.

the rest .Convicti on w as what he w as after He d .


see th at no tricky l awyer g ot the best of h im .

1 27
THE THIRD DEGREE
Conceal ing as well as h e could h is sati sfaction h e
, , ,

drew himsel f u p and with blu steri ng show o f au ,

th o rity immedi at el y took comm an d o f th e sit u ati on


, .

T u rn i ng to a pol ice sergeant at h is side h e said :


. ,


M aloney thi s fellow m ay have h ad an aecom
,

p lice T a
.k e fou r o f c er s an d w atc h ev ery exit

from the hotel Arrest anybody att empting to


.

l eave the bu i ldi ng Put tw o of cers to w atch


.

th e re escapes Send one m an on th e roof


. .

Go

Yes sir repl ied the sergeant as h e tu rned aw ay
, , ,

to ex ec u te the orders .

Captain Cl inton gave tw o strides forward and ,

catchi ng Howard by the collar j erked him to his ,

f eet .


Now young feller you come with m e ! We ll

, ,

g o up st airs an d h a ve a l oo k at th e d ead m a n

.

Howard w as at no time an athlete and now , ,

cont rasted with th e bu rly pol ic eman a c ol ossu s in ,

str eng th h e seemed l ike a pu ny boy


, His cri ng .

ing f rightened attitu de as h e look ed u p in th e


, ,

captain s bull dog face w as pathetic Th e crowd


, .

o f byst an d ers coul d hard ly c on tai n their eagerness

to take in every detai l o f th e dramatic situation .

1 28
THE THIRD DEGREE
T h e pri soner w as so e b r by thi s time , and thoroughly
aal rmed .



Wh at do you w an t me for ? h e cri ed I .

haven t done any thi ng T h e man s dead but I



.
,

didn t ki ll him

.


Shut your mou th ! growl ed the captain
.

D raggi ng How ard after him h e made h is w ay to ,

th e elev ator Th rowi ng h is p ri soner i nto th e cage


.
,

h e tu rn ed to give o rders to h is subordi nate .


M alon ey you come up w ith m e and bri ng Offi cer
,

D elan ey Addressing the other m en h e said :


.
3
,

You oth er f ell ers look after thi ngs down here

Don t let any o f these peopl e come upstairs Then



, ,

tu rn i ng to th e el evator boy h e gave th e command : ,


Up with her .

T h e elevator with its passengers shot upward


, , ,

st opped with a j erk at th e fou rt eenth oor and th e ,

captai n once more l ayi ng a brutal h an d on Howard


, ,

pu shed him out i nto th e corridor .

I f it could be said o f Captai n Cli nton that he had


any sy stem at all it w as to be as bru t al as po ssib l e
,

with everybody unlucky enough to fall into h is


hands I n stead of regardi ng h is pri soners as
.

innocent unti l found gu i l ty as they are ju stly en ,

1 29
THE THIRD DEGREE
beat h is pri soners into con fessi ons
With h is .

third deg ree seances h e arrived at results better


an d more qu ick ly th an in any o th er w ay All h is .

con victions h ad been secu red by them Th e press .

an d medd l i n g bu sy bo di es c all ed h is sy st em barbar


-

o us, a reviv al o f th e old time t ort u re chamber


-
.

W hat did h e c are what th e peopl e said as l ong as


h e convicted h is m an ? W asn t that wh at h e w as

paid for He w as there to n d th e mu rderer and


?
,

he w as going to do it .

He push ed h is w ay into th e apartment followed ,

closely by Maloney and the other policemen w h o ,

dragged al ong th e unhappy H ow ard T h e dead .

m an sti ll lay where h e h ad fallen Captai n Cl i nton


.

stooped d ow n but m ade n o att empt to tou ch th e


,

corpse merely satisfyi ng himsel f that Underw ood


,

w as d ead
. Then after a c asual su rvey o f th e room
.
, ,

h e said to h is sergean t :

We won t touch a thing M aloney till the cor

, ,

oner arriv es He ll be here any minute an d he ll


.

give the order for th e und ertaker You can call .

up headquarters so th e new spaper boys get th e


st o ry

.

Whi le the sergean t went to the telephone to


13 1 '
THE THIRD DEGREE
carry out these orders Captai n Cl in ton tu rned to
,

look at How ard w ho had collapsed white and


, ,

t rembli ng i nto a chair


, .


What do you want with m e ? cri ed How ard


appeal i ngly I assu re you I ve had nothi ng to do

.

w ith thi s My wi fe s expecting me home Can t


.

.

I go ?


Shut up ! thundered th e captain .

His arms fol ded h is eyes sternly xed upon him


, ,

Captain Cli nton stood con f ronti ng the un fortunate


youth stari ng at him without say i ng a word T he
, .

persi stence of h is stare made Howard squ irm I t .

w as d ecided ly u npl easant He did not mi n d the


.

deten tion so much as thi s man s overbeari ng bully


,

ing manner He knew he w as i nnocen t therefore


.
,

h e h ad nothi ng to fear But w h y w as thi s pol ice


.

captai n stari ng at him so ? Whichever w ay h e sat ,

w hich ev er w ay h is eyes tu rn ed h e saw thi s bull dog


,

faced pol iceman stari ng si lently at him Un known .

to him , Captai n Cl inton had al ready begun the



dreaded pol ice ordeal known as the thi rd degree .

1 32
THE THIRD DEGREE

C H APTER I! .

IFT EEN minu tes passed withou t a word be


ing spoken . There w as deep si lence in the
room . I t w as so qu iet that one coul d have
h eard a pin drop . Had a di si nterested spectator
been there to witness it h e woul d have been at
,

once impressed by th e dramatic tabl eau presen ted

th e dead m an on th e oo r h is white shirt f ront,

spattered with b l oo d th e cri n i n g fri ht ened b o


, g g ,y
c rou ching in th e chair th e tow eri ng gu re o f th e
,

p ol ic e c apt ai n sitti n g st ernly ey ei ng his h apl ess pri s

oner an d at th e far en d o f th e room D et ect ive Ser


,

g e a n t M a loney busy sending h u rried messages


through th e t el ephone .


What did you do it for ? thundered the cap
tai n su dd enly .

Howard s tongue clove to h is palate He coul d



.

scarcely artic ulate .He w as innocen t of cou rse , ,

but there w as something in thi s m an s manner

which made him fear th at h e mi ght aft er all have , ,

1 33
po l ice captai n had no right to detain him like thi s .

He mu st get word to Annie with out delay S um .

mon ing up all his cou rage he said bol dly : ,


You are d etai ni ng m e h ere with out w arran t in
law . I know my rights I am th e son of one of .

the most i nuenti al m en in the city



.


Wh at s you r name grow led th e captain

.


Howard J eff ries .

Son o f H oward Jeff ries the banker ?



,

How ard nodded .


Yes .

T hecaptain turned to his sergeant .


Maloney thi s fell er says h e s the son of
,


ard J eff ri es the banker , .

M aloney leaned over and whi spered something


in the captain s ear T h e captain smi led grimly

. .


So you re a bad character eh Father tu rned

, ,

you out o f d oo rs e h ? W h ere s th at gir


,l yo u r a n


aw ay with Sharply he added : You see I know
you r record
.


I ve d one noth i ng I m ashamed of
repl i ed

,

H ow ard calmly
I marri ed the girl She s wait
. .

ing my ret u rn now Won t you pleaselet m e send .



her a message ?
I SS
T he captai n eyed Howard suspiciously for a
moment then h e tu rned to h is sergeant :
,


Maloney telephone thi s man s wi fe What s

.
,


th e number ?

E ighty six Mom ingside



-
.

Maloney again got bu sy with th e telephone an d


the weary ing w ait began once more T h e c l ock

soon stru ck tw o For a whol e hou r he h ad


.

been subj ected to this gruelli ng process and ,

sti ll th e lynx eyed capt ai n sat there w atching h is


-

q u a rry
.

I f Captain Cl inton had begun to h ave any


doubts when How ard t ol d him w ho h is father w as ,

Maloney s in form ation immediately put him at h is


ease. It w as all c lear to him now I h e youth had .

never been any good His own father h ad kicked


.

h im out He w as in desperate nan cial straits


. .

He h ad come to thi s man s rooms to make a demand


for money Underw ood h ad refused and there


.

w as a qu arrel an d he sh ot him
, Th ere w as prob.

ably a di spu te over th e w oman Ah yes h e re .


, ,

membered now Thi s girl he married w as for


.

merly a sweetheart o f Underwood s J ealousy w as



.

behind it as well Besides wasn t he caugh t red


.
,

I 36
THE THIRD DEGREE
handed with bloo d on h is hands try ing to escape
, ,

f rom th e apartment ? Oh they had him dead to ,

rights all right Any magi strate woul d hol d h im


, .

on su ch evid en c e .


It s th e Tomb s for him all right all right

, , ,


m u ttered the captai n to h im self ; and m aybe pro

moti on for m e .

Su dden ly there w as a commotion at the door .

T h e coroner entered followed by th e und ertaker, .

T h e tw o m en advanced qu ickly i nto the room and ,

took a look at th e body A fter maki ng a hasty .

ex ami nati on the coroner t u rned to C aptain Cl in


,


Well Captain I guess h e s dead all right
, ,

, .


Yes and we ve got our man too

, , .

Th e coroner tu rned to l ook at th e pri soner .


Caught him red handed eh ? Who is he -
,

Howard w as about to blu rt out a reply w hen ,

the c aptai n th undered :



Silence
T o th e coroner the captain expl ai ned :
,


He s th e scapegrace son of H ow ard J eff ri es

,

th e bank er No .

good bad egg His father .

turned him out o f doo rs There is no questi on .

1 37
.
THE THIRD D EGREE

Not just et
y ,

grinned th e captain . I want

to put a few qu estions to him rst .

. The coroner smi l ed .


You re goi ng to put him th rough the third de

g re e eh ? , E v

ery one s h eard o f you r star ch amb er

-

ordeals A re th ey really so dreadful


.


Nonsen se ! laughed the captain
We .

w oul dn t h arm a baby w ould w e Maloney



,

{1 he serg ean t quickly endorsed his chief s


ion .


N0 , cap .

Tu rni ng to go, the


. coroner said :

Well good night captai n , , .


Good n ight Mr Coroner , . .

Howard l i stened to al l th is like one transx ed .

{Th ey seemed to b e talki ng abou t him They w ere .

discussi ng some f right ful ordeal o f which h e w as



to be th e victim Wh at w as this third degree "
.

th ey w ere talki n g about ? Now h e rem embered .

He h ad heard o f i nnocent m en bei ng bull i ed m al ,

treated deprived oi food and sleep for days in


, ,

o rder to f o rce them to t ell wh at th e po l ic e w ere

an xi ou s to nd out He h ad heard of secret as .

saul ts of midn ight c lubbi ngs of pri soners bei ng


, ,

1 39
THE THIRD D EGREE
choked and brutally kicked by a gang of ruianly
pol icemen in orderd o force them into some dam
,

agi ng admi ssi on A chi ll ran down h is spine as he


.

realized his utter helplessness I f he could only .

g e t w o rd to a l aw y er Ju st as th e c or on er w
. as

d i sappeari ng th rough th e door h e darted forw ard ,

an d l aid a h and on h is arm .


Mr Coroner won t you l i sten to m e ? h e ex
.
,

claimed .

T he coroner startl ed drew back


, , .


I cannot i nter fere h e said col dly

, .



Mr Underwood w as a f ri end of mine
.
,

expl ai ned Howard


I came here to bo rrow
.

m oney . I fell asleep on that sofa When I woke .

up he w as dead I w as f rightened I tri ed


. .

to get away That s the truth so h elp m e


.
,


God !
The co roner looked at him sternly and made no
reply No one could ev er reproach him w ith
.

sympathizi ng with crimin al s W avi ng h is h and .

at C aptai n Cl i nton h e said : ,


Good night captai n , .



Good night Mr Coroner , . .

Th e door slammed and Captain Cl inton wi th a ,

1 40
THE THIRD DEGREE
twi st of his powerful arm yanked his pri soner ,

back into his seat H ow ard protested


. .


You ve got no right to treat m e l ike thi s You

.

exceed your powers I demand to be taken before


.


a magi strat e at once .

T h e captai n grinned and poi nt ed to the clock


, .

Say young f eller see what time it is ? T w o



, ,

thirty A M O u r good magi strates are all com fy


. .

in their virtuou s beds We ll have to wait till


.


mo rn ing .


But what s the good o f sitting here in this

death house ? pro tested Howard



Take me to .

the stati on i f I mu st go It s intol erable to sit



.

any longer h ere



.

T h e capt ai n beckoned to M aloney .

Not so f ast young m an B efore w e go to the



.
,

stati on w e w an t to ask you a f ew questi ons Don t



.

w e M al on ey

T h e sergeant came over an d the captain w h is ,

pered somethi ng in h is ear H oward shivered . .

S udd en ly tu rn ing to his prisoner the captain ,

shout ed in th e stern t one o f comman d :



Get up !
Howard did as h e w as ordered He felt he must . .

14 1
THE THIR D DEGREE
The captain glared at h im for a moment and
then su ddenly tri ed new t acti cs .


Why did you come here ? h e demanded .


I came to bo rrow money .


D id you get it ?

N o h e said h e could n t give it to m e

.


Then you ki lled him .


I did not ki ll him repl ied How ard positively

, .

Thus th e searching ex ami nation wen t on merci ,

lessly tirel essly


, T h e same questi on s th e same
.
,

answ ers th e same accusations the same den i al s


, , ,

hou r after hour T he captai n w as tired but bei ng a


.
, ,

g i an t in ph y si qu e h e c oul
, d s t an d it H e k new .

that h is v ictim could n ot I t w as only a question


.

o f time when th e latter s resi stance woul d be w eak


ened . Th en he w oul d st0 p lying and tell the truth .

Th t a

s all h e w ant d e th e tru th .


You shot him

I did not
.


You re ly ing !


n
I m ot lying it s the truth
.

So it W ent on hour after h ou r relentlessly piti


, , ,

lessly whi le th e pati ent M al oney in the obscure


, ,

background took notes


, .

1 43
he sat d ow n . The act w as al most invol un tary .

Natu re w as giving w ay .



I can t stand any more

h e murm u red , .

Wh at s the good o f all these questions? I tell


y ou I did n t d o it

.

He sank helplessly on to a chair His eyes rolled


in h is head He looked as i f h e woul d faint


. .


Stan d up I thundered th e captain angri ly .

How ard obeyed mechanically al though h e reeled ,

in th e eff ort To steady himsel f h e caught hol d o f


.
,

th e table His strength w as fast ebbi ng He w as


. .

l osi ng h is power to resi st Th e captain saw h e .

w as w eaken i n a n d h mi l d with ati facti n


g e s , e s s o .

He d soon get a con fessi on out o f him Su ddenly



.

bendi ng forw ard so that h is erce determi ned


, ,

st are gl ared ri ght i n to How ard s h al f c l osed eyes



-
,

h e shou ted :

You did it and you kn ow you did !

No I repl i ed Howard weakly .


These repeated denials are useless shouted the

captai n .
There s al read y enough eviden ce to sen d

y o u to th e ch air !

How ard shook h is head h elplessly Weakly he .

I 45
THE THIRD DEGRE E

Thi s constant questi on i ng is maki ng m e dizzy .

Good God ! What s th e use o f questi on i ng me an d



questi on ing m e ? I know nothi ng abou t it .


Why did you come here ? thundered the cap
tai n .


I ve tol d you over and over agai n We re old

.

fri en ds I came to bo rrow money He ow ed


. .

m e a few h un dred dollars when w e w ere at coll ege


t ogeth er and I tried to get it I ve tol d you so
, .

man y times You won t believe m e My brain is


.

.

t ired I m thoroughly exh au sted Please let m e


.

.

M y p oo r wi fe w on t know w hat s th e m atter



g .o .


Never mi nd about you r wi fe growled th e ,

captai n

We ve sent for h er How much did
.

.

y ou try to b o rrow ?

Howard w as si len t a moment as i f racki ng his ,

brai n tryi ng to remember


,
.



A thou sand tw o thousand I forget I thi nk . .

one th ousan d

.


D id h e say h e d len d you the money ? de

manded th e i nqu i sitor .


No replied th e pri soner w ith hesitation He
,

,
.

coul dn t
h e poor ch ap he



Ah snapped th e captai n

He refused that .

1 46
led to words Th ere w as a qu arrel and
.
,

Suddenly lean i ng forward unti l h is face almost


touched H ow ard s he hi ssed rather th an spoke :

,

You shot him !

Howard gave an involuntary step backward as ,

i f he real ized th e trap being l aid for him .


No no 1 h e cri ed
, .

Qu ickly following up h is advan tage Captain ,

Cli nton shouted dramatically :


You lie ! He w as fou n d on th e oor in this


room dead You w ere trying to get out of the
.

house w ithout being seen You hadn t even .


stopped to w ash th e blood off your h an d s All you .

fellers make mi stakes You rel ied on getting .

aw ay unseen You never stopped to thi nk th at


.

the blood on your han ds w oul d betray you


"
.


Grufy h e added Now come what s the use o f

, ,

wasting all thi s time ? I t w on t go so hard with

y o u i f you o w n up Y ou k i ll ed R o
. bert U n d er

wood l
Howard shook his head There w as a pathetic .

expressi on o f h elplessness on h is f ac e .


I didn t kill h im he faltered

,I w as asleep .

on th at so fa I woke u p I t w as dark I went


. . .

I47
w ell un der th e l ight so that the rays f rom th e
,

el ectrol i er fell direct ly on its highly pol i sh ed sur

face h e shou ted :


,


How ard J eff ries you shot Robert Underw ood
, ,

an d you sh ot him w ith thi s pi stol !


Howard gazed at the shi n ing su r face o f th e


m etal as i f fasci nated He Spoke not a word but
.
,

h is eyes became riveted on th e weapon u nti l h is


face assum ed a vacant stare From the scienti c
.

stan dpoi n t th e act o f hypn oti sm h ad been accom


,

p lish ed In. h is ne rv ou s a n d o ver f atigu ed st at e ,

added to h is su sceptibi l ity to qu ick h ypnosi s h e w as ,

now directly un der th e i n u ence o f C aptai n Cl i n

t on s stronger wi ll directi ng his weaker wi ll He



, .

w as c ompl etely rec eptive T he past seem ed all


.

a b lu r on h is mi nd He saw the ash o f steel and


.

th e pol ice capt ai n s angry d eterm ined looki ng f ace



-
.
,

He fel t h e w as powerless to resi st th at w i ll any


longer He stepped back and gave a shu dder
.
,

av erti ng his ey es f rom th e b l in di ng steel Captain .

Cl i nton qu ickly followed up h is advant age :


You c omm itted thi s crime H oward J effri es !

,

he shou ted xi ng him with a stare


, T o h is sub .

ordi nate h e shou ted : D id n t h e M aloney



,

I 49

He ki ll ed h im all right,
choed M aloney
e .

His eyes sti ll x ed h


on t ose o f h is victim, and

appro aching his face d am to h is the captai n ,

sh ou ted :


You did it J eff ri es ! Come on ow n up ! L et s
, ,

have the tru th ! You shot Robert Underwood w ith


thi s revol ver You did it and you can t den y i t !
.
,

You kn ow you can t deny it ! Speak l h e th un



:


dered . You did it !
Howard h is eyes still fixed on the shining pistol
, ,

repeated as i f reci ting a lesson :


,


I did it
Quickly Captain Cl inton signaled to M al oney to
approach nearer w ith h is notebook T he detecti ve
.

sergean t t ook h is place imm edi ately back o f Ho w

ard . T h e c aptai n tu rn ed to h is pri son er :



You shot Robert Underwood 1


I sh ot Robert Underw ood repeated How ard ,
"

mechan ically .


You quarreled

We quarreled
.


You c ame here for m oney !

I came here for money .


He ref u sed to give it to you l

1 50
THE THIRD DEGREE

He refu sed give it to me
to .


There w as a quarrel !


There w as a quarrel .


You drew th at pi stol !


I drew that pi stol .


A nd shot him l
A n d sh ot him

.

Captai n Cl inton smi led tri umphantly .


That s all he said

, .

Howard coll apsed into a ch air His head .

dropped forw ard on h is breast as if h e were ,

asleep . Captain Cl inton yawned and looked at


h is watch Tu rn i ng to M al oney he said with a
.
,

chuckl e :

By George ! it s taken ve hou rs to get it out of


him I
M aloney tu rned out th e electric l ights and went
to pull up th e wi ndow shad es letti ng th e brigh t ,

dayl ight stream i nto th e room S uddenly there .

w as a rin
g at th e f r ont d oo r O f c er D el aney .

o pened and D r
, Bernst ein entered A dvanci ng
. .

i n to the room he shook hands with the captai n


, .


I m sorry I coul dn t come before captain I

, .


w as out when I got th e c all Wh ere s the body ?
.

151
Captain Cl i nton frowned He didn t l ike sug .

gesti ons o f th at ki n d af t er a c on fessi on which had

cost him ve hou rs work to procu re


.



Su icide ? h e sneered Say doctor did you .
, ,

happen to n otice what side o f th e head th e w ound



w as on ?

D r B ernstei n reected a moment


. .


Ah yes Now I come to thi nk o f it it w as the
, .
,

l eft side
.



Preci sely sneered the captain I never heard
, .

o f a su icid e shooti ng himsel f in th e lef t temple .

Don t wo rry d octo r it s mu rder all right Point



, , , .

ing with a j erk o f h is nger toward H oward he ,


added : An d w e ve got th e man w ho did th e


j ob .

O fcer Del aney approached his chief and spoke


to him in a low tone T he captai n frowned and .

looked toward h is prisoner Then tu rning tow ard .


,

th e of cer h e said : ,


Is th e wi f e down stairs ?

Th e of cer nodded .


Yes sir they ju st t elephoned
, , .


Then let h er com e up said the captain She , .


may know something .

I S3
THE THIRD DEGREE
D elaney returned to the telephone and D r B ern .

st ein t u rned to th e c aptai n :

Say what you will captain I m n ot at all su re



, ,

that Und erwood did not do thi s himsel f .



Ai n t you ? Well I am repl ied the captain

, ,

w ith a sn eer Pointi ng again to Howard he said :


.
,

Thi s m an h as ju st con f essed to th e shooti ng



.

