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SIX SECO N D S O F

D A R KN ES S

CHAPTER I
H E old timer at
- the
telephone
bo ard made a cas ual en try on the
report sheet spread before him ,

relighted his ofie ns i v e l y fragrant pipe ,

an d s wung his swivel chair around idly .

“ ”
That was O Rafierty on nine he re

,
“ ”
ported . All s quiet

.

D esk Sergean t Larry O Brien grinned


cheerfull y through the ha z e of rancid

smoke .


As I was afther he remarked ,

ye cannot always sometimes tell T is

.

these clear and aisy nights which beget ac


tion for us poor coppers Ye wouldn t be
.

a fther thi nki n by the quietude which has


g ripp e d us hereabouts these past sivi n


2 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS

d ays that there s a bombshell sizzlin un ’


der headquarters wai tin to be busted ’
.

The other answered sagely :



That all depends on how much
you ve been talking to reporters Larry

, .

They ve been asking so many question s


and taking so many notes that I m afraid ’

to say me name s Farris They re wise ’


.

that something s up ’
.



Bad cess to em the whole beloved ’

lot There s S tinson of the N em f him


.


that s so thin he could sit on a dime an
’ ’

ye d s htil l be able to read In God We


’ ‘

Trust he wanted to know was I in on the


-

graft ?

And you told him

I m afther givin nothin away me
’ ’ ’
,

bhye I merely raym ark e d that I m no


.

special pals with Barret Rollins an that ,


Police Commissioner Clement Hall ap


i

p n te d me personally .

Farris lowered his voice discreetly and


hitched his chair confidentially closer .
srx SECONDS OF DARKN ESS 3

re wise ain t they ? The

They whole

,

crowd ?
“ ”
To p what?

That Rollins is in the middle of the
firewo rks ? That Hami lton s been try ing

to get him ever since Hall became inter


es te d in this Civic Reform Le ague ? I
” “
don t see

he complained why they al
, ,

ways start in on the police when they de



cide a city needs cl e an in up ?


Logic most likely And as for Rob
, .

bins he don t be afther lovin Comm is


’ ’
,

sion e r Hall nor Mister E dward J Hamil .

ton anny more than they re lovin him ; ’ ’

which is considerable less than none at all .

An he s a good de tictiv e too ; he s keen


’ ’ ’

, ,

an he s got a good head on a pair of hefty


’ ’

sho ulders But A! me bhye O i m think


.
, , ,

in ! i d rather be a disk sergeant right thi s


’ ’

mi nute than Mister Barret Rollins chief ,


av de ti ctives An well sp e akin av an
.

,


gels o r di v ils
The street door swu ng back and a man
.

4 SI X S ECOND S OF DARKNES S
of medium height briefly acknowledged
the salute of the gray haired doorman
- .

The newcomer swung across to the desk


.

and nodded a curt greeting .


he said how goes it ? ,

So so chief How s the bhye ? ’


-
, .


Well enough Anything new to .


n ight ?

E verything s dead N othing stirring

.

anywhere except a sti ff was drug out av


the river an carried to Carson s u n d e rtak
’ ’


ing joint What s ne w with you ?
.

N othing nothing at all I ll be going


, .

into the office yonder for a smoke and a bit


of a snooze If you want me
. He
waved his hand airily .

O B rie n s eyes followed the man with


’ ’

interest as he walked across the room to


ward the little door which opened into h is
private office Barrett Rollins radiated
.

strength and physical ability in every well


kn it line of his stocky figure His n u
usual breadth and depth of chest conveyed
SI X S ECO NDS OF DARKNESS 5

an impress ionof lack of height to which a


tape measure easily gave the lie N or was .

his face that of the average plain clothes


-

man ; the eyes were a bit too close set per ,

haps but they were level eye s eyes


,

blessed with the rare faculty of pene tra
tion The brain behind those eyes was
.

alert and ruthless .

H e had worked himself to his present


positi on as chief of the plain clothes force
-

by dint of sheer ability A little political


.

pull may have helped here and there but ,

that as sistance had been inconsiderable .

He was an efficient man greatest testi ,

mony to which was given by the unani



mous praise of his worst enemie s who by ,

the way numbered legion He was a


, .

martin et ; unbending inexorable heart


, ,

less His third degree was a classic


. .

Larry O B rie n chuckled softly as he


chewed the stub of a dilapidated cigar .


And to think of him he remarked
, ,

bein squeezed between th thumb an
’ ’ ’
6 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNES S
forefinger of a little undersized runt of a ,

reformer like E dward Hamilton Ham il .

ton s said he s ready to turn th ings loos e


’ ’

an tear em up an he never makes a state


’ ’

,

ment unless
The telephone on his desk j angle d
sharply Farris groaned audibly as he
.

lifted himself from the depths of his swivel


chair and the sergeant motioned him back
to rest .


O i ll be a fther an s weri n it m e s ilf
’ ’

h e said and then l ifting the receiver


, ,

P lice h eadquarters

.

From the other end of the wire came the


curt in cisive tones of Police Commissioner
,

Clement Hall the real czar of the depart,

ment under the city s new form of govern ’

ment .


Sergeant O Brie n ?

Yis sor Mis the r Hall isn t it ?


, .
,


Yes Is Rollins there ?
.

“ ”
Yis sor , .


Tell him to tak e two of his best m en ,
SI X S ECONDS OF DARKNESS 7

H awkins and Cartwright if they re there


, ,

an d hustle to the home of E dward J H am .

ilton in Chief Rariden s automobile ’


.

“ ”
The chief s auto ain t here sor
’ ’

, .

“ ”
A taxicab then came the impatient
, ,

s n ap
. Hurry ! That s the thing I m ’ ’

a fter .


An d whin they get there sor ? ,

The comm i ssioner s usually placid voice


q uivered with excitement


“ ”
Hamilton has been murdered !

P wka tt
' ? E dward Hamilton ?

Yes Tell Rollins to drop everything
.

e l s e and stick on that case until he gets

th e man Tell him I know nothing about


.

it except that Mrs Faber Hamilton s .


,

h ouse keeper just telephoned me that


,

Hamilton had been shot I m coming .


right down to headquarters Tell Rollins .

to keep in touch with me I want speed .

u n derstand ? And I want him to catch the



m an who did it !
The receiver clicked on the hook and ,
8 S I X SE COND S OF DARKN ESS
Sergeant Larry O Brien dazedly follow e d

suit at his end F arris had risen and was


.

standing at the sergeant s elbow his old ’

eyes on fire w ith excitement .

“ ’

,

What s that O Brien what s that ?
’ ’

“ ”
There s hell broke loose ! came back

“ ”
the sharp answer O rderly !
.

The young policeman on duty answered


the ca ll im mediately He had heard j ust
.

enough of the conversation to comprehend


its import .


Yes sir ?
,


Call Chief Rollins quick ! ”
Then ,

turning back to Farris : Hamilton



killed ! Holy s ufie rin mackerel !
,

Rollins came out of his private office on


the j ump His little eyes were blazing
.
,

and his manner radiated the competence


which had carried him to his present posi
tion of eminence on the polic e force .


What s this ? Hami lton killed ?

“ ”
D eade r n

a doornail ! snapped
SI X S E CONDS OF DARKNESS 9

OBrie n

. Hall wants you to take Hawk
ins an d Cartwright and stick around there
un til you get the guy D idn t tell me .

anything S ays the ho usekeeper tele


.

p honed him He s. coming down



here ,

and is afther wan ti n you to keep in touch


with us He s liable to stop in there so


.

,

ye d better hurry

.


I ll hurry O rderly ! Hike upstairs

.

and tell Cartwright and Hawkins to



come running He viciously bit ofi the
.


end of a black cigar Good Lord ! H am
.


ilton killed !
In an unbelievably short time the two
plain clothes officers presented themselves
-

at the desk Rollins briefly ordered them


.

to follow The faces of the three men de


.

tail ed to the case were studies in concentra


tion and bewilderment N or could they .

conceal the excitement which gripped


them That E dward Hamilton of all
men Should have been murdered at this
10 SI X SE CONDS OF DARKNESS
par ticular time ; E dward Hamilton civic ,

reformer broker social leader ! And evi


, ,

de n tl y in his own home !