A t that moment th e f ront d oor opened an d An ni e

!Je ff ri es c am e in esc o rt ed by an of c er Sh e w.as

ale and f righten ed an d l ooked timid ly at th e


p ,

group of strange and seri ou s looking m en present


-
.

Then h er eyes went roun d the room in search of


.

h er h u sband Sh e saw him seemi ngly asl eep in an


.

armch air ,h is wrists m anac led in f ront o f hi m .

W ith a f ri ghtened ex clamation she sprang forward ,

but Ofcer Delaney i ntercept ed her Captain .

Cl inton turned aroun d angrily at th e i nterruption :



K eep th e w oman qu i et ti ll sh e s w an ted !

he

g r o w l ed.

Anni e sat timidly on a ch air in th e background


and th e c aptain tu rned agai n to th e doct or .


Wh at s that you were saying doctor ?

,


You tell m e the m an conf essed ?

Crossing th e room to where Howard sat Dr , .

1 54
THE THIRD DEGREE
B ernstein looked c losely at him Apparently th e .

pri soner w as asleep His eyes were c losed and his


.

head drooped forw ard on his chest He w as ghastly .

pale.

The c ap tain g ri nned .



Yes sir con fessed 4 n th e presence of th ree
, ,


w it nesses Eh sergean t ?
.
,

Yes sir repli ed Maloney



.
, ,


You h eard him too didn t you Del an ey 2
"
, , .


Yes captai n

, .

S quaring his huge shoul ders th e captain said ,

with a sel f satised chuckle :


-


I t took us ve h ou rs to get him to ow n up but ,

w e got it out o f him at las

The d oc to r w as sti ll busy w ith his exami nati on .


He seems to be asl eep Worn out I guess .
, .

s
Five h ou r yes t h at s your method captai n
,

, .


Shaki ng h is head h e w ent on : I don t bel i eve in
,

these all night exami nations and your th i rd de


-

gree mental to rture I t is barbarous Wh en a



. .

m an is nervous and fri ght ened h is brain gets so

benumbed at the end o f tw o or three h ours ques

tioning on th e same subject th at h e s li abl e to say


anythi ng o r even bel ieve anyth in


, g O f c ou r se .

I SS
THE THIRD D EGREE

That s right I m after results None of them

.

.

Psyche them es for mi ne Striding over to the


.

armchair where sat H ow ard h e l aid a rough h an d ,

o n h is sh oul der :

Hey J eff ri es wake up !



, ,

Howard O pened h is eyes and stared stupidly about


him T he captain took him by the collar of his
.

coat .



Come stand up ! B race up now 1 Tu rni ng

to S ergeant M aloney h e add ed Take h im over to
, ,

th e stati on W rite out that confession and make


.


him sign it before break fast I ll be ri ght over .

.

Howard struggled to his feet and M aloney


helped him arrange h is collar and tie Of cer De .

l aney clapped his hat on h is head D r Bernstein . .

turned to go .


Good morning captain I ll make out my re
, .


port .


Good morning doctor
, .

D r B ernstein di sappeared and Captain Clinton


.

tu rned to look at An ni e w ho h ad been w aiting pa


,

tiently in th e backgroun d Her angu ish on seeing.

Howard s condition w as unspeakable I t w as on ly



.

with dif cul ty that she restrained hersel f f rom cry


I S7
THE THIRD DEGREE
ing u hing to h is side But these stern
out an d r s .
,

un i formed m en i ntimidated her I t seemed to her .

th at H ow ard w as on tri al a pri soner perh aps his


l i f e w as in danger What coul d he h ave don e ?
.

O f cou rse h e w as i nnocent whatever th e ch arge


, ,

w as . He w ould n t harm a y Sh e w as su re o f

.

th at . But every one looked so grave and there w as ,

a big crowd gath ered in f ront o f th e h otel when


sh e c ame up Sh e th ough t sh e h ad heard th e ter
.


ri bl e w ord mu rd er bu t su rely there w as some
,

mi stake S eei ng Captain Cl i nton tu rn in her direc


.

tion sh e d arted eagerly f orward


, .


M ay I speak to him sir ? He is my h u sband ,

.


N ot ju st now repl i ed th e c aptai n not unki ndly

.
, ,

It s against th e rul es Wait ti ll w e get him to th e



-
.

Tombs You can see him all you w ant there


. .

Annie s heart sank Coul d sh e have heard



.

aright ?

T h e Tombs ! she fal t ered



Is th e ch arge so

.


seri ou s ?



Murder that s all l repli ed the captai n l aconi

cally .

Annie nearly swooned Had sh e not caught the .

back of a chai r she woul d have fallen .

1 58
THE THIRD DEGREE
T he captai n t u rned to M aloney and in a low : ,

tone said :
,


Quick ! Get him over to th e station We don t .

w an t any fami ly scenes here .


Manacled to Ofcer Del aney an d escorted on the


oth er sid e by M aloney H ow ard m ade his w ay to
,

ward th e doo r Just as he reach ed it h e caught


.

sight o f h is wi f e w ho with t ears streami ng down


,

h er ch eeks w as w atchi ng him as i f in a dream


, To .

h er it seemed like some hideou s n ightm are f rom


which both woul d soon aw aken Howard recog .

nized h er yet seemed too d az ed to wond er h ow she


,

cam e there . He simply blu rted out as h e passed :



Somethi ng s happened Anni e dear I U n

,
, .


derwood I don t qu ite kn ow

Th e pol icem en push ed h im through th e door ,

w h ich closed beh ind h im .


THE THIRD DEGREE
out and make a ght for l iberty and honor How .

ard w as i nnoc ent Sh e w as convinced o f that no


.
,

m atter how bl ack things looked against him Sh e .

would not leave a stone unturned till sh e had re


gained for him h is liberty W ith ren ewed h0 pe in .

h er heart an d resolu tion in her face sh e t u rned to ,

con f ront th e captai n .


What has h e done ? she demanded
.

K illed h is fri en d Robert Underwood



.
,

He watch ed h er face cl osely to see what eff ect


h is words woul d have on her .


Robert Underw ood dead ! ex c laimed Annie
With more su rpri se than emotion
. .


Yes said th e captain stern ly and you r hus
, ,

band Howard Jeff ries ki lled him


,

, .


That s not true ! I d never bel i eve that said

,

Anni e promptly
'
.


He s made a full con fessi on went on th e cap

,

tain.


A con fession ! she echoed uneasi ly

What .

do you mean ?


Just what I say You r h usban d h as m ade a full
.

con fessi on in th e presence o f witnesses th at h e


, ,

came h ere to Underw ood s rooms to ask f o r money



.

161
THE THIRD DEGREE
They quarreled You r hu sband drew a pi stol and
.

sh ot him He h as signed a con fessi on which wi ll


.


be p resented to th e mag i strat e thi s morn i ng .

An n ie looked staggered for a moment bu t h er ,

f ai th in h er husban d w as unshakable Almost .

hysteric ally sh e cri ed :



I don t bel ieve it I don t bel i ev e it You may

.

. ,

h ave tortured him i nto signing somethi ng Every .

body knows you r methods Captain Cl inton Bu t , .

thank Go d there is a law in th e United States


which protects the innocent as well as pun i shes th e
gu i lty I shall get th e most able l awyers to defen d
.

him even i f I have to sell mysel f i nto slavery for


th e rest o f my l i fe

.


B ravo l ittle woman ! said the captain mock
,


ingly. That s th e w ay to tal k I like you r spunk

.
,

but before you go I d l ike to ask you a few ques

tions Sit down


. .

He w aved h er to a ch air and he sat opposite h er .

Now Mrs J eff ri es



h e began encou ragi ngly

.
, , ,


t ll e did you ever hear you r hu sband th reaten
e m
H oward Underw ood ?

By thi s time Ann ie had recovered her sel f pos -

session Sh e knew th at th e best w ay to help How


.

1 62
THE THIRD DEGREE
ard w as to keep cool and to say nothing w hich w as

likely to inju re his cause Bol dly therefore


.
, , sh e

ans w ered :

You ve no righ t to ask m e that question

.

T h e c aptai n shi f ted un easi ly in h is seat He .

knew she w as withi n h er l egal rights He coul dn t



.

bully h er i nto sayi ng anything that woul d incrim i


n ate h er h u sb and .


I merely thought you would l ike to assist the
authoriti es to ,
h e stammered awkw ardly .


T o c onvict my h usb an d sh e said calmly
.
,

T hank you I un derstand my po siti on



.
. ,


You can t do him very much h arm you know

, ,

said th e c apt ai n wit h aff ect He h as



ed j oc ularity .

con fessed to th e sh ooti ng



.


I don t bel ieve it sh e said em phatic ally

,

.

T ryi ng a di ff erent tack he asked carel essly :


. ,


D id you know Mr Underwood ?
.

She h esitated before reply i ng then i n di ff erently ,

sh e said :

Yes I knew h im at one t ime He i ntroduced



.
,

m e to my hu sban

d .


Wh ere w as that ?
In New H aven Conn

.
,

1 63
By thi s time Annie h ad grow n suspicious of every
question She w as on h er guard
. .


J ealous ? What do you m ean ? No he w as not ,

j ealous There w as never any reason I refuse to


. .


answ er any mo re qu esti ons .

The captai n rose and began to pac e th e oor .


There s one little thing more Mrs Je es and

, .
,

then you can go You can help you r h usband by


.

helping us I want to put one more question to you


.

and be careful to answ er tru th f ully D id you call .

at these rooms last n ight to see Mr Under .

wood

I exclaimed An n ie with m ingled astonishment
and in dignati on

O f cou rse not
.

.


Su re ? demanded the captain eyeing h er nar ,

row ly
.


Positive said An nie rmly
, .

Th e captai n looked puzzled .


A woman called here last night to see h im h e ,

sai d th ou ght fully



and I thought th at perh aps
,

Interrupting him sel f he went qu ickly to th e door


,

o f th e apartmen t an d call ed to some one w ho w as

w aiti ng in the corrido r ou t side A boy about eigh .

teen years of age in the livery of an elevator at


,

165
THE THIRD DEGREE
ten dant entered the room T he captai n pointed to
, .

A nn i e .

Is that th e l ady

Th e boy looked carefully and then shook h is


.
,

head :


Don t think so no sir T he other lady w as a

, .

great swell .


You re su re eh ? said th e captain

, .



I thi nk so answered th e boy ,

.


Do you remember th e name she gave
.


No sir repl ied th e boy
, Ever si nce you
, .

asked m e

Ann ie arose and moved toward th e door She .

h ad no time to waste there Every momen t now .

w as preciou s She mu st get legal assi stance at


.

onc e .Tu rni ng to Captai n Cl inton sh e said : ,


I f you ve no fu rther use for m e captain I thi nk

, ,


I ll go

.


Ju st one moment Mrs J eff ri es he said
.
, .
,

.

T h e face of th e el evator boy su dden ly bright ened


up .


Th at
it he said eagerly
sThat s ,

.


it Jef
f ries I thi nk that w as th e nam e she gave

.
, sir .


Who demanded the captain .

1 66
THE THIRD D EGREE


Not thi s lady said th e boy ,

Th e oth er l ady . .

I think she said J eff ri es or J enki ns or something , ,


l ike that .

T h e captai n w aved h is h an d t oward th e door .


That s all right go We ll nd h er all


.

right
.

T h e boy w en t out and th e captain turned roun d

to A nn i e .


It ll be rather a pity if it isn t you he sai d

, ,

w ith a su ggestive smi le .


How so sh e demanded .

.T h e captain laughed .


Well you see a woman always gets th e ju ry
, ,

m ix ed up Nothing fool s a m an l ike a pretty f ace


.
,

and twelv e times o ne is twel ve You see i f they .

g u a rr el ed a bo u t you y ou r h u sb an d w oul d st an d

some ch an ce Patronizingly h e added Come , ,

Mrs J eff ri es you d better t ell th e truth and I can


.
,


advi se you w h o to go to .

Anni e drew h erself up an d with dign ity said : ,


Thanks I m going to th e best lawyer I can get
,

.

N ot one o f tho se cou rtroom pol itici ans recom


mended by a pol ice captain I am going to Richard .

B rew ster He s the m an He ll soon get my h us


.

.

1 67
THE THIRD DEGREE
Chu ckl i ng alou d talking to himsel f rather
and

than to h is v is avis he muttered :


- -
,


That alone wi ll convince th e ju ry They ll argue .

that the boy can t be much good i f h is ow n go back



on him .

A nni e s eyes ashed



.


Preci sely ! she excl aimed
Bu t his own won t .


g o back o n him I ll se e to .it th a t

th e y d on t
.

Ri sing and tu rn ing tow ard the door she asked : ,

Have you anything more to say to m e captain ?


,


No repl i ed th e captain hesitati ngly
,
You can .

g o . O f c ou r se y o u ll b e c all ed l at
er f o r th e tri al .

You can see you r h usban d in the Tombs when you



w ish .

No m an is hard that he has not a so f t spot


so

somewh ere At heart Captain Cl inton w as not an


.

unki nd m an L ong service in the pol ice force an d


.

a mi staken notion o f th e proper method o f pro

cedure in treati ng h is pri soners h ad h ardened him

and made him brutal Secretly he felt sorry for .

this plucky energetic l ittle woman w ho had su ch


,

unboun ded fai th in h er good for nothing husban d - -


,

and w as ready to ght all al one in h is defense Eye .

ing her wi th renew ed i nterest he demanded : ,

I 69
THE THIRD DEGREE

What are you going to do now
Ann ie reached the door an d drawi ng hersel f up
,

to h er full height t u rn ed and said :


,


I m goi ng to u ndo all you have done Captain

,

Cl inton I m go ing to f ree my husband an d prove


.

h is i nnoc enc e before th e whole worl d I d on t


.

know h ow I m goi ng to do it but I ll do it I ll



,

.

ght you captai n to the l ast ditch and I ll rescue



, , ,

my poor hu sband from you r clutches i f it t akes


ev erythi ng I possess in th e w orld

.

Qu ickly sh e opened the door and disappeared .

1 7o
THE THIR D D EGREE

C H APT ER ! II.

HE A merican dearly
loves a sensation an d ,

th e bigger and more blood curd l i ng it is the


-

better Nothi ng is more grati fying on ari s


.

ing in the morni n g and sittin g down to part ake o f a


dai nti ly served break fast than to glance hu rri edly
over th e f ron t pag e o f on e s favo rite new spaper and

see it covered with start l i ng head l i n es I t matters


.

l ittle what has happen ed du ring th e night to shock


th e commu n ity so long as it sati ses on e s appetite

,

f or sen sati onal news It can be a fatal conagra


.

ti on a fear f ul rai l road wreck a gigan tic bank ,rob


, ,

bery a ho rrible mu rder or even a scandalou s di


, ,

vo rce case All one asks is th at it be somethi ng big


.
,

with column after column o f harrowing detail s


T he n ew spapers are fully al iv e to wh at is expected
o f th em but it is not al way s easy to sup ly the de
, p
man d There are times when th e metropol i s lan
.

g u ish es fo r n ew s o f an y d escripti on Th e r e.are n o

disastrous res trai ns run without mi shap bu rglars


, ,

171
THE THIRD DEGREE
the v i
e en ng a
p pe s r
c r head s stretchi ng
had big s a e

across th e entire fron t pag e with pict u res o f the ,

prin cipal s i n v ol v ed and l o ng i nterv i ew s w ith th e

cor0 ner and Captai n Cl in ton Th e seemed to be . e;

no doubt that th e pol ic e had arrested th e right m an ,

and in all quarters of the city th ere w as un iversal

sympathy for M r H ow ard J eff ries Sr . I t w as , .

terrible to thi nk that th is splendid uprigh t man , ,

w hose wh ol e career w as w ithout a singl e stai n w h o ,

had served h is country gall ant ly th roug h the civi l


w ar sh oul d h ave such di sg race brought upon h im
,

in h is old age .

Everything pointed to a speedy trial and quick


conv i ction Publi c i ndignation w as aroused al most
.

to a f renzy and a loud clamo r w ent u p agai nst th e


,

law s delay Too many cri mes o f thi s nature


'

.
,

scream ed th e yell ow press h ad been allow ed to ,

sully th e good nam e o f th e ci ty A f ear ful ex ample .

must be made no matter what the standing and in


,

uence o f th e pri soner s fami ly Thu s go ad ed on



.
,

th e cou rt s acted w ith promptn ess Taken before a .

magi st rate H ow ard w as at once committed to the


,

Tomb s to await tri al an d th e di st rict atto rn ey set


,

to work im panel i ng a ju ry Justice h e promised .


, ,

I 73
THE THIRD DEGREE
w o ul d i ftly done O ne newspaper st ated posi
be sw .

ti v ely th at th e fami ly woul d n ot i n ter fere but ,

woul d abandon th e scapegrace son to his richly


deserved fate Judge B rew ster the famous law
.
,

y e r it
,
w as s a id h ad al read y been approach ed b y
,

th e pri soner s wi fe but h ad d ec l i ned to t ake th e



,

c ase B anker J eff ri es also w as quoted as saying


.

that the man under arrest w as n o longer a son o f


'

h is.

As paper poin ted out it seemed a farce and


one ,

a w aste o f mon ey to h ave any tri al at all T h e as .

sassi n h ad n ot only been c augh t red h an d ed bu t h ad -


,

act u ally c on fessed Why w aste time over a trial ?


.

T rue on e paper timidly su ggested that it might h ave


. ,

been a case of suicide Robert Und erwood s nan .


c ial aff airs it w en t on to say w ere in a critical con


, ,

diti on an d the theory o f suicide w as borne out to


,

some ext en t by an i n tervi ew with D r B ernst ei n pro .


,

f esso r of psycho l ogy at on e o f th e un iversiti es w h o ,

st at ed t h at h e w as by no m ean s convi n c ed o f th e

pri soner s gu i l t and hi nted that th e all eged con fes



,

si on might h ave been f o rc ed f rom him by th e po l ice ,

whi l e in a hypnotic state Thi s theo ry belittl ing as .


,

it did their pet sensati on did not su it th e pol icy of ,

I 74
THE THIRD DEGREE
th e yellow press so the learned professor at on ce
,

became the target for editori al attack .

T he sensation grew in import an ce as the day


for the tri al approached Al l N ew York w as agog
.

with ex citement Th e handsome Jeff ri es mansion


.

on Riverside D rive w as besieged by callers Th e .

guides on th e sight seeing coaches shouted through


-

their megaphones :

That s the hou se where the mu rderer of Robert

Underwood l ived .

T he immedi ate vici n ity o f the hou se the day that

th e crime w as mad e pu bl ic w as thronged with c u ri

ous people .T he bl in d s o f th e hou se w ere draw n


down as i f to shi el d the i nmates f rom observati on ,

but there w ere several cabs in f ront o f th e mai n en


tran ce and passers by stopped on the sidew alk poi nt ,

ing at the house A number o f newspaper m en


.

stood in a grou p gath eri ng f resh materi al f or the


,

n ext editi on A reporter approach ed rapidly f rom


.

B roadway and j oi ned h is colleagues .


Well boys he said cheeri ly Anything doing
, , .
?

Say my paper is going to h ave a bully story to


,

morrow ! Complete account by Underwood s val et


.

He tells how he caught th e mu rderer just as he w as


I 7S
THE THIRD DE GREE
riedly u p and stopped at the cu rb A young woman .
,

heavi ly veiled descen ded paid the driver and


, , ,

walked qu ickly through the gates toward the house .

Anni e tried to feel brave but h er heart mi sgave ,

h er wh en sh e saw thi s splen did h ome with all its

evid ence o f wealth cul ture and r enemen t


, I t w as , .

th e rst time sh e had ever ent ered its gates al ,

thou gh in a measu re sh e w as entitl ed to look upon


, ,

it as her ow n home Perhaps never so mu ch as now


.

sh e reali zed w hat a deep gul f lay between h er h us

ban d s fami ly and hersel f This w as a world she



.

h ad never kn ow na worl d o f opul ence and lux ury .

She did not know h ow she h ad summoned up cou r


ag e enou gh to come Yet there w as no tim e to be
.

lost Immediate action w as necessary Howard


. .

must have th e best l awyers that mon ey could pro


cu re Judge B rew ster h ad been d eaf to h er eu
.

treaties He h ad decli ned to take the case She had


. .

n o money How ard s father mu st come to h is as


.

sistance Sh e woul d plead with him and i nsi st that


.

it w as h is duty to stand by his son Sh e won dered .

h ow he w oul d receive h er i f h e woul d pu t her out,

o r be ru de to h er Perhaps h e woul d not even re


.

ceive h er He m ight tell the servants to shut the


.

I 77
THE THIRD DEGREE
door in h er face Timidly sh e rang the bell The
. .

butler opened the door an d summoning up all her:


,

cou rage sh e asked :


,


Is Mr J eff ri es in ?

.

.T o h er u tter amazement th e bu tl er offered no ob

j ect ion to h er e n t erin g Mi s t


.a ki n g h er fo r a w om an

reporter several o f whom had al ready called that


,

morni ng h e said :
,


Go right in th e l ibrary madam ; the oth er new s ,

paper folk are there


.

She passed through the spl endid recepti on hall ,

marvel i ng i nward ly at th e beauti ful statuary and


pictures no l ittle intim idated at n di ng hersel f ami d
,

su ch splendid su rrou n di ngs O n the left there w as


.

a door draped with hand some tapestry .


Right in there mi ss said the butler
,

, .

Sh e went in an d fou nd hersel f in a room o f nobl e


,

propo rtion s th e w alls o f which were l i ned w ith


,

bookshel ves lled with tomes in rich bi ndi ngs The .

l ight that entered through the stai ned glass wi ndows -

cast a subd ued h alf7ligh t warm and rich in color , ,

on th e crimson plu sh fu rn i shi ngs Near the heavy


.

at desk in the centre o f the room a tall disti n ,

g uis h ed m an w a s st an di n g l i s t en i ng d epr ecati ng ly to

1 78
THE THIRD DEGREE
th e hal f dozen reporters w ho were bombardi ng h im
with qu esti on s A s Anni e entered the room sh e
.

caught th e w ords o f h is reply :


T h e young m an w h o h as i n herited my n am e h as

chosen h is ow n path in l i fe I am gri eved to say .

that h is cond uct at college h is marri age h as com


, ,

pl ete ly separat ed him from h i s f am i ly an d I h av e ,

qu ite made up my mind that in n o w ay o r m an ner


can h is f am i ly become id en ti ed with any steps h e

m ay t ak e to escape th e pen al ty o f his m ad act I am .

h is father and I suppose under th e circ umstan ces


, , ,

I ought to say someth i ng But I have d ecided not


.

to. I don t wi sh to give the American publ ic any


exc u se to think th at I am paliating o r con d on i n


g

h is crime Gentl em en I wi sh you goo d day
.
,
-
.

Ann ie w h o had been l i sten ing int ently at once


, ,

saw h er oppo rtu n ity Mr J eff ri es h ad taken no no


. .

tice of h er presen ce bel i evi ng her to be a new spaper


,

writer l ike the others A s th e repo rters took their


.

departure and led out o f th e room sh e remai ned ,

behind A s the last one di sappeared she tu rned to


.

th e b an ker an d said :

May I speak to you a momen t ?

He tu rned qu ickly an d looked at h er in surprise .

I 79
Sh e l ooked him pleadingly at .


But I w ant to speak to you sir
, .

Mr J eff ri es shook h is head and moved toward


.
,

th e d oo r .


I repeat I have nothi ng to say
, .

Anni e plan ted hersel f directly in h is path He .

coul d n ot reach th e doo r un less h e removed h er

f orcibly .



Mr J eff ri es she said earnestly please don t
.
,

,

refuse to hear m b please -

He hal ted l ooki ng as i f he woul d l ike to escape


, ,

but there w as n o w ay of egress Thi s d etermi ned .

looki ng youn g w oman h ad him at a di sadvan tage .


I do not think he said ici ly that there is any

,

,

subj ect which can be o f mutu al interes


,3


Oh yes there is sh e repl ied eagerly She
, , , .

w as qu ick to t ak e advan tage o f thi s enteri n g w edge

into the man s mantl e o f col d reserve



.


Flesh and blood sh e went on earnest ly is o f

, ,

m utual interest You r son is you rs wh ether you cast


.

him off or not You ve got to h ear m e I am not


.

.

aski ng anythi ng for my sel f It s for him you r son



. .
,

He s in trouble Don t d esert him at a moment l ike



.

th is .Whatever he m ay have done to deserve your


181
THE THIRD DEGREE
anger
don t don t de al him such

blow You
a .

can n ot realize what it means in such a critical situ a


ti on Even i f you only pretend to be f riendly with
.


h im you d on t need to re ally be friends with h im

.

But don t you see wh at the e ff ect will be i f you h is



,

father publicly withdraw f rom h is support ? Every


,

body will say he s no good that he can t be any good



,

o r h is father w ouldn t go back on him You know



.

w hat the w orld is


.
People will condemn him be .

cause you condemn him They won t even give h im .


a he aring For God s sake d on t go back on h im



.
,


n ow !
Mr Je ff ries turned and w alked tow ard the win
.

dow and stood there gazing on the trees on the


,

l awn She did not see h is face but by the nervous


.
,

twitching of h is hand s behind h is back she saw that ,

h er wo rds h ad not been w ithout e ff ect She w aited .

in silence fo r him to say something Presently he .

turned around and sh e saw that h is face h ad


,

changed The look of haughty pride h ad gone She


. .

h ad touched the chord s o f the father s heart G rave



.

ly he said :
O f course you re alize th at you above all othe rs

, ,

are re spon sible for h is present posi ti on



.

1 82
THE THIRD DEGREE
She w as about to demur but she checked hersel f
, .

What did she care what they thoug ht of her ? She


w as ghting to save her hu sband not to make th e ,

J
'

e ries f amily think b etter o f h er Quick ly sh e .

answered :

l
,


Well a l right I m responsible but don t pun

ish him becau se o f me



.

Mr Jeries looked at her


. .

Who w as this young woman w h o championed so


w arm ly h is ow n son ? She w as h is wi fe o f cou rse , .

But wives o f a cert ain kind are qui ck to desert their


h u sband s when they are in trouble There must be .

some good in the girl after all he thought


, Hesi , .

tatingly he said :
,


I could have forgiven h im eve rything every ,

thing bu

But me she said promptly
,

I know it .

.

Don t you suppose I feel it too and don t you sup



,

pose it hurts ?

Mr Jeff ries sti ffened up This woman w as evi


. .

dently trying to excite h is sympathies The h ard .


,

proud ex pression came back into h is face as he ah ,

sw ered curtly :

Forgive m e for speaking plainly but my son s ,

I 83
THE THIRD DEGREE
lawyer th at m oney c an proc ure none o f those bar
room orato rs Judge Brew ster your lawyer is the
.
, ,


man We w ant Judge Brew ster
. .

Mr Jeff rie s shrugged h is shoulders


. .



I repeat my son s marri age with the daughter

of a man w h o died in pri son

She interrupted him .



T hat w as hard luck nothing but hard luck .

You re not going to make me re sponsi ble fo r that



,

are you ? Why I w as only eight years old w hen


,

that h appened Could I have prevented it ? Reck


.

lessly sh e went on : Well blame it on me if you


,

w ant to but d on t hold it up again st H ow ard


,

He .

didn t know it when he married me He never



.

would have known it but for the detective s employed


by you to dig up my family hi sto ry and th e new s ,

papers did the rest God ! what they didn t say ! I


.

n ever realized I w as o f so much importance They .


printed it in sc are head lines It made a ne sensa .

tion for the public but it destroyed my peace of


,

m ind

.


A c onvict s daughter I said Mr Jeff ries con

.

temptuously .


He w as a good m an at that !
she a swn ered
1 85
THE THIRD DEGREE
hotly . He kept the squarest pool room in Man

h attan but he re fu sed to pay police bl ackm ail an d


, ,

he w as railroaded to prison Indignantly sh e went



.


If my father s shingl e h ad been up in Wall

on

S treet and he d made fty di shonest milli ons you d


,

,

forget it next m orning and you d welcome me with



,

ope n arms But he w as un fortunate Why Billy


. .
,

D elmore w as the be st m an in the world He d give .


aw ay the l ast d oll ar he h ad to a f riend I wi sh .

to God he w as alive now ! He d help to save

yo ur so n I w ouldn t have
. to c ome here to a sk


you .

Mr Jeffries shi fted uneasily on his feet and


.

looked aw ay .


You don t seem to un derst and he said impa

,

tiently I ve completely cut him off f rom the fam


.

ily It s as i f he were dead



. .

S he approached nearer and laid her hand gently


on the banker s arm

.


D on t say that Mr Jeff ries It s w icked to say

, . .

that about your ow n son He s a good boy at heart .



,

and he s been so goo d to me A h i f you only kne w



.
,

h ow hard he s tried to get work I m sure you d


ch ange your opinion o f h im Lately h e s been drink .


1 86
THE THIRD DEGREE
ing a little because he w as di sappointed in not get
ting anything to do But he tried so h ard He . .

walked the streets night and day Once he even .

too k a positi on as gu ard on the elevated road Just .

, .

think o f it Mr Jeffries your son to such strai ts ,


were we reduced but he caught cold and h ad to
give it up I wanted to go to work and help h im
.

out. I alw ays earned my living before I married


h im but he wouldn t let me You d on t know w h at

, .

a goo d he art h e s got He s been we ak and fooli sh



.

but you kn ow h e s only a boy



.

She watched h is face to see if her word s w ere


h aving any e ff ect but Mr Je ff rie s showed no sign
, .

o f relenting S arcastically he said :


.
,


And you took advantage o f the fact an d married
him ?

F or a moment sh e made n o reply She felt the .

reproach w as not u nm erited but why sh ould they ,

bl ame her for seeking happiness ? Was she not en


titled to it as much as any other woman ? She h ad

n ot married H ow ard for h is soci al positi on o r h is

money In fact sh e h ad been w orse off since h er


.
,

m arri age than sh e w as be fore She married him .

because sh e loved him and because she thought she ,

1 87
THE THIRD DEGREE
ghting for h is son, a w oma n ghting for her h us
band .


A divorce ? she stamm ered

Why I neve r .

,

th ought o f such a thing as th at



.

It s the only w ay to save him sai d th e banker



,

coldly .


The only w ay ? she faltered
.


The only w ay said Mr Jeffrie s rmly
,

Do . .


y ou c on sent ? he asked .

Annie threw up her h ead Her pale face w as full .

of determin ati on as she replied resi gne dly catch ing


, ,

her breath as she spoke :


Yes i f it m ust be I w ill consent to a divorce

.
,

to save him !


You will leav e the country and go abroad to
l ve ? conti nued the banker coldly

i .

She li stened as in a dream That she w ould be .

c on f ronted by such an alternati ve as thi s h ad neve r

entered her mind She wondered why the w orld


.

w as so cruel and h eartle ss Yet if the sac ri ce must


.

be made to save H ow ard she w as ready to make it .

You will leave Americ a and never returnis



th at understood ? repeated the banker .


Yes sir she replied falte ringly
-
, , .

1 89
THE THIRD DEGREE
Mr Jeff ries paced nervously up and d own the
.

room For the rst time he seemed to take an in


.

terest in the interview Patronizingly he said : .

You will receive a yearly all ow ance through my


lawyer

.

A n nie tossed up h er ch in de antly She would .

show the ari st ocrat that sh e coul d be as proud as he

w as .

Thanks she exclaimed I don t accept charity



,

.

.

I m used to earning my ow n living



.

O h ve ry well replied the banker quickly



.
, ,

That s as you please But I have y our prom i se



.

ou will not attempt to see him again ?



y
What ! Not see him once more ? To say good

by ? sh e ex cl aimed A b roken sob h al f checked



.


h er utterance S urely you can t mean that Mr
.

, .

Jeffri es

The banker shrugged h is shoulders .

I don t w ant the newspapers lled with


tional art icl es about th e he artrending farewell in

terv iew between H ow ard Jeff ries Jr and h is w ife , .


,

with your picture on the f ront page


.

She w as not listening to h is sarcasm .

Not even to say good by sh e sobbed



-
.

I 90
THE THIRD DEGREE

N o,

replied Mr Jeff ries rmly
. .

Not even to

say good by -
.


But what will h e say ? What will he th ink ? she

cried .


He will see it is for the best answered the

,

banker
He h imsel f w i ll thank you for your ac
.

ti on

.

There w as a long sil ence broken only by the ,

sound of the girl s sobbi ng Finally sh e said :



.


Very well sir I ll do as you say She looked
, .

.

up . Her eyes were dry the lines about her mouth ,

set and determin ed sh e sai d what are



N ow .
, ,

y o u going to do f o r him ?

The banker made a gesture o f impatience as if


such con siderati on s were n ot import an t .


I don t know yet he said haughtily

,

I shall

.

think the m atter over c are fully



.

A nnie w as fast losing patience She w as willing .

to sacri ce he rsel f and give up everything sh e held

dear in li fe to save the m an she l oved but the cold , ,

deliberate calculating attitude o f thi s unnatural


,

f ath er exasperated her .


But I want to kn ow
sh e said boldly

I want
, .

to con sider the matter care fully too


u
.
,

19 1
THE THIRD DEGREE
a rms around him and say to th e world : My boy

i s i nn ocent ! I know it and I m going to stand by

You won t do th at ?

h im

.

Mr Jeff ries shook h is head


. .

It is impossible

.

The wi fe s pent up feelings now gave w ay The



-
.

utter indi ff erence o f thi s ari stocratic father aroused

h er indignati on to such a pitch th at sh e became reck


le ss o f the con sequences They wanted her to de .

sert him ju st as they de serted him but she w ouldn t



.
, ,

S he w ould show them the kind of w oman sh e w as .

So ! sh e cried in an outburst o f min gled anger


an d grie f So his family mu st de sert him and h is



.
,

w i fe mu st le ave him ! The poor boy mu st stand ab


solutely al on e in the w o rld an d f ace a tri al f or h is ,

li fe ! Is that y our ide a ?


The banker made no reply Snapping her ngers . .

sh e wen t on :

Well it isn t mine Mr Jeff ries ! I won t con



,

, .

sen t to a div orce ! I won t l eave Am erica ! And

I ll see him just as often as I can even if I have to


sit in the T omb s pri son all day A s for h is de fen se . ,

I ll nd some on e I ll go to Ju dge Brew ster again



.

,

1
an d if he still re f u ses I ll go to some one el se There

.
,

I 93
THE THIRD DEGREE
m ust be so me g oo d. b g hearted
i - law yer in this grea t
lm ll take up h is case
"
ci ty w .

T rembli ng tion she readjusted her v eil


w ith em o

a d m th her handkerc h i e f dri ed her tear stain ed


n -

face H me t w ard the door she said :


. o o ,

Y u needn t tr uble yoursel f any m o re M r


'
"
o o .
,

! emm We lmu t need your help Th ank you


. s . .

very m uc h f r th e interv iew It w as very ki n d o f


o .


n ut to li s ten so
patien tlv . Good afternoon , sir .

Dunn e the as to nish ed banker could stop h er, sh e

lki i l th w w u back the tapestrv


th w ueh the deer .
THE THIRD DEGREE

CHAPT ER ! III .

N th ev ery h eart M anhattan right in th ecentre


of ,

o f th e ci ty s m ost c onge sted di strict an im po s



,

ing edice o f gray stone medi aeval in its style o f


,

architecture t owered high above all the surroundi ng


,

dingy of ces and squalid tenem ents Its massive .

constructi on steep walls pointed turrets rai sed


, , ,

p a ra pet s an d l ong narrow slit like win dow s heavily


, ,
-
,

barred gave it the aspect o f a feudal fo rtre ss incon


,

g ru o usly set d own plumb in the mid st o f tw entieth


centu ry New York The dull roar o f Broadw ay
.

h ummed a c ouple o f bl ock s aw ay ; in the di stan ce


loomed the l o fty grace ful span s o f Brooklyn B ridg e
, ,

j ammed with its opposing stre ams o f bu sy inte r


urban trafc The adj acent streets were lled with
.

the din o f hurryi ng cro wd s th rattle o f vehicle s


,
e ,

the cries o f vend ors the clang o f street cars th e


, ,

ugh ! ugh ! o f speeding autom obiles The active .


,

pulsating li fe o f the metropol is su rged like a ri sing


ood about the t all gray wall s yet there w as no re ,

I9S
THE THIRD DEGREE
a mused at th e singularly appropri ate appelative an d ,

it h as stuc k to the prison ever since .

But tim es change an d in stituti on s with them


,
As .

m an become s more civiliz ed he treats the l aw breaker

w ith m ore hum anity Probably society will alw ays


.

n eed its pri son s but as w e becom e more enlight


,

ened we in si st on tre ating our crimin al s m ore f rom

the physi ological and psycholo gical standpo ints th an


in the cruel b rutal barbarou s manner o f the dark
, ,

ages. In other w ord s the sociologi st insists that


the law bre aker h as greater need o f the phy sici an
-

th an he h as o f the j ail er .

T o day the City Pri son is a t omb in name only


-
.

It is admirably constructed commodi ou s well venti


, ,

lated . The cells are large and well lighted with ,

com fortable cots and all the m odern sanitary ar


rangements Th ere are roomy co rridors for d aily
.

exerci se and luxuriou s shower baths can be obtained


f ree fo r the asking There are chapels for the re
.

ligiously inclined and a library for the studi ou s .

T he foo d is w hole some and well prepared in a l arge


. ,

scrupul ou sly clean kitchen situ ated on the top oo r .

Carping critics hav e indeed declared the Tombs to


, ,

be too l uxuri ou s decl aring th at h abitual criminals


,

I 97
THE THIRD DEGREE
enj oy a stay at the prison and actually commit crim e
so th at they may enj oy some o f its h otel like com -

f orts .

It w as w ith a sinking heart and a dull gnawing ,

sen se o f apprehen si on th at Annie de scended f rom a

south bound Madi son Avenue car in Cen tre Stree t


-

an d approached the sm all po rt al u n der the forbid

ding gray w all s She h ad vi sited a pri son once be


'
.

f ore when her father died


, . She remembered th e
depressing ride in the t rain to Sing Sing the fo rmi ,

dable steel d oors and ponderous bolts the n arrow,

cell s each with its involuntary occupant in degrad


,

ing stripe s an d cl osely cropped hair an d the uni


,

formed guard s armed with ries She remembered


.

h ow her m other wept and h ow sh e h ad w ondered


w h y they kept her poo r da da in such an ugly pl ace
-
.

T o think th at after all these years sh e w as again to

g o thr ough a simil a r experien ce .

She h ad ne rved hersel f for thi s ordeal A nxiou s


.

as sh e w as to see H oward an d l earn f rom h is lips

all th at h ad h appened sh e fe ared th at sh e w ould


,

n ever be able to see him be hind the bars without

b re aking down . Yet sh e must be strong so sh e


could w ork to set him f ree . So much h ad h appened

1 98
THE THIRD D EGREE
in the last tw o days It seemed a month since the
.

'

police h ad sent for her at midnight to hurry dow n


to the A struria yet it w as only tw o days ago
,
T he . .

morn ing following her trying interview with Cap


tain Clinton in the dead man s apartment she h ad

tried to see H oward but w ithout success The


, .

police held him a close pri soner pretending that he ,

mi ght make an attempt upon his life There w as .

n othing fo r her to do but w ait .

Intuitively sh e realized the necessity o f imm edi


ately securing the service s of an able lawyer There .

w as no d oubt o f H ow ard s innocence but she re



,

called with a shiver that even innocent person s have


su ff ered c apital pun ishm ent bec au se they w ere un able

to e stabli sh their i nnocence so overwhelming were


,

the appe arances against them He must have the .

best l aw yer to be h ad regardle ss of expense


, Only .

one nam e occurred to her the n ame o f a m an o f in


,

ternation al reputati on the mere menti on o f whose


,

name in a cou rt room lled the he arts o f the inn oc ent

w ith h ope and the guilty with dread Th at m an .

w as Judge Brew ster . She hurried dow ntown to his


office an d w ait ed an h our be fore he c ould see her .

Then h e told her pol itely but coldly that he must


, ,

I 99
THE THIRD DEGREE
to the lawyer and beg h im on her knees i f nec essary ,

but rst she must see H oward and bid him take
c ourage .

A low doo rw ay f rom Centre Street gave access


to the gray f ortre ss . At the heavy steel gate stood a
p o rtly po licem an arm ed with a big key E a ch tim e .

b ef o re letting people i n or out h e in se rted thi s key


in the ponderous lock The gate w ould not open
.

m erely by turnin g the h andle Thi s w as to prevent .

t h e e sc ape o f pri soners w ho m ight possibly succee d


,

in reaching so f ar as the doo r but could not O pen ,

th e steel gate without the big key When once any .

o ne entered the pri son he w as n ot permi tted to go

o ut again except on a sign al f r om a keeper .

When Annie entered she found th e recepti on


,

room lled with vi sit or s men an d w omen o f all age s


,

and n ati on alities w h o like hersel f h ad c ome to see


, ,

some relative or f riend in trouble It w as a m otley .

and intere sting crowd Th ere were fruit peddlers


.
,

sw eat sh op w o rkers
-
, sporty l ooking m en -negroes ,

and ash y looking wom en


-
All seemed callous and
.

i ndi fferent as i f quite at h ome amid the sini st er

surrounding s o f a prison One or tw o others ap


.

p ea re d to bel ong to a m o re re spect able cl ass their ,

20 1
so ber manner and care worn faces reecting silently
-

the humili ation and shame they felt at their kins


man s di sgrace

.

The small barred w indow s did not permit of much


ventil ation and as the day w as w arm the odor w as
, ,

sickening A nnie l ooked around fe ar f ully and


.
,

humbly took her place at the end o f the long line


which slowly worked its w ay to the narrow inner
g r ating where crede n ti al s were cl osely scrutini zed .

The horror of th e place seized upon her She.

wondered w ho all these poo r people were and what


the pri soners whom they came to see h ad done to
offend the maje sty of the law The pri son w as lled
.

w ith po licemen and ke eper s and running in an d out


,

w ith me ssage s and pack age s were a number o f m en

in neat linen suits S he asked a w oman w h o they


.

were .



Them s tru stie s pri sone rs t hat h as speci al priv v

ileges in return for work they doe s about the


pri son
.

The credenti als were passed upon slowly and


A nn ie be ing the twentieth in line found it a tediou s
, ,

w ait In front of her w as a besti al looking negro


.
-
,

behind her a w oman whose cheap j ewel ry rouged ,

20 2
face an d extravagant dress proclaimed her pro fes
si on to be the m ost anc ient in the w orld But at .

l ast the g ate w as reached As the doorkeeper ex.

am ined her ticket he l oo ked up at her w ith curi osity .

A murderer is rare en ough even in the T ombs to ex


c ite intere st and as sh e passed on the attend ant s
,

w hi spered am ong themselve s She knew they were .

talking about her but sh e steeled hersel f not to c are


, .

I t w as only a foretaste of other humili ati ons which


sh e mu st expect .

A keeper now took ch arge of her an d led her to


a room where sh e w as se arched by a m atron for con

cealed w e apon s a humili ating ordeal to w hich eve n


,

th e riche st an d most inuenti al vi sito rs must submit

w ith as goo d grace as po ssible The matron w as .

a h ard l ooking w oman o f about fty years o f age in


-
,

w h om ev ery spark o f human pity and sympathy h ad

been killed during her m any years of con stant asso


ciation with criminal s The w ord pri son h ad lost

.

its meaning to her She saw nothing undesirable in


.

j ail li fe but looked upon the T ombs rather as a kind


,

o f boarding h ou se in whi ch pe ople m ade sh o rt or

long soj ourns according to their luck She treated


, .

A nnie unceremoni ou sly yet n ot unkindly , .

20 3
THE THIRD DEGREE
the elec tric ch air would have been cheated So you .


see how care f ul we h as to b e .

An nie c ould n ot li sten to any more T he horror .

o f h aving H ow ard classed with end s o f th at de

scripti on sickened h er To the keeper she said


.

quickly :


Please take me to my husband .

T aking another doll ar f rom h er purse sh e sli pped ,

the bill into the man s hand feel ing that here as

, ,

everywhere el se one must pay for privileges and


,

courtesies . Her guide led the w ay an d ushered


her into an elevator w hich at a si gnal started
, , ,

slow ly upw ard s .