E ven before the door had closed behin d
them policemen appeared from the dormi
tories upstairs in various stages of dis
array begging for news To all of them
, .

O B rie n made the same an s wer He kne w



.

nothing except that H amilton had bee n


murdered How or why or when he did
.

not know As to the place of the crime


.
,

he j udged it had been at Hamilton s home ’


.

Policemen gathered in knots and discussed


the case excitedly robbing them selves of
,

well earned sleep that they might miss no


-

detail of the case as it was telephoned in .

O ne by one they went up stairs to make


-

themselves presentable only to return and


,

lounge about the gri m room speculating ,

on the whys and wherefores .

E dward J Hamilton occupied a unique


.

position in the city s life A bachelor at



.

forty his household had no other members


,
SIX S ECONDS OF DARKNESS 11

e xcept his ward a gir l of about nineteen


,

years of age and one of the city s most pop


,

ular debutan tes and a Mrs Faber who for


'

, .
,

m any years had held the position of house


keeper .

Years before he had retired from the ac


tive bus iness life of the city although his ,

retirement had been more a figure of


s peech than an actual fact He was fin an
.

ci a ll y in terested in most of the city s larg


e s t enterprises ; he was ou the directorates

o f the F irst N ational Bank and of a large

l umber corporation He was socially in


.


demand a thorough cosmopolite a pol ,
'

i s h e d gentlem an a patron of the arts ; a


,

m an known for his gentleness of disposi


tion his lovableness of character his un
, ,

flagging devotion to duty and above all , , ,

for his fearlessness .

O f enemies he had man y ; no man of de


cided character is ever entirely free from
en emies but they respected him D uring
, .

recent years public office had been thrust


12 SI X SE CONDS OF DARKNES S
at him and he had steadfastly declined
, .

But lately he had forged to the front of the


stage with the organization of the Civi c

Reform Leagu e a body of le ading citi
zens who recognized the rottenness in
D enmark and had decided to weed their
municipal garden It was at head of suc h
.

a body of men that one who knew Hamil


ton would expect to find him And there
.

he was !
His murder coming at this time was
, ,

nothing less than sensational N o s ingle


event could have so shaken the city The .

veriest novice of the police force felt h im


self ou his toes for it was public kno wl
,

edge that the fo rce had been slated to re


ce i v e the first broadside from the guns of

the Civic Reform League captained by the


,

dead man It was up to the department to


.

make good to do i ts bit to neutralize the


,

sentiment against it by prompt and effi


cient action in discovering and apprehend
ing the culprit .
SI X S ECO NDS OF DARKNES S 13

The clock over the sergeant s desk ’

slowly struck ten and with the striking


,

c a me the first of the ca lls from the police


m e n o u the vario us beats about the city ,

g ivi n g their hourly report A t fiv e min


.

u tes past ten a handsome limousine


w hirred up to the door of police he ad qu ar
t e rs It j erked to a protesting stop with a
.

l o ud screeching of brakes Im mediately


.

the officers about the walls rose to their


feet and massed together starin g toward
,

t he door .

In the stark glare of the single carbon


IM p which glowed in the doorway the ,

figure of a woman appeared She jum ped .

from the driver s seat of the big car gath


e r e d her skirts about her and half walked


, ,

ha lf ran across the sidewalk and into the


,

p o lice station.

She entered the room and paused in u n


ce rtainty Larry O B rien rising to his
.

fe et appraised her swiftly with his keen


,

Irish eyes .
14 SI X SECOND S OF DARKNESS
He saw a girl of about nineteen ye ars
of age a girl with rose red cheeks and n ow
,
-

pallid lips flashi n g black eyes and raven


,

hair She was of medium height slender


.
, ,

a n d even in the tempest of emotion b y


,

whi ch she was plainly gripped wonder ,

fully graceful Her bosom rose and fel l


.

unevenl y ; the folds of her w rap fell back ,

disclosing a costly evening dress The .

young policeman in the corner who had p a


trolled the beat on which the murder had
that night occurred stifled an exclamation
of surprise but did not succeed in holdin g
,

back the girl s name ’

M is :D uval !
“ ”

A gasp went up from the policemen .