T he cell s in th e Tombs are arranged in row s in


the form o f an ellipse in the centre o f each o f the

six oo rs There is room to accomm odate nine


.

h undred prisoners o f both sexes T he m en are con .

ned in the n ew prison ; th e w omen few er in num ,

ber in wh at remai n s of th e old building


, Only the .

centre o f each oo r being taken up with the row s


o f n arrow cell s there remai n s a b road c orrido r run
, ,

n ing all th e w ay round and anke d on the right b


y
h ig h w all s w ith small barred window s An oh .

server f rom the street gl ancing up at the window s

20 5
THE {THIRD DEGREE
mi ght c onclude that they were those o f the cells in
which pri soners were conned A s a matter of .

f act the c ell s h ave no w indow s only a grating


, ,

w hich l ook s directly out int o the circul ar c orrido r .

At the fourth oor the elevato r stopped and th e


h eavy iron d oor swung back .


Thi s w ay said the keeper stepping out an d
,

,

quickly w alki ng along the corridor


He s in cel l .

No .

A lump rose in Anni e s throat The pl ace w as



.

well ventil ate d yet sh e thought sh e would faint


,

f rom a choking f eeling o f restraint All along the .

corrid or to th e le ft were iron doors painted yellow .

I n the upper part of the door were hal f a dozen


broad slits through w h ich on e c ould see w hat w as
going on in side .


Those are th e cell s volunteered h er guide

, .

Annie shuddered as mentally she pictured How


, ,

ard l ocked up in such a dread ful pl ace She peered .

th rough one of the slits an d saw a n arrow cell about


ten feet long by six wide The only furn i shings
.

were a folding cot with bl anket a w ash bowl and ,

lavatory Each cell h ad its occupant men and


.
,

youths o f all ages Some w ere reading some


.
,

20 6
THE THIRD DEGREE
p l aying c a rd s S o me
. were lying asleep on their
cots perh aps dre aming o f home but m ost of them
, ,

leaning dejectedly again st th e iron bars w onde ri ng

when they would regain their liberty .


Where are the w omen ? asked A nnie t ryi ng to
,

keep down the l ump th at rose ch okingly in h er


throat .


They re in a separate part o f th e prison re

,

p lied the k eeper .


I sn t it dre ad ful ? sh e murmured

.


Not at all he exclaimed cheerfully These
,

.

p ri so ner s fa re better in pri son th an they do o ut side .

I w ager some of them are so rry to leave


.


But it s dre ad ful to be cooped up in th ose little

cell s i sn t it ? sh e said

, .

Not so bad as it l ook s he l aughed They are



.
,

all owed to come out in the c orrid or to exerci se twi ce

a day for an hour and there is a splendid sh ower

bath they can take


.


Where is my husband s cell ? sh e whi spered al
,

most dreading to hear the reply .


There it is he said pointing to a door
,

,

No . .

Walking rapidly ahead of her and stopp ing at

20 7
THE THIRD DEGREE
an d sh enoticed that h is eye s looked queer For a .

moment the agony o f a terrible suspicion crossed


h er mind Was it possible that in a moment o f
.

drunken recklessness he h ad shot Underw ood ?


Quickly almost breathlessly she w hispered to
, ,


Tell me quickly tis not true is it ? You did
,

, .


not kill Robert Underw ood .

He shook h is head .

No he said

.
,


T hank God fo r th at ! sh e ex cl aimed
. But your .


con fession what does that mean ?


I do not know They told me I did it They
. .

insi sted I did it He w as sure I did it He told


. .

me he knew I did it He showed me the pi stol . .

He w as so in si stent th at I thought he w as right


th at I had done it In a deep whi sper h e added
.

e arnestly But you kno w I didn t don t you ?


,

,


Who is he? demanded A nn ie

.


The police captain .


Oh Captai n Clinton told you you did it
,

H ow ard nodded .

Yes he told me h e kn ew I did it He kept me



, .

standing th ere six hours que sti on ing and question ,

20 9
THE THIRD DEGREE
ing until I w as ready to drop I tried to sit d own ; .

h e m ade me stand up I did not know what I w as


.

saying o r d oing He told me I killed Robert U n


.

derwoo d .He showed me the pi stol under the


strong light Th e reection f rom the poli shed
.

n ick el ashed into my eye s everything suddenly be ,

came a bl ank A few moments later the coroner


.

c ame in an d C apt ain Clinto n told him I c on fe ssed .

But it i sn t true Annie You know I am as inno



.
,

c ent of th at murder as you are



.


Th ank God thank God ! exclaimed Anni e
,

I
.

see it all n ow

.

Her tears were dried Her brain w as begin .

n ing to w ork rapi dly She al ready saw a possible


.

line o f de fense .


I don t know h ow it all happened went on How

,

ard .

I don t know any more about it than you do

.

I le ft you to go to Underw ood s apartment On the


.

w ay I fooli shly t ook a drink When I got there I .

took more whi skey Be fore I knew it I w as d runk


. .

While talking I fell asleep S udden ly I heard a .

w om an s v oice

.


Ah ! interrupted Annie You too heard a .
, ,

w oman s voice Captain Clinton said there w as a



.

2 10
THE THIRD DEGREE
w o man in it Thought fully as i f to hersel f she
.

, ,

added : We must nd that woman



.


When I w oke up conti nued H oward it w as ,

,

dark . G roping around for the electric light I ,

stumbled over something It w as Underwood s


.

dead body How he came by h is de ath I have not


.

th e slightest idea I at once realized the dangerous


.

p o siti o n I w as in an d I tried to le ave the apa rtment


un observed Just as I w as going Underwood s
.
,

m an serv ant arrived and he han ded me ov er to the


-

police That s the whole story I ve been here


.

.

since ye sterd ay an d I ll be devili sh glad to get out



.

You will get out she cried



I m d oing

.
,

everything possible to get you free I ve been try



.

ing to get the best law yer in the countryR ichard


Brew ster
.


R ichard Brew ster !
ex claim ed How ard .

He s my father s l awyer

.


I saw your father yesterday afternoon she said
,

quietly .


You did ! he exclaimed surpri sed

Was he , .

w illing to receive you ?



He had to she replied ,

I gave him a piece

.

o f m y mind

.

ZI I
THE THIRD DEGREE
w ould w orry along without h is assi stance O n that .

I le f t him

.


You re a brave little woman ! cried Howard

.

N oticing her pale anxi ou s face he said :


, ,

You too mu st h ave su ff ered



, , .


Oh never mind me sh e rej oined quickly
, ,

.

Wh at we mu st do now is to get you out of thi s


ho rrid place and clear your nam e be fore the w o rld .

We mu st show that your alleged con fe ssion is un


true ; th at it w as dragged from you invol untarily .

We must nd th at mysteri ous woman w h o came to


Underw oo d s rooms while you lay on the couch

asl eep. Do you kn ow what my theo ry is How ,

ard

Wh at ? demanded her hu sband

.


I believe you were hypnotized into making that
con fession I ve read o f such things be fo re You
.

.

know the boy s in college o ften hypnotized you .

You tol d me they made you do all kind s o f things


again st your will That big brute Captai n Cli n
.
,

ton simply fo rced h is will on yours



.
,



By Jove I never thought of that ! he ex

claimed
I know my head ached terribly after he
.

go t thro ugh all th at que sti o ning When h e m ad e .

2 13
THE THIRD DEGREE
me look that pi stol I couldn t resi st any more
at

.

But h ow are we going to break through the net


which the police have thrown around me ?


By getting the best lawyer we can procure I .

shall in si st on Judge Brew ster taking the case He .

declines but I shall go to his office again this after


,

noon He must
.

Howard shook h is head .


You ll not be able to get Brew ster He w ould

.

never d are off end my f at her by t ak ing up m y

case w it hout hi s permission He won t even see .


yo u .


We ll see she said quietly

, He ll see me .

i f I have to sit in h is of ce all day for week s I hav e .

decided to h ave Judge Brew ster de fend you bec au se


I believe it would mean acquittal He will build up .

a de fense th at will de feat all the lie s th at the police

have concocted T h e police h ave a strong case be


.

cause o f your alleged con f essi on It will take a .

strong l awyer to ght them



Earne stly sh e added :
.

Howard if your li fe is to be saved we must get


,

Judge Brew ster


.


All right dear h e replied

, I can only leave
, .

it in your hand s I know that whatever you do


.

2 14
THE THIRD DEGREE
will be for the be st I ll try to be as patien t as I
.

can. My only comfort is thinki ng o f you dear , .


A heavy step resounded in the corrid or The .

keeper came up .


Time s up m m he said civilly

,

,

.

Annie thru st her hand through th e bars ; Howard


carried it rev erently to h is lips .

Go od by dear sh e said K eep up your c our



-

.
, ,

age. You ll know that I am working for your


release every moment I w on t leave a stone un .


turned .


Good by darling he murmured
-
, ,

.

He looked at h er l ongingly and there w ere tears


in her eyes as she turned away .


I ll be back very soon sh e said

,

.

A few minute s later they were in the elevato r and


sh e passed through th e bi steel at nce m or int o
g g e o e

th e sun light street .

2 15
THE THIRD DEGREE
Vi sito rs to Judge Brewster s of ce were not many

.

A m an o f such renown w as naturally expen sive .

Few could aff ord to retain h is services and in fact


he w as seldom called upon except to act in the in
terest o f wealthy corporati ons In the se case s o f
.
,

course h is f ee s were enorm o us


, He h ad ve ry few
.

p riv ate client s ; in f act he


,
declined much priv ate
practice that w as off ered to him He h ad been the .

legal advi ser o f Howard Je ff ries Sr for many , .


,

years The tw o men had known each other in thei r


.

younger days and practically h ad w on succe ss to



gether the one in th e banking business the other ,

in the service o f the law An impo rtan t trust com


.

pan y o f w hich Mr Jeff rie s w as pre sident w as con


, .
,

stan tl
y inv olved in a ll kind s o f litig ati on o f whic h
Judge Brew ster h ad exclusive charge A s the law .

yer found thi s highly remunerative it w as only ,

natural that he h ad no desire to l ose Mr Jeff ries as .

a client .

Secluded in his private of ce the judge w as busy,

at h is de sk ni shing a letter
, He folded it up ad
.
,

dre ssed an envel ope then lit a cigar and looked at


,

the time It w as three o cl ock The d ay s work


.

.

w as about over and he smiled with sati sf ac tion as .

2 17
THE THIRD D EGREE
he thought o f the automobile ride in the park he
w ould enj oy befo re dre ssing an d g oing to his club

for dinner He felt in singularly good spirit s that


.

aftern oon He h ad just w on in th e court a ve ry


.

c omplic ated case which meant not only a han dsome


additi on to h is bank acc ount but a sign al triumph ,

over h is legal opponent s Certai nly fo rtune smiled .


,

on him He h ad no other immedi ate c ase s on hand


.

to worry about He could look forw ard to a few


.

w eeks o f absolute re st He struck a bell on h is desk .

and a clerk entered Handing him the note he had


.

j u st written he said :
'


H ave thi s sent at once by messenger .


Very well judge an swered the clerk

, , .


By the bye frowned the lawyer has that,

,

w om an been in to day -



Yes sh e sat in the outer oi ce all morning try ,

ing to see you We said you were out o f town but


.
,

sh e did not believe it She sat there till sh e got .

tired . She had no idea that you went out by nu


oth er stairw ay

.


Humph growled the law yer ; a nice thing to
,

be besieged in thi s m anner If sh e ann oys m e much .

longer I sh all send for the police



.
,

2 18
THE THIRD D EGREE
At that moment ano ther clerk entered the room .


What is it Mr J ones demanded the lawyer
?
, .

.


A l ady to see you j udge said the clerk hand
, ,

,

ing him a card .

The lawyer glanced at the bit of pasteboard and ,

said immedi ately :




Oh yes show her in
, , .

The tw o clerks le ft th e room and Judge Brew ster ,

af ter a gl ance in the m irro r to re adju st h is cravat -


,

turned to greet h is v i sito r The door open ed and.

A lici a entered She w as faultlessly gowned as


.
,

usu al but her m anner w as urried and agit ated


, .

Evidently something h ad h appened to upset her ,

and sh e h ad come to m ake her hu sband s l awyer


th e con d ant o f her trouble s The judge advan ced .

gall antly and pointed to a ch air .


Good mo rning my dear M rs Jeff ries how do
, .
,


you do ?

IsMr Jeff ries here ? asked Alici a hurriedly
.

.

Not yet h e replied smiling Thi s is an nu



, , .

expected pleasure I think it is the rst time you


.

have graced my ofce with your pre sence .


How quiet it is here ! sh e ex claimed l ooking



,

around nerv ou sly It is hard to believe this is the



.

2 19
THE THIRD DEGREE
is sh e l ike ? I understan d she s been bothering you

to take the case o f th at w orthle ss hu sband o f hers .

Do you know sh e h ad the impertinence to c ome to


our h ou se an d ask Mr Jeff ries to help them ? I
.

asked my hu sband to de scribe her but all I c ould ,

g et f ro m him w as that sh e w as impertinent and im

p os sible . She

he sit ated a m o ment then sh e added : ,

Is sh e as pretty as h er picture s in the paper ?

You ve seen her o f course



,

Judge Brewster f rowned .

Yes he replied She com es here every day



.
,

regularly She literally compel s me to see her and


.

re fu ses to go ill I ve told her I h aven t changed m



t
y
decision about taking her case
.


What in solence exclaimed A l icia
I should .

think that you would have her put out o f the of


free

.

The lawyer w as silent and toyed somewhat nerv


ously with the paper cutter as if not quite d ecided ,

as to wh at re spon se to make He coughed an d .

fussed with the papers on the desk .


Why don t you have her put out o f the offi ce

sh e repeated .

The judge looked up There w as an expression .

22 1
THE THIRD DEGRE E
in h is face that might have been interpreted as one
o f ann oy ance as i f he rather resented thi s intru si on
,

i n to h is business aff airs but Mrs Jeff ries Sr w as


, .
, .
,

too impo rt ant a client to qu arrel with so he merely ,

said :


Frankly Mrs Je ff rie s i f it were not for the
, .
,

fact th at Mr Je ff rie s h as ex acted f rom me a promi se


.

n ot to t ake up thi s c ase I sh ould be tempted to ,

con sider the matter I n the rst pl ace you know


.
,

I always liked Howard I saw a goo d deal o f h im.

be fore your marri age to Mr Je ff ries He w as al . .

w ays a wild unm an age able boy w e ak in character


, , ,

but he had many l ovable trait s I am very sorry .

indeed to see h im in such a terrible position It w as


,
.

hard for me to realize it and I should never have be


lieved him guilty h ad he not con fessed to the crime

.

Yes sh e assented It is an aw ful thing and a



.
,

terrible blow to h is father O f course he h as h ad .


,

n othing to do with Ho ward for month s A s you .

know h e turned him out o f doors long ago but the


, ,

di sgrace is none the less o verwhelming


.

The lawyer looked out of the w indow and


drummed h is ngers on the arm o f h is ch air Sud .

denly w h eel ing round and facing h is client he said !


, ,

2 22
THE THIRD DEGREE

You know this girl he married is no o rdinary
w om a n .


Oh 1 she ex claimed sarcastically She h as suc

.

ceeded in arou sing your sympathy



.

The judge bowed coldly .


No ,he replied

I would hardly say that
.

.

But she h as arou sed my curi osity She is a ve ry .

peculi ar girl evidently a creature o f impul se and


,

determinati on I certainly f eel so rry for her Her


. .

positi on is a very pain ful one She h as been m ar .

ried only a few month s and now her hu sband h as ,

to face the most aw ful accu sati on th at can be

brought again st a m an She is plucky in Spite of it.

all an d i s moving he aven an d e arth in H ow ard s



,

de fense She believes hersel f to be in some measure


.

respon sible for his mi sfortune Apart from that .


,

th e case intere st s me f rom a purely pro fe ssional

p o int o f view There are sever


. a l stra nge f eatures

connected w ith the c ase Sometimes in spite of .


,

Howard s con fe ssi on I don t believ e he comm i tted



,

that crime
.

Alici a ch anged color and shi fting uneasily on her ,

ch air scruti ni zed the l awyer s face What w as be


, .

h ind that calm in scrutabl e mask ? Wh at theory


,

223
THE THIRD DEGREE

yet so me time afterward the murdered man turned


up al ive and well The object o f the con fession o f
.
,

course w as to turn the verdict from murder to m an


,

slaughte r the circ um st anti al evidence ag ainst them


,

having been so strong In the days of w itchcraft .

the un fortunate women accused of being witches


w ere o ften urged by rel ative s to con f e ss as being

the only w ay o f esc ape open to them A nn Fo ster .


,

at S alem in 1 69 2 con fe ssed that sh e w as a witch


, , .

S he said the devil appeared to her in the shape o f


a bird an d that she attended a meeting o f witche s
,

at S alem village She w as not insane but the hor


.
,

ror o f the accusat ion brought again st her h ad been

too much for a weak mind Howard s con fession


.

m ay possibly be due to some such inuence



.


I hope for h is poor fath er s sake said A licia

, ,

th at you m ay be right and that he may be proved


inn ocent but everything is overwhelmingly again st
,

h im . I think you are the only one in New York to


express such a doubt
.


D on t forget his wi fe rem arked the judge

,

dryly .


sh e replied I really feel sorry for the girl

N .

my self Wi ll you give her some money i f I


.

225
THE THIRD DEGREE
The lawyer shook h is head .


She won t take it I tried it She wants me to

. .


de fend her husband I tried to bribe her to go to
some other l awyer but it w ouldn t wo rk

.
,


Well something ought to be d one to stop h er an
,

noyi ng us ! exclaimed Alicia indignantly



Mr .

.

Jeff ries su ff ers terribly I can hear him pacing up


.

an d down the library till three or four in the m o m

ing Poor m an he suff ers so keenly an d he won t


.
,

let any one sympathize with him He won t let m e .


mention h is son s name I feel w e ought to do



.

something . Try an d persuade him to let me see



thi s girl and you are his friend as w ell as his legal
advi ser

.

Judge Brew ster bowed .


Your husband is a very old friend Mrs , .

Je ff ries
. I can t di sregard his wishes en

ti t ely
There w as a knock at the door o f the pri vate df
ce.


Come in called the judge
,

.

The doo r O pened and the head clerk entered ,

ushering in Howard Jeff ries S r The banker still , .


,

ari stocratic and dign ied but looking tired and


,

226
c areworn advanced into the room and shook hands
,

w ith the j udge w h o greeted h im w it h a cordi al


,

smile There w as no response on the banker s face



. .

Q uerul ou sly he demanded :


Brew ster what s that w oman doing out there
,

agai n ? It s not the rst time I ve m et her in this


office

.


Alici a looked up eagerly Is sh e out there .

sh e cried

n ow ? .


What right h as she to come here What s h er

object went on the banker irritatedly .

The lawyer shrugged his shoulders .


The same old thing he replied

She w ants
, .

me to t ake her case



.

The banker f rowned .


D idn t you tell her it w as impossible


That makes no di ff erence laughed the j udge ,

.

She comes ju st the same I ve sent her aw ay a: .


dozen times What am I to do if sh e insi sts on


.

coming ? We can t have her arrested


She .

doesn t break the furniture or beat the offi ce boy



.

She simply sits an d w aits .



Have you told her that I object to her coming
here ? deman ded the banker haughtily

.

2 27
THE THIRD DEGREE
permit my wi fe to come in con tact with a woman
o f that ch aracter

.

Judge Brew ster w ho w as li stening in spite of the


,

fact th at he w as seemingly engrossed in h is papers ,

pursed his lips .


Oh come he sai d with a forced laugh she s
, ,

,

not as b ad as all th at 1


I m su re she i sn t said Al icia emphatical ly

,

.

She must be amenable to reason .


The banker s wi fe w as not altogether bad Ex



.

cessiv e v anit an d ambiti on h ad steeled her heart


y
an d sti ed impul se s th at were n atu rally good but ,

otherwi se sh e w as n ot wh olly dev oid o f feeling She .

w as re ally sorry for thi s poor little woman w h o w as

ghting so bravely to save her hu sban d No doubt .

sh e h ad inveigled H ow ard int o mar rying her but ,

sh e -
Alici a had no right to sit in judgment on her
for th at If the gi rl h ad been ambiti ou s to marry
.

above her in wh at w ay w as sh e more g uilty th an


,

sh e her sel f had been in m arrying a m an she did

n ot l ove simply f or h is weal th and soci al positi on ?


,

Be sides Alici a w as hersel f so rely troubled Her


,
.

con science told her that a word from her might


set the w hole matter right Sh e migh t be able to
.

229
prove th at Under w ood itted suicide She
comm .

knew sh e w as a c ow ard and worse than a cow ard


becau se sh e dare not speak that word The more .

she saw h er h usban d s anger the le ss courage sh e


h ad to do it In any case sh e arg ued to hersel f


.
, ,

Howard h ad con fessed If he shot Underw ood.

there w as no suicide so w hy should she incrimi nate


,

h ersel f needlessly ? But there w as no re ason why


sh e should not sh ow some sympathy f or the poo r

g irl w h,o a f ter al,l w as o nly d o ing wh a t any g ood


w i f e sh ould do . A l oud sh e repe ated :

I ll see the girl an d talk to her She must li sten

.


to reason .


R eason ! ex pl oded the banker angrily

How .

can you expect reason f rom a w oman w h o h ounds

us dogs our footsteps tries to c ompel us to


, ,
take
her up
Judge Brewster w h o h ad apparently paid no at
, .

tenti on to the banker s remarks now turned around



, .

He sitatingly he said :

I think you do h er an injustice Jeff ri es She , .

comes every day in th e h ope th at your f eelings


'

toward your son h ave ch anged She wi shes to gi ve


.

color to the bel ie f th at h is father s lawye rs are


230
THE THIRD D EGREE
championing h is cau se She w as honest enough
.

to tell me so You kn ow her movemen ts are closely


.

watched by the newspapers an d sh e takes good care


tolet the repo rters think th at sh e comes here to dis

cu ss with me the det ail s o f her hu sb and s de f en se



.

The banker shi fted impatiently on h is ch air .

Contemptuously he said :

The new spapers which I read don t gi ve her th e

slightest attenti on If they did I should re fuse to


.

read them With growing irritation he went on :



.

It s no use talking about her any mo re What



.

are we going to do about thi s l atest scand al ? This


w oman is going on the stage to be ex hibited all over

th e country an d sh e proposes to use the family

nam e

.


There is noth ing to prevent her said the lawyer,

dryly .

The banker j umped to his feet and excl aimed


angrily :

There must be ! Good God Brewster surely , ,

y ou ca n o bt ai n an in juncti on re straining her fr om


u sing the family name ! You must do someth ing .