They surged cl oser to the desk Sergeant.

O Brie n rasped them back and bowed to


the girl :

Yes miss ?
,

S he stared about her in bewilderment .



This this is police headquarters ? ”

“ ”’
Yes ma am
,
.
SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ES S 15

I want to see the chief .


I m sorry miss he isn t here

, ,

.

It was plain that she was on the verge of


h ysteria .With a film y bit of lacy hand
k erchief she dashed the tears from her eyes .


I must see him I tell you ! I am E u ,

n ice D uval Mr Ham ilton s ward Mr ’


. .
, .


H amilton has just been been killed !— ”

O Brien lowered his voice trying fu


ti l e l y to quiet her agitation



Yes ma am ; we ve just heard it
,
’ ’
.

D on t you worry none ma am we ve got


’ ’ ’

, ,

o u r best men out on the case an we ll ’ ’

c atch the man that did it Bad cess to th ’


.


s palpeen .

The girl stopped Short and stared at


h im. Then she broke into a laugh ; a
laugh which was not good to hear a loud—
l augh gratingly harsh
, .


You ll catch the one who did it ?

Who who — You


O B ri e n w as nonplussed and not a little

em barrassed A woman in hysterics !


.
16 SI X S ECONDS OF DARKN ESS
Keep a bol t on yers ilf ma am Im ’ ’

, .


Se r in t O Brien Larry O Brien at yer
’ ’

g ,

s ervice ma am ,

. If ye ll have a chair

I ll

stared at him as tho ugh transfixed


She .

Then her h ands went to her bos om and She ,

threw back her head once more Peal .

after peal of laughter rang out ; the laugh


ter of unco ntrolled hysteria Larry .

O Brie n mumbling to the saints for help


, ,

deserted his post at the desk and rounded


the railing to her side O ne of the patrol .

— —
men a man of family diagnosed th e
case and sent out a hu rry call for a flask

of whi sky .


Take it aisy now ma am soothed , ,

O B rie n T is a terrible thing to be


’ ’
.
,

s ure but we ll catch the guy


, .

The laughter stopped as abruptly and as


eerily as it had S tarted F o r a min ute the .


girl tried to speak but the words seemed
to choke her .
CHAP TER II

POLI CEMAN in the crowd s aid


“ ”
Oh ! very suddenly, an d an
other one broke in wi th a hoars e

Shut up ! Farris the old timer m e
,
-
,

chan ical l y took down the repo rt of the p a

trolm an on beat sixteen The orderly


.

produced a chair as though by magic and ,

in to it E unice D uval sank gratefully .

Not e v en the sensational news of H am


il ton s death had created the stir in the

m inds of the policemen which w as begot


ten by the confession of the girl that Sh e
was guilty of the crime It was Lar ry
.

O Brien who first regained a semblance of


his poise and he forced a light laugh to his


,

lips .


Av course he s aid in what he fondly
,

believed to be a calm and matter of fact


- -
18
SI X SECONDS OF DARKNESS 19

tone , that s d ifie ren t There bein ex



.

te n ua tin circums tances


The girl looked up quickly



.

“ ”
T here there weren t She said s im

,


I I just shot him

.


Ah g wan wid ye z ! He was thryin
’ ’
,

to attack ye O B rie n was talkin g


m ore to soothe her than to arrive at any


d e fin ite conclusion but she had grown sud ,

d e n l y calmer .


N 0 he was n t attacking me
,
— I

.

w ell I ve told you


,


I Shot him and I ve .
,


g iven myself up .


But surely

I m afraid I don t want to say anything
’ ’

e lse right now I believe there s no bail in ’


.


m u r in such cas es as this and I d rather
-

o u put me — wherever you re going to put ’

y

me . I m very tired

.

Larry scratched his head in bewilder


m ent .


If it was silf d efins e now
-
,
20 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ES S

I m afraid it was n t And I d prefer
’ ’
.

n ot to say anything else .