What do you advise ?


I advi se patience replied the judge calmly
,

.

23 1
THE THIRD DEGREE
siv ely.

right ! I m right ! You know it but
Im

,

y ou w on t a

dm it it .

T he law yer shrugged h is shoulders and turned to

h is de sk again Laconically he said :


.
,


Well I won t argue the ma a with you You
,

. .

re fu se to be advi sed by me an d

The banker looked up impatiently .


What is your advice ?

The lawyer without looking up from hi s pape rs


, ,

said quietly :


You know what my feelings in the matter are
.


And you know what mine are ex claimed the
banker hotly I re fuse to be engul fed in thi s w ave

.

o f hyste ric al sympath y with cri m in al s I w ill not be .

stam ped with the same h all mark as the m an w h o


take s the li fe o f h is fellow be ing th ough the m an
be my ow n son I will n ot set the seal o f approval
.

on crime by de fending it

.

The lawyer bowed an d said calmly :



Then sir you must ex pect exactly w hat is h ap
, ,

pening Thi s girl whatever she m ay be is de


.
, ,

voted to your s She is h is w i fe She ll go to


on . .

any extreme to help him even to sellin h er n am e


g
for money to pay for h is d efense

,
.

2 33
THE THIRD DEGREE
The ban ker threw up hi s h ands with i mpa
tien ce .


It s matter of prin ciple with me Her devo
a .

tion is not the question With a mocking laugh


.

he went on : Sentimentality doe sn t appeal to me



.

The whole thing is di staste ful and hideou s to me .

My instructions to you are to prevent her u sing


the fam ily name on the stage to buy her off on her ,

ow n terms to get rid o f her at any price



.
,


Except the price she asks interposed the law ,

y er d ryly S h ak ing
. h is he a d he went on : ,


You ll nd that a wi fe s devoti on is a very

strong motive power Je ff rie s , It will move irre .

sistibly forw ard in spite o f all th e barriers you and

I can erect to stay its progress That may sound .

like a platitude but it s a fact nevertheless


,

.

Alicia w ho h ad been li stening with varied emo


,

tion s to the conversation now interrupted timidly : ,


Perh aps Judge Brewster is right dear A fter , .

all the girl is w orking to save your son Public


.

.
,

opini on m ay think it unnatural

The banker turned on h is wi fe Sternly he said : .


Alici a I cannot permit you to inter fere That
, .

y oun g m an is a sel f c on f e
-
ssed murderer an d there

2 34
THE THIRD DEGREE
f o re mine I ve don e with him long ago
no son o f

. .

I cann ot be moved by m audlin sentimentality Please .

let that be n al Turning to the l awyer he sai d


.

,

coldly :

So in the matter o f thi s st age business you can



, ,

take no steps to restrain her ?

The lawyer shook his head .


N0 there is nothing I can do
,

Quickly h e .

added : O f course you don t doubt my loyalty to



,


yo u ?
Mr Jeff ries sh ook h is head
. .

No no Brew ster

.
, ,

The l awyer laughed as he said :



Right o r wrong you know ,m y c ountry that

i s my client tis o f thee Turning to Alicia he



, .
,

added l aughin gly : T h at s the pain ful part o f a


lawyer s profession M rs Jeff ries T he client s



,
. .

w eakne ss is the l awyer s strength When men h ate



.

each other and rob each other we l aw yers d on t

p a ci f y them We d are not becau se that is our


.
,

profession We encou rage them We pit them


.

again st e ach other for prot If we di dn t they d



.

g o t o so me l awyer w h o w o uld
.

Alici a gave a feeble sm ile .

23
5
THE THIRD DEGREE


All right replied the banker I ll be outside
,

.

.

He Opened the door and as he did so he turned to


,

the lawyer :
I f there are any new developm ent s let me know

at once

.

He le ft the oi ce and Alici a breathed a sigh o f


relie f She did not love her husband but sh e fe ared
.
,

him He w as not only twenty years her senior but


.
,

h is cold ari sto cratic manner intim id ated her


, Her .

rst impul se h ad been to tell h im everything but sh e ,

d are not His manner di scouraged her He woul d


. .

begin to ask questi ons questi ons which sh e c ould


,

n ot an swer without seri ou sly incrimin ating he rsel f .

But her conscience w ould not allow her to stand eu


tirely al oof from the tragedy in which her hu sband s

scapegrace son w as inv olved She felt a strange nu


.
,

account able d esire to meet thi s gi rl H ow ard h ad

married In a quick undertone to the lawyer she


.
,

said :


I mu st see that woman ju dge I think I can , .

persuade her to change h er course o f acti on In any .

c ase I must see her I must , Looking at h im


questi oningly sh e said : You don t think it inad
,

vi sable do you ?
,

237
The judge smiled grimly .


I think I d better see her rst h e said

Sup , .

ose you c ome b ack a little l ater I s more than


p t .

probable that she ll be here thi s afternoon I ll see


.

her and arrange for an interview .


There w as a knock at the doo r and Alicia started ,

g uiltily thinkin g
, her hu sband might h av e o v er

h eard their conversation The head clerk entered .

and whi spered som ething to the judge after which ,

h e retired T h e lawyer turned to Alici a w ith a


.

sm ile .

It s j u st as I though t he said pleasantly she s



, ,

o ut there now You d berter go an d leave her to


.

me
9
.

The d oor opened again unceremoniously and Mr , .

Je ff rie s put in h is he ad :

Aren t you coming Al ici a ? h e demanded im

,

p atiently In a l o.wer v o ice to the l aw yer he added : ,

Say Brew ster th at woman is out side in your ofce


, , .

N ow is your oppo rtuni ty to come to some arrange


I

ment with her :


Again M rs Jeff ries held out her hand. .


Good by judge ; you re so kind ! It needs a lot
-
,

o f patience to be a l awyer doe sn t it ?



x
,

2 38
Judge Brewster l aughed and added in an under
,

tone :

Come back by and bye
.

The d oor closed and the l awyer w ent back to his


,

desk For a few moments he sat still plunged in


.

deep thought Suddenly he touched a bell The


.
, .

head clerk entered .



Show M rs H oward Jeries Jr in
.
, .
, .

The clerk l ooked surpri sed Strict orders h itherto


.

h ad been to show the unw elcome vi sitor out He .

believed th at h e h ad not heard aright .


D id you say M rs Jeff ries Jr judge ?
.

, .,


I said M rs Je ffries. replied the law yer
,

grimly .


Very well judge said the clerk as he le ft the
,

, ,

room .

Presently there w as a timid kn ock at the door .


Come in ! called out th e law yer

.

2 39
THE THIRD D EGREE
depend ed the rst time since the terrible af
. For
f air h ad happened there w as a faint glimmer o f
,

hope ahead If only sh e could rush over to the


.

T ombs an d tell How ard the j oy ful new s so he might


keep up h is courage ! It w as eight days now since
H oward s arre st an d the trial would take pl ace in

six week s There w as still time to prepare a strong


.

de fense i f the judge would only con sent to take th e


case She w as more sure than ever that a clever
.

lawyer would h ave no di f culty in c onvincing a jury


that Howard s alleged con fessi on w as untrue an d

imprope rly obtained .

In the interval s o f waiting to see the lawyer she ,

h ad c on sulted every one sh e knew and among others ,

sh e h ad t alked with D r Bern stein the noted .


,

psych ologist whom she had seen once at Yale He


, .

received her kindly and li stened attentively to h er


st ory When she h ad ni shed he had evinced the
.

greatest intere st He told her that he happened to


.

be the physici an calle d in on the night of the trag


edy and at that time he h ad grave doubts as to it
,

being a case o f murder He believed it w as suicide.


,

and he h ad told C apt ain Clinton so but the po lice ,

capt ain had made up his mind and th at w as the end ,

24 1
THE THIRD DEGREE
of ,
itH oward s con fession he w ent on really
.

,

,

meant nothing If call e d to the stand he could show


.

the jury that a hypnotic subject can be made to

c on fess to anything In the interest o f truth jus



.
,

tice an d science he said he w ould gladly come to


, , ,

her aid .

All thi s sh e w ould tell Judge Brewster It woul d .

be o f great help to him no d oubt Suddenly a cold , .


,

shiver r an through her How did sh e know he .

would t ake the case ? Perh aps thi s summ on s to h is


o fce w as o nly to tell her once m ore that he w oul d

have n othing to do with her and her hu sband She .

wondered why he had decided so suddenly to see


h er an d like a ash an idea c ame to her
, She h ad
, .

seen Mr Je ff rie s Sr . enter th e inner sanctum an d


, .
, ,

i nstinctively sh e felt that sh e h ad something to do


,

with h is vi sit The banker h ad come out accom


.

p a n ied by a richly dre ssed w o m an wh o m sh e g ue sse d


to b e h is wi fe .

She l ooked with much interest at Howard s

stepm oth er She h ad he ard so much about her that


.

it seem ed to her th at she knew her person ally A s .

Alici a swept proudly by the eyes o f the tw o women ,

m et an d A nnie w as surpri sed to see in the banker s



,

242
THE THIRD DEGREE
wi fe s face in stead o f the cold haughty stare she

, ,

ex pected a wi st ful longing look as if sh e w ould like


, , ,

to stop and t alk with her but d are n ot In another , .

in st ant sh e w as gone an d obeying a clerk w h o , , ,

beckoned her to follow him she entered Judge ,

Brew ster s office



.

The l awyer looked up as sh e came in but did not ,

move from h is seat Gruly he said : .



How long do you intend to keep up thi s sy stem
of war fare ? How long are you going to continue
forcing your w ay int o thi s office ?


I didn t force my w ay in she said quietly

,

.

I didn t expect to come in The clerk said you



.

w anted to see me .

The lawyer frowned and scrutinized her closely .

A fter a pau se he said : ,


I w ant to tell you for the ftieth time I can do
nothing for you .


Fi fty ? she echoed Fi fty did you say ? Really

.

,

it doe sn t seem th at much



.

Judge Brewster looked at her quickly to see if she


w as l aughing at him Almost pe evi shly he said : .
,

Fo r the l ast time I repeat I can do nothing for



,

,9

you .

243
THE THIRD DEGREE

Not the last time judge she replied shaking , ,

,

h er he ad I shall come again to morrow



.
-
.

Th e lawyer swung around in hi s chair with indig


nation .

You will

A nnie nodded .


Yes sir she said quietly

, , .


You re determined to force your w ay in here

ex claimed the l aw yer .


Yes , sir .

The j udge banged the desk w ith h is st .


But I won t allow it ! I have something to say

y ou kn o w ! I c an t permit thi s to go

on I repre sen t .

m y client Mr H oward Je ff rie s Sr and he won t


, .
, .
,

c on sent to my t aking up y our hu sband s case



.

There w as a shade o f sarcasm in Annie s voice as

she asked calmly :



Can t you do it without h is con sent

The lawyer looked at her grimly .


I c an ,

he blurted out but I w on t

,

.
"

Her eyes ashed as sh e replied quickly .


Well you ought to
,

The lawyer looked up in am azement



What do you mean he demanded .

244
THE THIRD DEGREE

It s

your duty to do it sh e said quietly ,

.

Your duty to h is son to me and to Mr J eff ries , , .

h im sel f Why he s so e aten up wi th h is family



.
,

p ride an d f al se principle s th at he c an t see the d i f


ference between right and wrong You re h is law


.

y e .r I t s y

o ur duty t o put him right I t s .


downright wicked o f you to re fu se you re hurting

h im Why when I w as hunting around for a l awye r


.
,

o ne o f them actu ally re fu sed to take up the c ase b e

cause he said old Brew ster mu st think Howard w as


g uilty o r he d h ave

t aken it up him sel f Y ou an d .

h is father are putting the whole w orld ag ain st h im ,

and you know it



.

Th e j udge w as staggered No one in h is recollec .

ti on had ever d ared to spe ak to him like that He .

w as so astoni shed th at he fo rgot to re sent it an d h e ,

h id h is con fu si on by t aking out h is handkerchie f and


m opping h is forehe ad .


I do kn ow it he admitted ,

.


Then why do you do it ? sh e snapped
.

The lawyer he sitated and then he said : ,



I th at s not the que sti on

.

Annie leaped quickly fo rward and sh e re ,

p l ied :

24 5
THE THIRD DEGREE

you re determined to h ave me
So

.

Yes sh e said simply



, .


But I don t argue criminal cases

.


That s just it sh e exclaimed eagerly ; my

,

h u sband is not a crimin al He is inn ocent I don t


. .

Wan t a l awyer w ho is alway s de fending criminal s


. .

I w ant one w h o de f ends a m an bem u se he i sn t a


criminal

.

Judge Brew ster w aved h is h and contemptuously .



Go and see some other lawyer there are plenty
o f em

.

She lean ed e agerly forw ard Her face w as .

ushed f rom excitement her eye s ashed , .


There s only one Judge Brew ster sh e ex

,
3

claimed He s the greatest l awyer in the w o rld


.

,

an d h e s going to help us He is going to save



.

H oward s li fe
.

The judge sh ifted uneasily on h is chair He .

didn t like thi s force ful persi stent young woman



, .

A lmost fret fully he said : ,

You always say that Upon my w ord I shall



.
,

begin to believe 1t soon



.


I shall say it again sh e ex cl aimed and again

, ,

every time I see you



.
.

24 7
THE THIRD DEGREE
The lawyer turned round There W as a comic .

look of de spair in h is face wh ich w ould h ave amu sed


h is vi sito r h ad her errand not been so seri ou s .


How o ften do you intend that sh all be ?


Eve ry day she replied calmly I shall say it
,

.

and think it until until it come s true .


Judge Brew ster tried to feel angry although in ,

w ardly he h ad h ard w o rk to keep f rom sm iling .

With pretended indign ation he said : ,

You mean that you intend to keep at me until I



give w ay through sheer exhaustion ?

She n od ded .


Th at s it exactly she said

,

.

The lawyer gasped .


Well I mu st say you you you re very brave
,

.

Annie shook her head .

N o I m n ot sh e said earne stly I m an aw ful



.
, ,

c ow ard but I m ghting fo r him Howard Jeff ries



.
,

l i fted me up when I w as w ay d own in the world .

He gave me h is name He gave me all he h ad to .


,

m ake me a better w om an and I m g rate ful Why


, .
,

ev en a dog h as grati tude even a dog will lick th e ,

h and th at f eed s him Why should I hesitate to ex


.

p re ss my gra titude ? Th at s a l I m d oing


l j ust

248
THE THIRD DECREE
paying him back a bit o f the debt I ow e him an d ,

I m going to move Heaven and earth to bring h is


father around to my w ay o f thinking I ve got you



.

alre ad
3

The judge bounded to his feet Could h is ears .

h ave heard aright ?


Got me already ? he ex claimed What do you

.

mean by that ?

A nnie returned h is angry l ook with the utm ost


calm She w as playing her cards well and sh e knew
.
,

it She h ad hit the old m an in a sen sitive place


. .

Quietly she went on :,


You d say yes in a minute i f it wasn t for Mr

.

Jeff ries .


Oh you think so do you? he gasped
, ,

.


I m sure of it sh e replied condently B oldly

,

.

sh e went on : You re af raid o f him



.

Judge Brewster l aughed heartily .


A fraid of him ? he echoed
.


It i sn t so funny she went on You re af raid

, .

o f opposing him I m not surprised I m af raid of



. .

h im mysel f

.

The law yer looked at her in an amused kind of

249
THE THIRD DEGREE

I m sure o f it sh e said quickly

,You like d

.

my husband and you d just love to ru sh in and ght


,

for him His father think s he is guilty and well


.
,

y o u d on t like to di

sobey him It s very n atur al .

.

He s an inuenti al m an a person al f rien d o f the



,

President and all that You know on which side .

y o ur bre a d i s buttered a n do h it s v ery n atur al , ,


-
you re looking out for your ow n interests

Judge Brew ster interrupted her impatiently .


Circumstances are again st How ard Your father .

j udges him guilty f rom h is ow n con fession It s the .


conclu si on I m c ompelled to come to my sel f Now



.
,

h ow do you propose to ch ange th at conclu si on ?


You don t have to change it she said quietly



.
,

You don t believe H ow ard guilty



.


I don t ? exclaimed the lawyer

.

No at the bottom o f yo ur heart You knew



.
,

H oward when he w as a boy and you know he is as ,

incapable o f th at crime as you are



.

Judge Brew ster l apsed into sil ence and there fol ,

l owed a per fect quiet broken only by the suppressed ,

ch atter o f the clerk s and clicking of the typewriters


in the outer offi ce Anni e watched him cl osely w on
.
,

dering wh at w as passing in h is mind fearing in her ,

25 1
THE THIRD DEGREE
h eartthat sh e might have prejudiced him against her
hu sband only the more Sudden ly he turned on .

h er
.


M rs Je ff rie s h ow do you know that your h us
.
,

band did not kill Robert Underw ood ?


1 know it sh e said con dently



.
,


Yes ,persisted the j udge but how do you

,

know it ?

Annie looked steadily at him and then sh e sai d ,

solemnly :

I kn ow th ere s a God but I c an t tell you h ow I



,

know it I ju st kn o w it that s all ! H ow ard didn t



.
,


do it I know he didn t

. .

The l awyer smiled .


Th at s a very fair sample o f feminine logic

.


Well it s all I have she retorted with a toss of
,

,

,

h er head And it s a mighty com fort too bec au se



.
, ,

w hen you kn ow a thing you kn ow it and it mak e s

yo u h appy .

Judge Brew ster l aughed outright .


Feminine deduction he cried Think a th ing .

,

believe it and then you kn ow it !


, Looking up at

h er he asked :
,


H aven t you any rel ative s to whom you can

2 52
THE THIRD D EGREE
She shook her head .


No sh e said sadly
,


My father died ia S ing .


Sing an d the rest are not wort n


Yes yes I know replied the judge hastily
, , ,

I .

g ot y our f amily hi st ory f rom Mr Je ff rie s af te r you r .

m arri age It is led aw ay among the family ar


.

chive s

.

S he smiled sadly .

It s a wonder you don t burn em up



my folks

w ere not a very brilli ant lot Earnestly sh e went .


on : But my father w as all right judge Blood



, .

w as thicker th an w ater with him He d never


.

h ave gone back on me in the w ay How ard s father


h as on him

.

The lawyer looked at her xedly w ithout speak


ing Their eye s met and the silence continued until
.
,

it bec ame embarrassing Judge Brewster shook h is .

h ead .


It s too bad I m sorry for you really I

.
, ,

Annie laughed an d he asked : ,

Why do you laugh ?



What s the use o f crying ? she said Ha ! Ha !

.

It s almo st a j oke You re so rry my father ih law



- -
.
,

is sorry and I suppose my mother in law is shedding


,
- -

253
THE THIRD DEGREE
The lawye r looked up at her .



Poo r girl you are having a hard time , are nt


you ?

Things have been better she replied with a ,

,

t remor in her voice Howard and I were very


.

happy when we rst A sob choked her ut


terance and sh e forced a laugh saying :
,

Here I , ,

m u st keep off that subjee



Wh y do you laugh ? demanded th e lawyer
.

Already hy sterical Annie h ad great difficulty in


,

keeping back her tears .


Well if I don t laugh she sobbed I ll cry ;
,

, ,

and as I d on t w ant to crywhyI ju st l augh



It s

.

g o t to be one o r the o ther see

He said nothing and she continued :


,


, s


Well I gues I ll go home home that s the

w orst part o f ithome

She stopped short sh e could go no fu rther Her


, .

bosom w as heaving the hot tears were rolling d ow n


,

her checks The old l awyer turned aw ay h is head


.

so that sh e might not see the su spici ou s redness in

h is eyes Moving tow ard the door she turned


. .
,

around .


Well you h ave your ow n trouble s j udge
, , .

255
THE THIRD DEGREE

g o n ow but I ll come again morrow Perhaps


,

to- .

y ou ll

h ave better new s fo r me .

The lawyer waved her back to her seat with a


c omm anding ge sture sh e could not re si st There .

w as determinatio n around h is m outh ; in h is face w as

an ex pre ssi on sh e h ad not seen there be fore .


Sit down again fo r a moment he said sharply ,

.

I w ant to ask you a questi on How do you account .

f or H oward s con fessing to the shooting ?



'



I don t account for it she replied as sh e re

, ,

sumed her seat



He says he didn t con fess I
.

.

don t believe he did



.


But three witne sses

Who are the witnesses ? she interrupted

tem ptuously

Policemen !
.


That makes no di ff erence he said
He made ,

.

a con fe ssi on an d signed

Annie leaned forward What did thi s que sti on


.

ing mean ? Was the judge becoming intere sted after


all ? Her he art gave a le ap as sh e an sw ered eagerly

He con fessed against h is will I mean h e .

didn t kn o w wh at he w as doing at the time I ve



.

h ad a talk with the physici an w h o w as c alled in

Dr Bern stein
. He says that Captain Clinton is
.

256
THE THIRD DEGREE
a hypn oti st that he can compel people to say what
,

he w ants them to say Well Howard s what i .


,


th ey call a subject they told him he did it till he
believed he did .

She looked narrowly at the l awyer to see what


eff ect her w o rd s w ere having but to her gre at dis ,

appointm ent the judge w as apparently paying not

the slightest atten tio n He w as gazing out o f the .

window and drumm ing his ngers absent mindedly -

o n the desk Utterly discouraged she agai n rose


.
, .

O h w ell w hat s the use



, ,

T h e j udge quickly put out h is hand and partly


pushed her back in the chai r .


Don t go he said Then he added :


, .


Who told you he w as a hypnotic subject ?

Her hope s revived once more Quickly sh e said : .


D r Bernste in Besides Howard told m e so
. .
,

himsel f A friend o f h is at college used to make


.

him cut all sorts o f capers .



A friend at col lege eh ? Do you remember h is ,

n ame ?


Howard know s it
.

Um ! ej aculated the l awyer He took up a pad



.

an d wrote a memo randum on it Then aloud h e .

2 57
THE THIRD DEGREE

You id I knew
sa on which side my bread w as

buttered
D id I ?

ex claimed in con sternation
sh e .

You say a great many things M rs Je ff ries



.
, ,

said the lawyer solemnly O f course I realize h ow



.
,

deeply you feel and I make excuses for you But


, .

I m not afraid Please understan d that



.

He rapped the table with his eyeglasse s as i f he


were very much offended indeed .

O f course not sh e said apolog etically



,
If you .


were you wouldn t even see me let alone talk to


me and and Pointing to the piece of paper
he held in h is h and she added
And,


And what P demanded the judge amused , .

Hal f hy sterical now l aughing now c rying sh e


, , ,

went on :


A nd and take the names and addresse s of wit
ne s ses f or n
the defen se a d think out h ow you re

o to
g ing de fend H oward and and all th a
The lawyer looked at her and l aughed .


So you think I m going to help H oward ? he

said You t ake too much for granted



. .


You re not af raid to help him she said

I , .


know that you j u st said so
.

259
THE THIRD DEGREE
Judge Brew ster rai sed h is st and brought it
down on the desk with a bang w hich raised in a
cloud the accumulated d ust of w eeks His face set .

and determined he said : ,


You re quite right ! I m going to take your

case !

Annie felt hersel f giving w ay It w as more than .

sh e could stand Fo r victory to be hers when only


.

a momen t before de fe at seemed cert ain w as too

m uch for h er nerves All she c ould gasp w as :


.


Oh judge !
,

The lawyer adjusted his eyeglasses blew h is nose ,

w ith suspici ou s energy an d took up a pen , .



Now d on t pretend to be su rpri sed you knew I
w ould An d please d on t thank me I h ate to be
. .

thanked fo r doing what I want to do If I didn t



.

w ant to do it I would n t

,

Through her tears she mu rmured :



I d like to say thank you
9,


Well please d on t he sn apped
,

,

.

But she persi sted Tenderly sh e sai d :


.
,


May I say you re th e dearest kindest

,

Judge Brewster shook h is h ead .



No no nothing o f the kind

.

26o
THE THIRD DEGREE


Most gracious noble hearted c ourageous-
,

she

wen t on .

Th e judge struck the table another fo rmi dabl e


M rs Jeff ries he exclaimed
. .

She turned aw ay her head to hide her f eelings .


Oh h ow I d like to h ave a good cry she m ur
,

,

mured If How ard only knew !


.

Judge Brew ster touched an electric button and ,

h is he ad clerk entered .


Mr Jones said the l awyer quickly get a steno
.
,

,

graphic report of the case o f the People against


How ard Jeff ries Junior ; get the co roner s inquest
,

,

the grand ju ry indictment and get a copy o f the,

Je ries co n fessiong et everything right aw ay I


The clerk looked inquiringly rst at Annie and ,

then at h is em ployer Th en respect fully he asked :


.


Do we sir? ,


We do said the law yer laconically
,
"
.
THE THIRD D EGREE
now . She wan ts to see you . She wi shes to be o f
se rvice to you Now you .
, must conciliate her .

She may be o f great use to us .


Annie s face expressed considerable d oubt



.

Perhaps so she said but the doo r w as



,

,

sl ammed in my face when I called to see her



.

That s nothing answered the judge



She ,

.

probably know s nothing about it In any case .


,

ple ase remember that sh e is my client


She bowed her head and murmured obediently :
I ll remember

.

The door of the of ce opened and Alici a entered .

She stopped sho rt on seeing w ho w as there and ,

an awkw ard pau se follow ed Judge Brewster intro .

duced them .

Mrs Je ff rie s m ay I pre sent Mrs H ow ard



.
, .
;

Junior ?

Alici a bowed stimy and som ewhat haughtily .

Annie remained sel f posse ssed and on the de fensive -


.

Addressing the banker s wife the lawyer said :


,

I told Mrs Howard that you wi shed to speak



.

to her A fter a pause he added : I think per



.
,

h aps I ll leave you together Excu se me


,

. .

He le ft the of ce and there w as anothe r embar


26 3
THE THIRD DEGREE
rassing silence An n ie waited for M rs Je ff ries to
. .

begin Her attitude suggested that she expected


.

something unpleasant an d w as fully prepared for it .

At last A lici a broke th e silence :


You may think it strange th at I have asked for

thi s interview sh e began but you know A n



, , ,


nie Interrupting h ersd f she asked : You ,

don t mind my calling you Annie do you


The young woman smi led .


I d on t see why I should It s my n ame and

.

w e re rel ative s

by marri age There w as an iron .

ical ring in her voice as she wen t on : Rel ative s ! It


seems funny doesn t it but we don t pick and


, ,

c hoose our rel ative s We must take them as they .

come

.

Alicia made an e ort to appear conciliatory .


A s we are wh at we are let s try to make the

b e st o f it

.


Make the best o f it echoed Annie
God .

kn ow s I m willing but I ve h ad m ighty little en



,

c ourag em en t Mrs Je ff rie s, When I called to see


. .

y o u the o ther day to beg y o u to use you r inuenc


, e

w ith Mr Je ffrie s not at home w as h anded to me



.
,

by the liveried footman and the doo r w as slammed in


2 64
THE THIRD DEGREE
my face Ten minutes later you walked out to your
.

carri age and were driven aw ay .



I knew nothing o f this believe me murmured ,

Alici a apo logetically .

It s wh at I got just the same said the other



,

dryly Quickly she wen t on :


. But I m not


compl aining understand I m not cornplaining
,

.

Only I did think that at such a time one wom an


might have held out a helping hand to anoth er .

Alicia held up her hand protestingly .


How could I ? she ex claimed

Now be rea .
,

son able You are held respon sible for H oward s



.

presen t position .



Yes by the police retorted A nnie grimly and ,

,

by a c ouple o f yell ow j ourn als I didn t think you d


.

believe all the gossip and sc and al th at s been printed


about me I didn t believe what w as said about


.

Alici a started and changed color .


What do you mean ? sh e exclaimed haughtily
.

What w as said about me



Well it h as been said that you married old
,

Jeff ries fo r h is money and h is soci al position .


"

Old Jeff ries ! prote sted Alici a indignantly



.

265
THE THIRD DEGRE E
She stopped short and Alici a completed the sen
tence for her :
and welcome you into our family

Welcome me ? No ma am I m not welcome
,

.

and n othing you or y our set could say w ould ever

m ake me believ e that I w as welcome All I ask .

is that H ow ard s father do h is duty by h is son



.



I do not think pardon my saying so inter ,

rupted Alici a stily that you are quite in a positi on



,

to judge o f what con stitute s Mr Je ff ri es duty to h is



.

9
son .


Perhaps not I only know what I would do
.


what my father would have done what any one
would do i f they h ad a spark o f humanity in them .

But they do say that after three generati ons o f so


ciety li fe red bl ood turn s into blue

.

Alici a turned to l ook out o f the window Her . .

face still averted sh e said :



What is there to do ? Howard h as acknowledge d
is
h guilt any sacri ces we m ay make will be throw n
aw ay

.

An nie eyed her compani on with contempt Her .

vo ice quivering with indign ation sh e burst out : ,


What is there to do ! Try and save him o f ,

267
THE THIRD D EGRE E
co urse Mu st we sit and do n othing because things
.

look black ? A h ! I w asn t brought up that w ay



.

No ma am I m going to make a ght !



, ,


It s usele ss murmured A lici a shaking her

, ,

h ead .

Judge Brewster doe sn t think so replied th e



,

o ther c almly .

The banker s wi fe gave a start of surprise


.

Quickly she demanded :


You mean that Judge Brewster h as encourag e d

you to to


He s done more th an encourage me God bless
h im h e s going to take up the case

.

Alici a w as so thunde rstruck that for a moment


sh e c ould nd no answer .


What ! sh e excl aimed without consulting Mr

, .

'

J e ff rie s?

She put her handke rchie f to her face to conceal


h er agi tati on Could it be possible th at the judge
.

w as going to act after all in de ance o f her h us , ,

band s wi shes? If that were true what would be



,

come o f her ? Concealm ent would be no longer


possible Di scovery o f her clandestine vi sit to Un
.

derw oo d s apartment th at fatal night must come



.

2 68
THE THIRD DEGREE
H oward might still be the murderer Underwood ,

might not have committed suicide but her visit to h is ,

rooms at midnight would become known Judge .

Brewster w as not the m an to be deterred by dith


culties once he t ook up a c ase He would see the .

importance o f n ding the mysteriou s woman w ho


went secretly to Underwood s rooms that night of

the tragedy .


He con sulted only his ow n feelings went on ,

A nnie He believes in H ow ard and h e s going to



.
,

de fen d him

.

Alici a looked at h er anx i ously as if trying to


read what might be in her mind Indi erently she .

went on :

The papers say there w as a qu arrel about you ,

that you and Mr Underwood were too f riendly


. .

They implied th at Howard w as jealous Is thi s .

true ?


It s all t alk

,

cried Annie indignan tly noth


ing but scand al lies ! There s not a word o f truth

in it Howard never h ad a jealous thought o f me


.

and as f or me whyI ve alw ays w orshiped the



-

ground he w alked on D idn t he sacri ce every


.

thing for my sake ? D idn t he qu arrel with h is


269
THE THIRD DEGRE E
coming into my mind How ard told me that while .

he w as at Underwood s that dread ful night he

thought he heard your v oice It mu st have been a .

dream o f course yet he thought he w as sure o f it


, , .


Your voice th at s queer i sn t it ? Why w hat s
,

the matter ?

Alici a h ad grown deathly pale and staggered


again st a chair Annie ran to her aid thinking she
.
,

w as ill .



It s nothing nothing st ammered Alici a t e ,

covering hersel f .

Fearing she h ad said something to hurt her


f eeling s Ann ie said sympathetic ally :
,



I haven t said anything anything out o f the

w ay
have I ? If I have I m sorry aw fully sorry
.



I m af raid I I ve been very rude and you ve

been so kind !

No no ! interrupted A licia quickly You ve



, .

said n oth ing


done nothing you ve h ad agre atdeal

to be ar a gre at de al to bear I understand that .

perfectly Taking her companion s hand in hers


.

,

sh e went on Tell me what do they say about the



, ,

woman w ho went to see Robert Unde rwoo d the


night of the tragedy ?

27 1
THE THIRD D EGRE E

The police can t

nd her w
don t kn ow w ho e

Conden tly sh e went on : But Judge


sh e is

.

Brewster will n d her We have a d ozen detec.

t iv es searching for her Captain Clinton accu sed


.


m e o f bei ng the w oman you kn ow he d oesn t like

me .

T h e ban ker s wi fe w as far too bu sy thinking o f


the number o f detective s employed to nd the mi ss


ing witness to pay attenti on to the concluding sen
tence An xiously she demanded :
.


Supposing the woman is found what can sh e ,

prove Wh at di ff erence will it make ?


?


All the di ff eren ce in the w orld replied An nie ,

.

She is a most important wi tness Firmly she .


went on : S h e must be found If she didn t shoo t



.

Robert Underw ood sh e kn ow s w ho did



.
,


But h ow can she know ? argued Alicia
How
.

ard c on fe ssed that he did it himsel f If he h ad not .

con fessed it would be di fferent .



He did not con fess replied the other calmly
,

.

r .

M s Je ff rie s he never con fessed If he did he .
,

didn t know what he w as saying



.

Alici a w as rapidly losing her sel f possession -


.

Did he tell you th at ? sh e gasped



.

2 72
THE THIRD DEGREE
Annie nodded .

Yes D r Bern stein says the police forced it



. .

out o f h is tired brain I made Howard go over .

every second o f h is li fe that night from the time he


le ft me to the moment he w as arrested There .

wasn t a harsh wo rd between them



She stopped .

short and l ooked with al arm at Al ici a w h o h ad ,

turned ashen white Why what s the matter ?


.
,



You re pal e as death you 9

Ali cia could contain hersel f no longer Her .

nerves were on the point o f giving w ay She felt .

that if sh e could not con de her secret to some one

sh e mu st go m ad Pacing the oo r she cried :


.
,


What am I to do ? What am I to do ? I be
lieved H oward guilty Why shouldn t I ? I h ad
.

no re ason to doubt h is ow n con fe ssi on ! Every one



believed it h is ow n father included Why should .

I doubt it But I see it all now ! Underwood must


.

have shot himsel f as he said he would !

An nie started What did M rs Jeff ri es mean ?


. .

Did sh e real ize the tremendou s signi can ce o f the


w ord s sh e w as uttering ?

A s he said he would ? sh e repeated sl ow ly



.

Yes said A l ici a weakly



.
,

2 73
THE THIRD DEGREE
D isgrace !

c ried Annie contemptuously

.

What is di sgrace when a human li fe is at stake ?


It seemed so useless m aned A lici a a use

o
,

less sacri ce in the face of Howard s con fession


.


O f course i f I d known if I d suspected w hat

y o u tell me I d h ave c ome


-
fo rw
ard and t o ld ev ery

thing no matter at what cost Tear fully she .

added : Surely you realize the position it puts me


in ?

A new light shone in A nnie s eyes Wh at w as


.
.

this w oman s mi sery to her ? Her duty w as to th e


poor fellow w h o w as counting the hours until she


could set him f ree His stepmother dese rved no .

mercy Utterly selsh devoid o f a spark of hu


.
,

manity sh e would have left them both to perish in


,

order to protect h ersel f f rom sh ame an d ridicule .

Her face w as set and determ ined as she said calmly :



It must be do ne now
.


m urmured Alici a in a low tone that

Yes ,

sounded like a sob it mu st be done now ! Oh if



, ,

I d on ly done it be fo re if I d only told Mr Jef



-
.

f ries th e whole t ruth ! You spe ak o f H ow ard s


suff erings If he didn t do it he has at least the



.
,

consciousne ss o f h is ow n innocence but I the con ,

27 5
THE THIRD DEGREE
t nt fear o f being found o ut is wo rse than any hell
s a

th e imagin ati on can conjure up I dreaded it I .

dread it n ow it me an s di grac
s e soci al ostraci sm


my husband must know the whole world will
kn ow .

Annie w as not li stening Still bewildered sh e


.
,

gazed with th e utmost astonishment at her com


pan ion T o think that thi s mysteri ous w oman they
.

h ad been seeking w as H ow ard s stepmother



.

So y ou re the mi ssing witness we ve all been


hunti ng for ! she said ; I can t believe it even now



.

How did it happen ?

Alici a explained in sh ort broken sentences :


,


He and I were once engaged I broke it off .

w hen I fo und him out A fter I married Mr Jef


. .

f rie s I met Underwood again Foolishly I allowed .


,

the old intimacy to be renewed He took advantage .

an d preyed on my f riend s I forbade h im my


.

h ou se
. He w rote me a letter in wh ich he threatened
to kill him sel f . s a f
I w a raid he meant it I wanted
to prevent him I went to h is rooms that night I
. .

d idn t tell Mr Jeffries When the truth is known



. .

and I ackn ow ledge th at I vi sited th is m ancan ou


y
see w hat it m e an s what a fuss there ll be

276
THE THIRD DE GREE
Eve rybody will put the w orst const ruction
on it


Trust them for that said Ann ie grimly She .

w as so rry fo r the woman s di stre ss yet being only



, ,

human sh e felt a certain sense o f sati sfaction in


,

seeing her suff er a little o f wh at sh e h ad been

made to su ff er .



They ll say that I God know s what they ll

say ! went on Alicia di stractedly



My hu sband .

wi ll be dragged through the mire o f another pub


s i
lic cand al h s soci al prestige wil l oh I dare ,

n ot think of it
I kn ow I know m y duty is
to th at un fortun ate b oy I mustn t think of my
.

sel f

.


Have you the letter that Mr Underwood wrote
.

y ou ? dem

anded her c o mpani on .



Yes I ve never been able to destroy it

I don t .

know why I kept it but th ank God I have it !


,

Moaning she went on :


,



The disgrace l the di sgrace it s ruin l deg

radation ! It s the end o f everything



the end o f
everything
Annie regarded with contempt thi s poor weak , ,

w aili ng creature w h o lack ed the moral courage to


277
THE THIRD DEGREE

Pardon me M rs Je ff ries I hope I haven t kept
, .
,

ou w aiting N ticing her git ti n tr ce


9

y o . a a o an d a s

o f te ars he looked surpri sed


, He made no comment .

but turned to Annie :



I have been tal king to D r Bern stein over the .

phone .

Annie approached him so ftly and said in a w h is


per :

I ve told Mrs Jeff ries that you have under

.

taken H oward s de fense


.

Judge Brew ster smiled at h is wealthy client al ,

most apologetically Annie thought Then address , .

ing her he said :


,

Yes I ve been quite bu sy since I saw you I



, .

h ave put three o f the be st detective s w e have on


the t rail of the woman w h o visited Underwood that
night I don t think the police have been trying
.

very h ard to n d her They re sati sed with How .


ard s con fe ssi on But we want her and we ll get



.

her 9


Oh ! gasped Alicia

.

Th e judge w as proceeding to tell of other steps h e


h ad taken when the d oo r O pened and the h ead clerk
entered followed by Mr Jeff rie s
,
. .

2 79
THE THIRD DEGREE

I told Mr Jeff ries that M rs Je ries w as here
. .
,

said the clerk .

You might h ave told him that there were tw o


M rs Jeff ries here laughed the judge



. .
,

The clerk retired and the banker c ompletely ig ,

i
n oring the pre sence o f h s d augh ter in law turned -
,

to h is wi f e an d said :

I regret my dear that you should be subjected
, ,

to the se family annoyance s



.

Judge Brewster came forw ard and cleared h is


th roat as i f prelimin ary to someth ing important

he had to say Addressing the banker he said


.
,

boldly :

Mr Jeff ries I have decided to undertake How
.
,

ard s de fen se

.

His aristoc ratic clien t w as taken completely by


surpri se For a moment he could say n othing but
. ,

simply st ared at the l awyer as i f un able to believ e

h is ears With an e ff ort he at l ast excl ai med :


.
,



Indeed then you will please consider our
bu siness relations to have ceased f rom this m o
m ent

.

Th e l awyer bowed .


A s you ple ase he said suavely

.
,

280
THE THIRD DEGREE
The banker turned to his w i fe .



Alici a come .

He off ered his arm and turn ed toward the door .

Alici a in di stress looked back at An nie w h o nodded


, , ,

reassuringly to her Judge Brewster rose and go.


,

ing to the d oo r open ed it The bank er bowed stily


, .

and said :

Pray don t trouble Good morning sir

.
, .


Good morning Mr Jeff ries replied the judge
, .
,

.

A s Alici a followed her hu sban d out she turne d ,

and whi spered to A nn ie :



Come and see me at my h ome
.

When she h ad di sappeared the judge came back


into the room an d sat down at h is desk .


Well that s d one ! h e exclaimed with a sigh o f
,

relie f Rummaging for a moment among his pa


.

p er s, he l ooked up and said with an enc o uraging


smile :


Now i f you please we w ill go over that evidence
, ,

bit by bit
.

28 1
'
THE THIRD DEGREE
up a bulwa rk o f de fense which the police w ould
nd difcult to tear dow n Yet he w as not wholly
.

reassured as to the outcom e until An nie the day ,


.

following the interview in h is of ce in formed him ,

breathlessly that she h ad found the mysteri ous


w oman . The judge w as duly elated ; now it w as
p lain sai ling , indeed ! There h ad alw ay s been th e

possibility that H ow ard s con fession to the police


w as true that he h ad re ally killed Underwood


, But .

n ow they h ad found th e on e important witness th e ,

mysteri ous woman w ho w as in the apartment a few


m inute s be fore the shooting and w h o w as in pos
session o f a letter in which Underw oo d decl are d

his intenti on of shooting himsel f doubt w as no ,

longer possible . Acquittal w as a foregone conclu


si on So pleased w as th e judge at Annie s nd th at

.

he did not in si st on know ing th e woman s name


.

He saw that A nnie pre ferred for some reason not


, ,

to give iteven to her legal advi serand he let

her have her w ay ex acting only that the woman


,

should be produced the instant he needed her T he .

young woman readily assented O f course there re


.
,

mained the con fessi on but that h ad been obtained




,

un fairly illegally f raudu lently


, , Th e nex t impor
.

283
THE THIRD DEGREE
tant step w as to arrange a meeting at the judge s

house at which D r Bern stein the hypn otic expert


.
, ,

would be present and to which should be invited both


Captain Clinton and Howard s father In f ront of

.

all the se witne sse s the judge w ould accu se the police

captain o f browbeating his pri soner into making


an unt rue con fessi o n . Perh aps the captain could
be argu ed into admitting the possibility o f a m is
take h aving been made If fu rther he could be
.
, ,

convinced o f the exi stence of documentary evidence


showing that Underw ood re ally c omm itted suicide

he might be willing to recede f rom h is positi on in


o rder to protect h im sel f . At any rate it w as wo rth
t ry ing The judge insi sted also th at to thi s meet
.
, ,

ing the mysteri ous woman witness should al so come ,

to be produced at such a moment as the l awyer

might con sider opportune Annie merely demanded


.

a few h ours time so sh e could m ake th e appo int


ment and soon reappeared with a solemn promi se


th at the woman would attend the meeting and come
forward at w hatever moment c alled upon .

Three evenings l ater there w as an impressive


g athering at Judge Brew ster s re sidence
In t h e .

h and somely appo inted library on the second oor


284
THE THIRD DEGREE
were seated D r Bernstein Mr Je ff ries and the.
, .

ud
j g e Each.w as ab so rbed in h i s ow n thou ght s .

D r Bernstein w as pufng at a big black cigar ; the


.

banker stared v acantly into space The judge at .


,

h is de sk examined some legal papers


, Not a word .

w as spoken They seemed to be waiting for a


.

f ourth m an w h o h ad not yet arrived Presently .

Judge Brew ster looked up and said :


Gentlemen I expect Captain Clinton in a few

,

m inutes and the m atter will be plac ed be fore


,


you .

Mr Jeff ries frow ned It w as greatly against


. .

h is will that he h ad been dragged to thi s c on ference


Peevi shly he said : ,


I ve no wi sh to be present at the meeting You

.

know that and yet you sent for me .


Judge Brewster looked up at h im quickly and


said quietly yet deci sively :


Mr Jeff ries it is absolutely necessary that you
.
,

be present w hen I tell Captain Clinton that he h as


either will fully or ignorantly forced your son to
con f ess to h aving commi tted a crime o f which I am

per su aded he i s ab solutely inn o cent .

.T he banker shrugged h is shoul ders .

28 5
THE THIRD DEGREE

Why not ? demanded the judge
Sh e h as .

more at stake th an any of us She h as worked day .

an d night on thi s case It w as she w ho aroused .

D r Bem stein s interest and persuaded him to co llect


'

.

the evidence again st Captai n Clinton .