If there s something we can be af ther



doin
Another car whi rred to a stop outside ,

and a slender man clean shaven and


-
,

rather boyish of appearance entered th e ,

hall There was something aggressive in


.

hi s calm blue eyes an d in the carriage of his


small well set frame Some of the police
-
, .

men seeing him jerked to attention an d


, ,

touched their hands to the visors of their


caps But O Brien was too dazed even
.

for that .


Good avenin sor was his greeting ’
, . .

Police Commissioner Clement Hall


looked up sharply Then his eyes lighted .

on the pitiful figure of the girl in evening


dress Instantly his frigidity of manner
.

dropped and he took her hand in both of


,

his .


E unice ! You v e given us a fright

fu l scare I stopped at the house and


.
,
S I X SE CONDS OF DARKN ESS 21

the y told me that you had gone som ewhere



in the car .


Yes ; I came here to tell

They knew about it my girl Mrs , . .

F aber telephoned me and I got in touch ,

w i th them We ll go back
.



No I m going to stay

.


N o you d better come back ; or if you
,

d o n t want to re turn to the hous e you can


com e with me Mrs Hall will look after


. .


y o u for a few days .


You don t understand she explained

,
“ ”
sl owl y . I m a prisoner

.

“ ”
A prisoner ? Hall forced a smile to
his lips .

— —
I m afraid the <r a tragedy


has worked on your nerves .



My nerves are very good You see .
,

She was shaken with a sudden


paroxysm of sobs and the police commis ,

s i on e r turned da z edly to Larry O B rien



.


What I s she talking about ?

That I dunno sor excip t that She came
, ,

in here a bit agone all shook up like ye see


22 SI X SE CONDS OF DARKNESS
her now sor and says that she killed Mr
, , .

p :
Hamilton
“ ”
What ? Good God ! Hall stared in
am azement and then voiced the thought
,

that was uppermost in the minds of each


“ ”
It s ridiculous !

I said as much sor ; but she says she ,

shot h im

I Shot him said E unice dully , Just .

a little whi le ago I came right down in .


the car to give myself up .

“ ”
Here ! Hall placed his hands p a

te rn al l y on her shoulders You are nu .

,

nerved and I m afraid not quite your ’

self You know that you didn t shoot Mr


.

.


Hamilton .

Again she was calm although her body ,

was still wracked by an occasional sob .

You mean that you think I did not


even after I say that I did ? That is very
f oolish Mr Hall
, I shot Mr Hamilton
. . . .


Come home with m e
Won t you understand ? They are to

SI X S ECONDS OF DARKNES S 23

hold me here They can t let me go ’


. .

There s no bail in such cases as this



I ad .

mit that I am unstrung but I haven t lost


my senses I Shot Mr Hamilton less than


. .

an hour ago You can tell the detectives


.

to come back — —
I I shot him in the
- .


dark !

In the dark ?
She passed a tired hand across her fore
head .



The lights went out fo r about six sec
onds . But I d rather not discuss it now

.

I wish you d call Mr D enson He is my



. .

lawyer as well as Mr Hamilton s Id ’ ’


. .

rather tell him about it I have a very bad .


headache .

Hall stared at her pop eyed


-
, .

he snapped telephone ,

Samuel R D enson to come here im m e di


.

atel y Say Miss D uval i s here and wants


.

to see him A t once you understand


.
, .

An d now E unice let me beg you to be


, ,

ca reful o f your words I am sure that .


24 SI X SECON DS OF DARKNESS
there is some dreadful m istake Y o u .

couldn t have k illed Mr Hamilton



.

“ ”
I did she repeated monotonousl y
, .


I killed hi m I d rather not talk about it
.

now I m very tired Won t you as k


.

.


them to pu t me somewhere by mysel f ?

Please you don t understand and I d — ’ ’


rather not discuss it now .

“ ’
Very well ; I ll take you to the chief 5 ’

office and try to make you comfortable I .

am sure that there is a mistake somewhere .


You had no motive .


Yes I had a motive , .

“ ”
And it was ? eagerly .


I d rather not talk about it now if you

please Won t you take me to that that


.
— ’

— room ?
He off ered her his arm in his most
courtly fashion and together they crossed ,

to the door of the chief s office O nce in ’


.

there she sank down on the couch


, .