The banker frowned .


She is the cause o f the whole mi serable bu si
ness he growled
,

.

The doo r opened and the butler entering handed , ,

h is master a card .


Ah ! ej aculated the judge Here s our m an ! .

Show him up .

When the serv ant had di sappeared Mr Jeff ries .

turned to h is host With a show o f irritatio n he


.


I think you put too much faith in that woman ,


but you ll n d out you ll n d out

.

Judge Brewster smi led .


a s o r o


Th t u bject i sn t it Mr Jeff rie s to nd ,

, .

out ? he said sarcastically



.


Wh at s the name o f this mysteri ous witness ?

exclaimed the banker te stily If the police h aven t .


been able to nd her why shou ld H oward s wi f e


be able to do so ? There w as a report that sh e her


287
THE THIRD DEGREE
el f w as
s He pau sed and a dded ,

D id sh e tell
you w ho it w as ?


No ,

sa id the judge dryly ,

sh e will tell us to

night .

The banker bounded in h is seat .

You ll see he c ried



Another ash in the
,

.

p an I d
. on t like being mixed up in

thi s m atte r



it s a di sagreeabl e most di sagreeable .

D r Bern stein pu ff ed a thick cl oud o f smoke into


.

the air and said quietly :



Yes sir ; it is di sagreeabl e but un fortun ately

,

it is li fe .

Suddenly th e d oor opened and C aptai n Clinton


appeared foll owed by h is dus A ch ates D etective
, ,

Sergeant Maloney B oth men were in plain clothes . .

The captain s manner w as conde scendingly polite



,

the attitude of a m an so sure o f h is ow n positi on


that he h ad little respect for the opini on of any one
else With an eff ort at amiability he began :
.


Got your messag e j udge c ame as soon as I ,

could Excuse my bringing the sergeant with m e


. .

Sit over there Maloney Hal f apologetically he


, .

,

added : He keeps his eyes open and h is mouth shut



,

so he w on t inter fere How do d octor ?



.
,

288
THE THIRD DEGREE
Maloney took a position at the far end o f th e
room while D r Bern stein introduced the captain
, .

to Mr Je ff rie s
. .


Yes I know the gentleman
, How do sir ? .
,

The banker nodded stily He did not reli sh .

having to hobnob in thi s w ay with such a vulgari an


as a grafting police captain Captain Clinton .

turned to Judge Brewster .

Now judge expl ode your bomb ! But I warn



, ,

y o u I ve
m ade up my mind .


I ve made up my mind too retorted the judge

, ,

,

so at least we st art even



.

Yes growle d the other



.
,

A s I stated in my letter captain went on the



, ,

j udge c oo lly I d on t,w ant



to use y our
o w n meth
ods in thi s matter I don t want to spread repo rts
.

about you o r accu se you in the papers That s why


, .

I asked you to come over and di scu ss the matter in


fo rmally with me I want to give you a chance
.

to change your attitude



.


D on t want any ch ance growled the policeman

, .

You mean said the judge pee ring at h is of:



, ,

vi : over h is spectacle s that you don t w ant to


,

change y our attitude



.

289
THE THIRD DEGREE

Yes
,

retorted the judge quickly it s beginning ,

to sprout c apt ain !



,

There w as a sudden interrupti on cau sed by the


entrance o f the butler w ho approached his master
,

and whi spered something to him Aloud the j udge


.

said :

A sk her to w ait till we are ready



.

The servant retired and Captain Clinton turned


to the judge With moc k de ference he said :
.
,

Say Mr Brew ste r you re a great con stitutional



, .
,

a
l wyer the greatest in thi s country and I take
off my hat to you but I don t think c rim in al law is

,

in your line .

Judge Brew ster pursed h is lips and his eyes


ashed as he retorted quickly :

I d on t think it s const itutional to take a man s

mi nd aw ay f rom h im and substitute your ow n Cap ,

tain Clinto n .


Wh at do you mean demanded the chie f .


I mean th at instead o f bringing out o f this man
his ow n true thought s o f in nocence you h ave forced ,

into h is con sc iousness your ow n false thoughts of


his guilt

.

The j udge spoke slowly and del iberately making ,

29 1
THE THIRD DEGREE
each word tell The police bully squirmed uneasily
.

on h is chair .


I don t follow you judg e Better stick to inter

, .

national law This police court work is beneath


.

you .


Perhaps it is replied the lawyer quickly with
,

out l osing h is temper Then he asked : Captain


.
,

will you an swer a few questions ?


It all depends replied th e other insolently
,

.

If you d on t cried the judge sharply I ll ask



, ,

them through the medium o f your ow n weapon


the press Only my press will not consi st o f the
.

one or tw o yellow j ourn al s you in spire but the in ,

depen dent digni ed press o f the United State s


, .

The c aptain reddened .


I don t like the in sinuati on judge

, .


I don t in sinuate Captain Clinton went on the

, ,

lawyer severely I accu se you of giving an un



,

truth ful version of thi s matter to tw o sensati onal


newspapers in thi s city These scurrilous sheets .

h ave tried thi s young m an in their columns and


found h im guilty thu s prejudicing the whole com
,

munity against him before he comes to t ri al In .

no other country in the civilized world would thi s

292
THE THIRD DEGREE
be tolerated except in a country overburdened w ith
,

f reedom

.

Captain Clinton laughed boi sterously .


The early bird catches th e worm he grinned
,

.

They asked me for in fo rmation and got it


.

Judge Brewster w ent on :



You have so prejudiced the community again st
him that there is scarcely a m an w ho doesn t believe

him guilty If thi s matter ever comes to tri al h ow


.

can we pick an unprejudiced j ury ? A dded to thi s


foul inju stice you h ave branded thi s young man s

w i f e with every stigm a that can be put on w oman

hood You have hinted that sh e is the mysterious


.

female w h o vi sited Underwood on the night o f the


sh ootin g and openly sugge sted that sh e is the c au se


of the crime .


Well it s ju st possible sai d the policem an w ith
,


,

eff rontery .

Judge Brewster w as fast l osing h is temper The .

man s in solent d emeanor w as intolerable H al f ris



.

ing f rom his chair and pointing h is nger at him he ,

continued :
You have besmirched her ch aracter with storie s

o f scand al You h ave li nked her name with that


.

293
THE THIRD DEGREE
le ssly on his chair He did not reli sh the trend o f .

the conversati on .



I don t like all thi s Judge Brewster tain t fair ,

I ain t on tri al

.

Judge Brew ster picked up some papers f rom h is


desk an d read f rom one O f them .


Captain in the case O f the Peopl e against Cree
,


don after plyi ng the de fendant wi th que sti on s for
six h ours you obt ained a c on f e ssi on f rom him ?

,


Yes he told m e he set the pl ace on re

.
,


Exactly but it afterw ard developed that he w as

never near the place .


Well he told me
, .

Yes He told you but it turn ed out that h e



.
,

w as mi st aken

.

Yes admitted th e c aptai n reluctantly



.
,

The judge took another docum ent an d read : ,

In the c ase o f th e People again st B entl e


y

.



That w as Bentley s ow n fault I didn t ask

him i nterrupted the captain


,

He owned up him .

sel f T um ing to the sergeant he said You w ere



.
, ,

there M al oney
, .


But you believed h im guilty interposed J udge ,

Brew ster quickly .

29 5
THE THIRD D EGREE

Yes .


You thought h im guilty and after a hour ve-

se ssion you impre ssed thi s thought on h is m ind and


h e h e c on fes ed

s .



I didn t impress anything I just sim pl
You ju st simply c onvinced him that he w as


guilty though as it turned out he w as in pri son at
th e time he w as supposed to have c ommitted the

bu rglary


It w asn t burglary corrected the captain sul

,

lenly .

Judge Brew ster again consulted the papers in h is


hand .


You re quiteright captain m y mi stake it w as

,


h omicide but it w as an untrue con fession
, .


Yes .


It w the same thing in the Callahan case went
as ,

on the judge picking up an other d ocument



, In .


the case O the People again st Tuthill and Cos
f

grove Tuthill con fessed and died in pri son and ,

Cosgrove afterward acknowledged that he and not


Tuthill w as the guilty m an .


Well growled the captain mi stakes some
,

,


times happen .

296
THE THIRD DEGREE

Judge Brew ster stopped and l aid down h is eye


g l asse s .


Ah that is preci sely the point O f view we take
,

in thi s matter ! Now captain in the present case


, , ,

on the night O f th e c on fe ssi on did you sh ow young

Mr Jeff ries the pi stol with which he w as supposed


.

to have shot Robert Underw ood

Captain Clinton screwed up h is eyes as if thinking


hard Then turning to h is sergeant he said :
.
, ,

Yes I think I did D idn t I M aloney



. .
,


Your word is suf cient said the j udge quickly
,

.

D id you hold it up ?


Think I did .

DO you know i f there w as a light shining on it ?


asked the judge quickly .

At thi s point D r Bern stein w ho h ad been an at


, .
,

tentive li stener bent eagerly forw ard


, Much de .

pended on Captain Clinton s answer perhaps a

man s li fe

.



D on t know might h ave been replied the chie f

,

carelessly .

Judge Brew ster turned to D r Bernstein . .


Were there electric l ights on the wall

29 7
C apt ain Clinton laughed loudly .


Optical captivati on is good ! Turning to h is

serge ant he asked What do you th ink o f it Ma


,

,

loney P

Sergeant Maloney chuckled .

It s a new one eh

,


,

NO captain it s a very old one interrupted

,

th e l awyer sternly but it s new to us We re



.
,

barely on the thre shold O f the di scovery It cer .

tainly ex pl ain s the se other c ase s d oesn t it ?



,



I don t know that it does obj ecte d the cap

,

tain shaking h is he ad I don t acknowledge


, .

Judge Brew ster sat down Looking the police .

m an squ arely in the face h e said sl owly and de


,

liberately :

Captain Clinton wheth er you acknowledge it or
,

not I can prove th at you obt ained these c on fe ssi ons


,

by mean s o f hypnotic sugge sti on and that is a ,

greater crime again st society than any the State


puni shes or pays you to prevent .

The captain laughed an d sh rugged h is shoulders .

Indi ff erently he said :



I guess the boys up at Albany can deal w ith that
q ue stion .

299
THE THIRD DEGREE
The boy s up at Albany retorted the lawyer

,

,

kn ow as little about the law s o f psychol ogy as you


do Thi s will be dealt with at Washington !
'

.

I he captain yawned .



I didn t come here to hear about that you were
going to produce the w oman w h o call ed on Under

w oo d the night O f the murder that w as what I

c ame here fo r not to hear my methods critici sed
w here is sh e ?


One thing at a time replied the judge
, First

.
,

I wanted to show you that we know Howard Jef


fries con fessi on is untrue Now we ll take up the

other que sti on Striki ng a bell on h is desk he



.
,

add ed : Thi s woman can prove th at Robert Under


wood committed suicide .



She can eh ? exclaimed th e captain sarcastic
,

ally Maybe sh e did it hersel f S ome one did



. .

it th at s sure !

,

The library door opened and th e butler entered .

Yes some one did it ! reto rted the judge ; w e



,

agree there ! T o the servant h e said : A sk Mrs



.


J e ff rie s Jr to c ome
, he re
.
, .

The servant le ft the room and the captain turned


to the j udge w ith a laugh :

3 OO
THE THIRD DEGREE

Is sh e the one ? Ha ! h a that s easy

T h e judge nodded .


She h as promi sed to produce the mi ssing wi tness

to night
- .


She has eh ? exclaimed the captain
,

.

Ri sing quickly from h is chair he crossed the room ,

and t alk ed in an undertone with h is sergeant Thi s .

new turn in the c ase seemed to intere st h im Mean .

time Mr Jeff ries w ho h ad followed every phase o f


.
,

th e questi oning with cl ose attention le ft his se at ,

an d went over to Judge Brew ster .

Is it po ssible he exclaimed is it possible that



, ,

Underw oo d sh ot him sel f ? I never dreamed o f


doubting H ow ard s con fessi on M ore cordially
H

he went on : Brew ster i f thi s is true I ow e



, ,

y ou a debt O f
gratitude you ve done splendid

w ork
I I m afraid I ve been ju st a trie obsti


nate .


Ju st a t rie
said th e jud,ge dryly .

Sergeant M aloney took h is hat .


Hurry up ! said the captain you can telephone

,

f rom the corn er drug store



.

A ll right

,

Dr Be rn stein also rose to depart


. .

3 0 !
CHA PTER ! VII I .

S An nie entered the room and caught sight O f


Mr Jeff ries she in stinctively d rew back
.
,
'

Just at that moment the banker w as per ,

h aps the on e m an in the w orld wh om sh e w as most


,

anx iou s to av oid .Captain Clinton no longer h ad


any te rro r f or her Now th at the mi ssing witness
.

h ad been found and th e preci ou s suicide letter


w as as good as in th eir po ssessi on there w as n othing

m ore to fear It w as only a questi on of time when


.

H oward would be set free But it w as not in thi s


.

girl s nature to be concerned only with hersel f If



.

sh e posse ssed a si ngle w om anly virtue it w as su ,

preme unselsh ness There w as some one beside


.

f
h ersel to t ake into con siderati on a poo r vacillat ,

ing weak mi serable woman w h o w ished to do wh at


, ,

w as right and h ad agreed to do so but w h o in the , ,

p riv acy o f h er ow n apartment s ha d g one d own


, on

h er knees and begged Annie to protect her f rom th e


con se quences of h er ow n f olly Her husband must
.

3 0 3
THE THIRD DEGREE
n ot kn ow . Annie h ad promi sed th at i f there w as
any w ay possible the kn owledge O f th at cl ande stine

midnight vi sit to Underwood s rooms should be kept


f rom him . Yet there stood the banker ! She w as


af raid th at i f they began questi oning her in h is pres

ence sh e might be betrayed into saying something


that would instantly arou se h is suspicion s .

Judge Brew ster went quickly forward as she


c ame in and led her to a chair Captain Clinton .

an d Mr Je ff rie s eyed her in stolid silence


. Looking .

around in a nerv ou s kind o f w ay Anni e said quietly ,

to the judge :

May I speak to you alone judge ?
,


Certainly replied the lawyer
,

.

He w as about to d raw her aside when Captain


Clinton inter fered .


One moment ! he said grufy if thi s is all open

o

and above bo ard as you say it is judge


,
Pd like ,

to ask the young lady a few question s .


Certainly by all means said the judge quickly
, ,

.

The captain turned and con fronted Annie A d .

dressi ng her in h is cu stomary aggressive m anner ,

he said :
You prom ised Judge Brew ster that you d pro

0
3 4
THE THIRD DEGREE
duce the woman w h o called at Underw ood s apart

ment the night O f the shooting ? Annie made no

reply but looked at the l awyer The captain


, .

grinned as he added : The witness wan t s instruc


ti on s judge

.
,

You can be perfectly f rank M rs Je ff rie s said



.
, ,

the lawyer reassuringly We have no desire to


.

conceal anything f rom Captain Clinton .


Annie bowed .


sh e said slowly ; I promi sed Judge
Yes ,

Brew ster th at she would come here to night - .



D id she promise you to come ? growled the

Well where is she ? he dem anded



i

, .


She hasn t come yet sh e replied but sh e will

,

, ,



I m sure I know sh e will .


How did you come to nd her ? demanded the

captain suspici ously .

A nnie he sitated a moment an d glanced at Mr .

Je ff rie s Then
. sh e said he sit atingly :

That

I
I cannot say now .

Captain Clinton s massive bulldog j aw closed


w ith an omin ou s click .

3 0 5
THE THIRD DEGRE E

Ha ! I thought as much exclaimed the b anker
increduously .

The c aptain rose and drew him sel f up to h is full


height a favo rite trick O f h is when about to assert
,

h is autho rity .


Well when sh e does come ! he exclaimed I
,

,

think you may as well understand sh e w ill be taken

to h eadquarters and held as a witne ss



You ll arrest her cried the lawyer

.


Th at s what I said judge She a materi al wit

, .

nessthe most important one the State h as I .

don t intend that sh e shall get away



Arrest her ! Oh judge don t let him do that !
, ,

ex claimed A nnie in dismay .

Judge Brew ster grew red in the fac e Wrath .

fully he said :

She is coming to my house O f her ow n free w ill .

She has tru sted to my honor 9

Yesyes ! crie d A nnie


She trusts to your

.

h onor judge

.
,

Captain Clinton gri nned .


Honor cut s m ighty little ice in this matter .

T here s no use talking I shall place h er under ar



.


re st .
THE THIR D DEGREE

Yes I am sure l With concern she added : But
,

the di sgrace o f arre st ! It will kill her ! Oh j udge , ,

don t let them arrest her !



Tell me w ho she is ! commanded the law yer

sternly .

It w as the rst time he h ad spoken to her harshly


and A nnie to her di sm ay th ought she detected a
, ,

note of doubt in h is voice Looking toward the .

banker sh e replied :
,



I can t tell you just now she ll be here

soo n
9



Tell me now I in si st said the lawyer w ith ,

growing impatience .



Please please don t ask me ! she pleaded

.

Mr Je ff rie s made an angry gesture


. .

A s I told you Brew ster h er whole story is a



, ,

f abricatio n trumped up for some purpose God


know s what object she h as in deceiving us ! I only
know that I warned you what you alway s may ex
p ect f rom pe ople o f her cl ass

.

The judge said nothing for a moment Then .

quietl y he whi spered to the banker :


GO into my study for a few m oments will you

, ,

Jeff ries
3 0 9
THE THIRD DEGREE
The banker made a gesture as i f utterly dis ,

gu sted with the wh ole bu siness .


I am going h ome he said testily I ve h ad a
,

.


most pain ful evening most pain ful Let me know .

the result o f your investigati on as soon as possible .

Go od night Don t di sturb me to night Brew ster


.

-
, .

T O mo rrow will do

-
.

He le ft the room in high dudgeon banging the ,

door behind him Annie burst into a laugh


. .


D on t di sturb him ! sh e mimicked

He s go
.

ing to get all th at s c oming to him



.

Shocked at her levity the l awyer tu rned on her ,

severely .

DO you w ant me to lose all fai th in you ? he


ask ed sternly .

No indeed sh e an swered c ontritely



.
, ,


Then tell me he demanded why do you con
,

,

ceal thi s woman s n ame from me


?


Becau se I don t want to be the one to ex pose

her She shall tell you h ersel f


. .


Th at s all very well he repli ed but meantime

,

,

yo u are directing su spici on again st yoursel f Y our .

father in law believes you are the woman ; so does


- -

Captain Clinton
.

3 1 0
THE THIRD DEGREE
The captain suspects everybody she l aughed

,

.

It s h is bu sine ss to su spect A s l ong as you d on t



.

believe that I visited Underwood that night


The judge shook h is head as if puzzled .

C andidly I d on t know what to think



,

Seri ,

ously he added : I want to think the very best



,

o f you Annie but you w on t let me



.
, ,

She hesitated a m oment an d then quickly she , ,

said :

I suppose I d better tell you and have done w ith



it but I don t like to

A t that moment a servant entered and handed


the lawyer a card .


The lady wan ts to see you at once sir
, .


T o see me asked the lawyer in surpri se :

, are

y ou sure sh e hasn t c ome f o r Mr Je


ff rie s .


NO sir ; she asked for you

, .

A nnie spr ang forw ard .

Is it Mrs Jeff ries



. sh e asked .


Yes he replied

, .


Let me see h er judge she exclaimed eagerly ;
, ,

I ll tell her w ho it is and she can tell youshe s a



woman and I d rather L et me speak to her
.
,

please l

3 1 1
THE THIRD DEG REE
her and then shook his head resignedly We ll it s .

,

certainly in fecti ou s ! he excl aimed I believe you



.

again

.

The d oo r opened and Alici a appeared The law .

yer advanced politely to greet her .


Good evening Mrs Jeff ries , . .

Alici a shook hands with him at the same time ,

looki ng inquiringly at A nnie w ho by a quick ges , ,

ture told her that the judge knew nothing o f her


,

secret The l awyer went on :


.


Mrs Jeff ries Jr wi shes to speak to you I said
.
, .
, .

I thought there d be no Objection if you don t mind



.

May she

Yes murmured Alici a
,

.


Your husband w as here said the judge ,

.


My hu sband ! sh e cried startled Again she

, .

glanced inqui ri ngly at A nnie and tried to force a


smile .


Yes said the lawyer ; he ll be gl ad to know
,

you re here I ll tell him



.

Turning to A nnie he

.
,


said : When you re ready please send and
,


Ve ry well judge , .

The lawyer w ent out and Alicia turned round


breathle ssly .

3 3
1
THE THIRD DEGREE

My husband w as here ?
sh e ex cl aim ed .


Yes .


You ve told Mr Brewster nothing ?

.

Annie shook her head .


I couldn t ! she said
I tried to but I

.
,

couldn t It seems so hard doesn t it



. Alicia ,

l aughed bitterly and Annie went on : I w as afraid

y o u weren t c oming !


The train w as late ! exclaimed Alici a ev asively
,

I went up to Stam ford to say good by to my -

mother .

T o say good by echoed her compani on in sur



-

pri se .

said the o ther tear fully I h ave said



Yes , .

-
good by to her I have said good by to everybody -

to everything to my sel f I mu st give them all


up I mu st give mysel f up .


Oh it i sn t as bad as that surely ?
,

,

Alici a shook her head sadly .

Yes sh e said ; I ve reckoned it all up



It s

.
,

a total l oss
s .

N othing will be saved husband ,

,

home positi on good n ame all will go You ll see
, .

.

I sh all be torn into little bits O f shreds They w on t .


leave anything un said But it s not th at I care for .


3 4
1
THE THIRD DEGREE
so much It s the injustice o f it all The inju stice
.

.

o f the power o f evil Thi s m an Underwood never


.

did a good acti on in all h is li fe And now even .

af ter he is de ad he h as the pow er to g o on de stroying

destroying de stroying -

That s true said Annie ; h e w as no good


'

,

.

The banker s wi fe drew f rom her bosom the l etter


Underwood wrote her be fo re he killed himsel f .

When he sent me thi s letter sh e went on I



,

,

tried to think myself into h is condition O f mind ,

so th at I c ould decid e wh ether he intended to ke ep

h is w ord an d kill himsel f o r n ot I tried to reason .

o ut ju st h ow he felt an d h ow he th ought N ow I .

know It s h opeless dull sodden desperati on I


.

, , .

haven t even the ambiti on to de fend mysel f f rom


Mr Jeffries
. .

Annie sh rugged her shoulders .

I wouldn t lose any sleep on h is account sh e



,

said with a l augh M ore seri ously sh e added :


.

Surely he won t beli eve 9

He m ay not believe anything himsel f said



,

Alici a It s what other people are thinking that w il l


.

make him suffer If the circum stan ces were only a


.


little less d i sgrace ful a suicid e s last letter to the

3 5
1
THE THIRD DEGREE
She looked toward A lici a as i f expecting some ,

sugge sti on f rom her but her compani on w as too


,

much overwhelmed to take any initi ative .


It does stun one doesn t it ? went on A nnie
,

.

You c an t think when it come s all O f a sudden like


thi s It s ju st the w ay I f elt the morning they



.

showed me H oward s con f e ssi on



.


Pri son ! Pri son ! w ailed Al ici a
.

An nie t ried to con sole her .

Not for l ong sh e said soothingly ; you can get



,

bail. I t s nly
o

a f f
matter o avor Judge Brew ster
w oul d get you out right away .


Get me out ! cried Alici a di stractedly My

.

God ! I can t go to pri son ! I can t ! That s too


much I ve d one nothing ! Look read thi s


.


Handing over Unde rwood s letter she went on :
,

You can see f or y oursel f The wretch f rightened .

me into such a state O f m ind that I hardly knew


w hat I w as doing I wen t to h is room s to save him .

That s the t ru th I swear to God ! But do you sup



,

pose anybody w ill believe me on oath They ll

they ll

Al most hy steri cal sh e no l onger kn ew w h at sh e


,

w as saying or d oing S he collapsed utterly and


.
,

3 7
1
THE THIRD D EGREE
sinking down in a chair gave w ay to a passionate ,

t O f sobbing Annie tried to quiet her :


.

Hu sh ! sh e said gently don t gO O n like that



,

.

Be brave Perhaps it won t be so bad as you thi nk



. .

She un folded the letter Alici a had given her and


care fully read it through When sh e h ad ni shed .

her f ace lit up with joy Enthu si astically she c ried :


.

Thi s is great fo r Howard ! What a blessing you


didn t de stroy it ! What a wretch what a hound to



,

write you like that ! Poor soul o f course you went , ,

an d begged him n ot to do it ! I d h ave gone mysel f


,

but I think I d h ave broken an umbrell a Over h is


head o r something Gee ! the se kind o f fellows


breed trouble d on t they ? Alive or dead they breed
,

,

trouble ! Wh at can we do ?

Alici a rose Her te ars had di sappeared There


. .

w as a l ook O f xed re solve in her eye s .


How ard must be cleared she said and I must

,

,


face t alone
i

You ll be alone all right said Annie thought

fully Mr Je ff rie s will do as much for you as he


.

.

did for h is son .


Noticing that her companion seemed hurt by her


frankne ss sh e changed the topic
, .

3 1 8
THE THIRD DEGREE

Honest to God ! sh e exclaimed good n aturedly
,
-
,



I m broken hearted I ll do an ything to save you
-


f rom thi s thi s public di sgrace I kn ow what it .

means I ve h ad my d ose of it But thi s thing h as



.

g ot to c ome ou t h asn t it ? ,

The banker s wi fe wearily nodded assent


.

Yes I realize that sh e said but the di sgrace



, , ,

O f arre st I c an t stand it Annie ! I can t go to



,

pri son even i f it s only for a minute H olding


.

out a trembling h and sh e went on : Give me back


,

the letter I ll leave New York to night I ll go


.

-

to Europe I ll send it to Judge Brew ster from


Pari s Looking anxi ously into her compani on s


.
9

f ace she pleaded : You ll tru st me to do that


, ,

w o
n t you ? Give it to me please you can trust

,

me .
2

Her hand w as still extended but Annie ignored it , .


N o no sh e said shaking her h ead
,

I can t , ,


give it to you how can I ? Don t you understand

w hat the letter me an s to me ?



Have pity ! cried the banker s wi fe almost be
,

side hersel f You can tell them when I m out o f



.

the country Don t ask me to make this sac ri ce


.

now
don t ask m e d on t

3 9
1
THE THIRD DEGREE

T his is Mrs Howard Jeff rie s Sen i or said
.
, ,

Annie my hu sband s stepmother


,

.

The captain made a deferenti al salute Bul ly as .

he w as he knew h ow to be courteou s w hen it suited


,

h is purpose He had heard eno ugh O f the wealth y


.

banker s ari stocratic wi fe to treat her with respect



.


Beg pardon m m ; I wanted to tell the judge I
,

w as go ing

.

The serv ant entered .


Tell Judge Brew ster that Captain Clinton is
going said Annie
,

.

Alicia meantime w as once more on the verge


, ,

O f c ollapse The lo ng threatened ex pose w as n ow

at han d In another moment the judge and per


.

h aps h er husban d would come in an d Annie w ou ld ,

h an d them th e l etter which exculpated her husban d .

T here w as a moment o f terrible suspen se


I Ann ie .

stood aloo f her eye s x ed on the oor


, Suddenly .
,

w ith out utteri ng a w o rd she drew Un derwo od s



,

letter f rom her bosom and quickly approachi ng ,

Alici a placed it unnoticed in her hand The ban k


, .

er 9 wi fe ush ed and then turned pale She under



.

stood . Annie w ould spare her Her li ps parted to .

protest Even she w as taken back by such an ex hi


.

3 2 1
THE THIRD DEGREE
bitiou O f unselshness as thi s She began to stam .

mer thanks .


N0 no whi spered A nnie quickly don t thank
, ,

,

m e ; keep it

.

Captain Clinton turned round with a jeer In .

solently he said to Annie :


,

You might as well ow n up you ve pl ayed a


trick on us all .


N0 Captain Clinton sh e replied w ith quiet
, ,

dignity ; I told you the simple truth N aturally



.

yo u d o n t believe it

.


The si m ple truth m ay do for Judge Brew ster ,

grinned the policeman but it w on t do for me I ,



.

never expected thi s mysteri ous w itness w h o w as ,

going to prove that Underwood committed suicide ,

to make an appearance did I M al oney Why not , ,

Because begging your pardon for doubting you r


,

w ord there s no such person


,

.


Begging your pardon for di sputing your word ,

captain sh e retorted mi micking him there is such


,

, ,

a perso n

.


Then where is sh e ? he demanded angrily A n
.

nie made no an swer but l ooked for advice to Judge


,

Brew ster w ho at th at in stant entered the room


, .

3 2 2
THE THIRD DEGREE
The captain glared at her vici ously and unable to ,

longer contain h is wrath he bellowed : ,


I ll tell you where she is ! She s right here in

thi s room ! Pointing h is nger at Annie in the


atrical fashi on he went O n furi ou sly A nnie Jef



,

f rie s you re th e w oman w ho vi sited Unde rw oo d the



,

night of his death ! I don t hesitate to say so I ve


.

said so all al ong h aven t I M al oney



, ,

Yes, you t old the new spapers so retorted Ann ie



,

dryly .

T aki ng no notice o f h er remark the captain blu s ,

tered :

I ve got your record young wom an ! I know

,

all about you an d your folk s You knew the tw o .


.

men w hen they were at college You knew Under .

w ood be fore you m ade the acquaint ance O f young

Jeff ries It w as Underwood w ho introduced you


.

to y our h u sband It w as Underw ood w ho aroused


.

y our h u sband s je al ou sy You



went to h is r
.oo m s

that night Your husband followed you there and


.
,

the shooting took place ! Turning to Judge Brew



ster he added with a sarc astic grin :
, , Fal se con
fession eh ? Hypnotism eh ? I gue ss it s i nte rna

, ,


tional and constitutional law f or yours after this .

2
3 3
THE THIRD DEGREE

Yes , Read that captain !
now ! ,

C aptain Clinton slowly un folded the letter A licia .

c ollapsed in a chair A nnie stood by h elpless but .


,

trying to collect her w its The j udge w atched the .

scene with amazement not underst anding The cap , .

tain read f rom the letter :


D ear M rs Je ff ries He stopped and glanc

.

,

ing at the signature ex claimed Robert Under



, ,

wood Looking signi cantly at Ann ie h e ex ,

claimed : D ear M rs Je ff ries Is th at c onclusive



.

enough ? What did I tell you ? C onti nuing to

pe ruse the letter he read on : Sh all be found dead


,

to morrow
- suicide He stopped short and
f rowned What s thi s ? Why thi s is a bare faced

.
,

forgery !

Judge Brewster quickly snatched the letter f rom


h is hand and glancing over it quickly said :
, ,


Per mit me Thi s belongs to my client
.

.

Captain Clinton s prognath ous jaw snapped

to with a click and he squ ared h is massive shoul


,

ders as he usually did w he n preparing for hostili


,

ties :
Now M rs Je ff rie s he said sh arply I ll trouble

, .
, ,

y ou to g o wi th m e to he adqu arter s .

3 5
2
THE THIRD DEGREE
Annie and Alici a both stood up Judge Brewste r .

quickly objected .


M rs Jeff ries will not go with you he sai d
.
,

quietly
She h as made no attempt to leave th e
.

S tate .


She s w anted at police headquarters said the

captain doggedly .


She ll be there to morrow mo rning

-
.


She ll be there to night

-
.

He looked ste adily at the judge and the l atte r ,

calmly returned h is stare There followed an aw k .

w ard pause and then the c aptain turned on h is heel


,

to depart .


The moment sh e attempts to leave the house
,

he growled I sh all arrest her Good night judge


,

.
, .


Good night captain ! cried Annie mockingly
,

.


I ll see you l ater he muttered Come on Ma

,

.
,

loney .

The door banged to T hey were alone . . .


What a sweet di spositi on ! laughed A nnie
.

Judge Brew ster l ooked sternly at her H olding ,

up the letter he said : ,


Wh at is the meaning O f thi s ? You are not the
w om an to whom thi s letter is addressed ?

3 26
THE THIRD DEGREE

NO stammered Annie that is
,

,

~

The judge interrupted her Sternly he asked : .

Is it your intenti on to go on the witness stand


and commit perjury ?



I don t know I never thought of that she fal

.
,

The judge turned to Alicia .


Are you going to allow her to do so Mrs Jef , .

f ries ?


No n o
, cried Alici a quickly I never thought
,

,

o f such a thing

.


Then I repeat is it your intenti on to perjure
yoursel f ? Annie w as silent and he went c m I

,

assume it is but let me ask you : , Do you expect


me as your coun sel to become parti cipes crimirm
, ,

to thi s ti ssue o f lie s ? Am I expected to build up a

f al se st ructure for you to swe ar to ? Am I



I don t know ; I h aven t th ought o f it replied

,

A nnie I f it can be d one why not ? I m gl ad you



.
,

sugge sted it

.

I sugge st it ? excl aimed the lawyer scand alized



.
,

Yes cried Annie with growing exaltati on ; it



,

n ever occurred to me till you spoke Everybody .

say s I m the w om an w h o c alled on Robert Und er


3 7
2
THE THIRD DEGREE

CHA PT E R ! I! .

H E Je ffrie s c ase suddenly entered into


an entirely new ph ase an d once more w as
,

d eemed O f sufcient public interest to w ar


rant column af ter c olumn o f spicy c omment in the

n ew spapers The town awoke one morning to l earn


.

that th e l ong sought f o r witn ess th e m vsterious


- -
,

Woman on wh ose testimony everything hin ged h ad ,

n ot only been found but prov ed to be the pri soner s



,

ow n wi fe w h o h ad b een so activ e in h is d efen se


,
.

Thi s announcement w as stupifying enough to ov er


sh adow all other new s O f the day an d sati sed the
,

most j aded pal ate f or sen sati on ali sm .

T he rst que sti on asked on all side s w as : Why


h ad not the wi fe come forward be fore ? The rea
son as g libly expl ain ed by an evening j ou rn al o f
,

somewhat yell ow proclivitie s w as l ogical enough


, .

The telling o f her midnight vi sit to a single man s

room s involved a sh ame ful admi ssi on which any

w oman might well he sit ate to make unle ss forced to

3 9
2
THE THIRD DEGREE
it as a last extremity Con f ronted h owever with
.
, ,

the alternative o f either seeing her hu sban d su ffer


1f o r a crime O f which he w as inn oc en t o r making

public acknowledgment o f h er ow n f raility sh e h ad ,

chosen the latter course Naturally it meant divorce


.
,

f rom the banker s son an d und oubtedly thi s w as the



,

soluti on m ost wi sh ed for by the f amily The whole .

un savo ry aff air c onveyed a good l esson to reckl ess

oung m en O f we alth to av oid en tangling them


y
selv es in un de sirable matrimoni al adventures But .

it w as no less certain went on thi s j ourn ali stic men


,

to r th at thi s wi f e un f aith ful as sh e h ad proved


, ,

hersel f to be had really rendered h er husband a sig


,

n al service in h is pre sen t scrape The letter she had.

produced written to her by Underwood the day be


,

f o re h is d eath in which he stated h is d etermin ati on


,

to kill him sel f w as o f course a c omplete vindica


, , ,

ti on for the m an aw aiting tri al His liberati on now


.

depended only on h ow quickly the ponderou s m a


ch inery o f th e law could take cogniz ance O f thi s
n ew an d mo st impo rtant evide nce .

The new turn o f aff airs w as naturallv most dis


taste ful to the police If there w as one thing more
.

than another which angered Captain Clinton it w as


33 0
THE THIRD DE GREE
to take the trouble to build up a case only to hav e
it suddenly demoli shed He scoff ed at the suicide
.

letter safely committed to Judge Brewster s cus


,
7

t ody and openly branded it as a forgery concocted


,

by an immoral woman for the purpose O f de feating


the en d s o f justice He kept Annie a pri soner and
.

deed the coun sel for the de fence to do their worst .

Judge Brewster w ho l oved the fray accepted the


, ,

challenge He acted promptly He secured Annie s


. .

release on ha beas corpus proceedings and h is civil ,

suit again st the city h aving already begun in the

c ourts he suddenly called Captain Clinton to the


,

st and an d g ave him a grilling which more th an

atoned for any which the police tyrant h ad pre

v iously made h is victim s su ff er In the limelight O f


.

a sen sati on al tri al in which public servants were


,

charged with abusing position s o f trust he ,

sh owed C a ptain Clinton up as a bully and a grafter ,

a bribe taker w o rking h and an d glove with di sh o n


-
,

est po litici an s not h esit atin g even to divide l oot


,

w ith thieve s and dive keepers in h is greed for


-

w ealth He proved him to be a consummate liar a


.
,

m an w h o w o uld stop at nothing to gain h is ow n


ends Wh at jury w ould take the word O f such a
.

33 I
THE THIRD DEGREE
p l Much alarmed An nie summoned D r Bern
s el s .
, .

stei n w ho admini stered a t onic


, There w as n othing
.

to cau se anxiety he said re assuringly


, It w as a nat
.

ural reacti on after what her h usband h ad undergone


'

But it w as w orry as m uch as anyth ing else H ow ard .

w orried about h is f ather with w h om he w as on ly


,

p a rti ally re co nciled ; he w o rri ed ab out h i s f uture ,

w hich w as as precari ou s as ever an d most O f all he


,

w o rried about h i s wi fe He w as not ignorant o f th e


.

c ircum stance s which had brought about his release ,

an d while li berty w as sw eet to him it h ad been a ,

terrible sh ock when he rst heard that sh e w as the


w om an w ho h ad vi sited Underw ood s room s

He .

re fused to believe her sw orn evid ence How w as it .

possible ? Why should sh e go to Underwood s

ro om s kn owing he w as the re ? It w as preposterou s .


Still the small voice rang in h is e ars perhaps she s

untrue ! It h aunted him till one day he asked point

bl ank for an expl anati on Then she told that sh e


.

h ad perjured hersel f .She w as not the woman .

Who sh e really w as she could n ot say He m u st .

be sati sed f or the present wi th th e assurance th at


it w as n ot h is wi fe . With that he w as cont ent .

What did he care for the opinion of others? He


3 33
THE THIRD DEGREE

knew that enough ! In their conversati on on
w as

the subject Annie did not even mention A licia s

n ame Why should sh e


.

Weeks passed and H oward s health did not im


,

prove He h ad tried to nd a position but without


. ,

succe ss yet e ve ry day brought its Obligati on s which


,

h ad to be met One morning An nie w as bustling


.

about their tiny dining room preparing the t able for

their f rugal luncheon She h ad ju st placed the rolls


.

and butter on the t able and arranged the ch airs , ,

when there came a ring at the front doorbell Early .

vi sitors were not so un freq uent as to cause surprise ,

so with out w aiting to rem ove h er apron sh e went


, ,

to the door and opened it Dr Bern stein entered . . .

Good m orning M rs Jeff ries he said cheerily



, .
,

.

Putting down h is medical bag he asked : How is


,

our patient thi s mo rn ing ?


All right doctor He h ad a splendid night s



.
,

rest I ll call him


.

.

Never mind I want to talk to you



, Seri .

O usly he went on : Mrs Jeff rie s your husband



, .
,

need s a change o f scene He s worrying That .



.

fainting spell the other day w as only a symptom .

I m afraid he ll break down unless


3 34
THE THIRD DEGREE

Unless what ? sh e demanded an xi ously

.

He hesitated for a moment as i f unwilling to ,

give utterance to word s he knew mu st inict pain .

Then quickly he c ontinued :



Your hu sband is under a great mental strain .

His i nability to support you h is bani shment f rom ,

his proper sphere in the soci al w orld is mental tor


ture to him He feel s h is po sition keenly There is
. .

nothing el se to occupy h is m ind but thoughts o f h is


utter and complete failure in li fe I w as talki ng to .

h is f ather l ast night and ,


And what ? she dem an ded drawing hersel f up

, .

She su spected what w as coming and nerved hersel f ,

to meet it .

N ow don t regard me as an enemy said th e



, ,

docto r in a conciliato ry tone Mr Jeff ries inquired


. .

after h is son Believe me h e s very anxious He


. .
,

know s he did the boy a great injustice and he w ants ,

to make up for it

.


Oh he d oes sh e excl aimed sarcastically
, .

D r Bernstein hesitated for a moment be fore re


.

plying .Then he said lightly :



Suppo se Howard goe s abroad for a few months
w i th h is fath er an d mother ?

33 5
THE THIRD DEGREE
care whether we re alive o r dead ; those are the

people I mean They buy a one cent paper and they


.
-

think it gives them th e right to pry int o eve ry detail


O f our live s She paused for a moment and then
9
.
,

went on : So you think How ard is worrying ? I


think so too At rst I thought it w as becau se o f


, .

the l etter Mr Underwood wrote me but I guess


.
,

it s w h at you say His Old friend s w on t h ave any



.


thing to do with him and h e s lonely Well I ll
.
,

talk it over with him



Yes talk it over with him .


D id you promi se h is father you d ask me ? she

dem anded .



N O not exactly he replied hesitatingly ,

.

Annie looked at him frankly .


H oward s a pretty good fellow to stand by me

in the face o f all th at s being said about my ch ar


acter i sn t he d oct or ? And I m n ot going to stand



, ,

in h is light even i f it doesn t exactly make me the


,

h appiest woman in the w orld but don t let it trickle ,


i nt o your mind th at I m doing it for h is father s


sake

.

At that moment How ard entered from the i nner


room He w as surpri sed to see D r Bernstein
. . .

3 37
THE THIRD DEGREE

How do yo u f eel to- day
ked the doctor as .


First rate ! Oh I m all right You see I m just ,

.
,

go ing to eat a bite W o n t yo u j o in us ? .


He sat down at the table and picked up the news


paper while Annie b usied hersel f with carrying in
,

the di she s .


N 0 thank you l aughed the doctor
,

It s too
, .

early for me I ve only ju st h ad break f ast I


.

.

d ropped in to see h ow you were Taking up his 9


.

bag he said : Goo d by ! Don t get up I can let



-
.
,

mysel f out .

But Annie had already opened the doo r for h im ,

an d smiled a farewell When sh e returned to her .

seat at the h e ad o f the t able an d began to pour out ,

the coff ee Howard said : ,


He s a pretty decent fellow i sn t he ?

,

Yes sh e repli ed absent mindedly as she passed



-
, ,

a cup o f coff ee .


He made a monkey o f Captain Clinton all right ,

w ent o n H ow ard

What did he c ome for ?.

T o see you o f course sh e replied



.
,


Oh I m all right now he replied Looking
,

,

.

anxiou sly at his wi fe across the t able he said : ,

You re the one that need s tuning up I heard you



.

33 8
crying l ast night You thought I w as asleep but I
.
,

w asn t

.

I didn t say anything bec au se well I felt

kind o f blue mysel f .


Annie sighed an d leaned her head on her hand .

Wearily sh e said :

I w as thinki ng over all what we ve been through

together and what they re saying about us


,
99

Howard threw down h is newspaper impatiently .


Let them say wh at they like Why should w e .

care as long as we re happy ?

His wi f e smiled sadly .


Are we h appy ? sh e asked gently
.

O f c ourse we are repli ed Howard



.
,

She looked up and smiled It w as good to hear .

h im say so but did he mean it ? Was sh e doin g


,

right to stand in the w ay o f h is career ? Would he


n ot be h appier i f sh e le f t him ? He w as too loyal
to sugge st it but perh aps in his heart he d esi red it
, .

Looking at him tenderly sh e went on : ,


I don t question your aff ection for me Howard

, .

I believe you love me but I m afraid th at sooner o r ,



,

later y ou ll ask y oursel f the que sti on all your



,

f riends are asking now the question everybody ,

seem s to be aski ng

.

33 9
THE THIRD DEGREE

I ve made a hard ght H oward she sobbed

, ,

,

but I m going to g ve up

i o
I m thr ugh I m .

through !

How ard took hold O f her fu nd an d carried it to


h is lips .


Annie O ld girl he said with some feeling I

, , ,

m ay be weak I m ay be blind but nobody on top o f


, ,

God s green earth can tell me that you re not th e


squ arest straighte st little wom an that ever lived !


,

I don t care a dam n what one million o r eighty mil


li on think Supposing you h ad received letters f rom


.

Underw ood supposing you h ad gone to h is rooms


,

to beg him not to kill him sel f what of it ? It


w ould be f or a g ood m otive w ouldn t it ? Let them
,

talk all the bad of you they want I don t believe .


a wo rd o f it y o u k n