“ ”
Now please go Mr Hall , . .
26 S IX SECONDS OF DARKN ES S
Oh ,

you m us t understand that I d ra the r
not be bothered ! It was all so quick and
so — so — horrible ! Go please ”
, .

The po lice comm issioner made his w ay


into the main room slowly He w as .

frowning with bewilderment The thing .

was beyond his powers of comprehension .

He could not understand the girl Un .


doubtedly she had shot Hamilton her re
iteration was too sincere But how ? O r.

why ? Above all why ?—


Hall had known Hamilton intimately
for twenty years He had known E unice
.

since her birth He had watched her gro w


.

through a skinny legged girlhood to a m ag


-

n ifice n t maturity He had been present


.

at the guardianship proceedings after the


death of her parents when by the will of
, ,

her father H amilton was made the girl s


,

guardian and trustee of her considerable


estate.

That she instinctively disliked Hamil


ton he had realized but a mere dis
,
SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS 27

like does not usually lead to tragedy .

The y had never gotten along well together


—d espite the fact that the dead man had
been pas sionately fond of his young ward .

A s for her dislike for the man she had


killed that had dated back to childhood
, ,

an d ripened with the passing of years .

She had tolerated him because of her legal


s tatus in his household but she made no ,

s ecret of her aversion And now .

Why the thing was inconceivable


,
.

The group of thoroughly excited police


men divided into little kno ts as Hall ap
p e ar e d Then one
. of them cam e forward
an d touched his cap .


Mr Carroll is here sir He says you
.
, .


telephoned him .


Yes Show him into the office of the
.


chief of detectives .

Glad that he had something definite to


do Hall made hi s way to the room of the
,

chief o f detectives after first instructing


,

O Brie n to do nothing except by his orders



.
28 SIX SECOND S OF DARKNES S
O nce in the room he telephoned to Mrs, .

Faber housekeeper for the dead man


, ,

and requested that she come to police


headquarters at once Then he waited for .

D avid Carroll Clement Hall had great


.

faith in Carroll but he kn ew that the man


,

faced a difficult assignment an unusual ,


task that of plumbing the depths of the
mad impulse which must have prompted
E unice D uval to the shooting of her guard
1 an .

The door opened and Carroll entered ,

entered so silently that for a moment Hall


was not fully conscious of his presence .

The police commissioner laughed shortly .


If I didn t know you better Carroll

, ,


I d say that that was a pose of yours that

damnable pussy footed way you have of


-

getting about I don t wonder they call


.


you Silent Carroll Sit down . .

The detective obeyed Slumped down .

in the easy chair by the side of the chief s


- ’

desk he looked anything other than a f a


,
SI X SECONDS OF DARKNES S 29

mous detective His pink checked boy


.
-
,

ish face gave the lie to the actuality of his


thirty eight years his narrow Shoulders
-
,

gave no hint of the wiry strength they pos


sessed his baby blue eyes were partly
,

veiled by silky lashes D avid Carroll .

would have passed for anything anywhere


save a detective He was imm aculately .

dressed in the latest tight fitting clothes


-
,

his shoes were narrow and pointed he car ,

ried a light cane and wore his hair pompa


d ou re d .

Yet D avid Carroll was known in six


S tates as on e of the cleverest of private
detectives His inoffensive appearance
.
,

whi ch had proved a handicap to con fi


dence at the outset of his career was not ,

his greatest asset He had a way of insin.

u ati n g himself into one s consciousness


w ithout saying a word or making a physi


cal motion One could easily fancy him a
.

co llege senior or a cub of a lawyer ; but a


,

d etective never, .
3 O SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS
Immediately on hearing of Hamilton s ’

murder Hall had telephoned Carroll


, .

The men had worked together in the pas t .

and Carroll s assistance had been enlisted


by the Civic Reform League during the


past few months for the purpose of collect
ing data against certain members of the p o
lice force and the city hall officials F or
- .

that reason if for no other the man was i n


, ,

tensely unpopular at headquarters yet h e


carried himself with an attitude of confi
dence which begot respect even where it i n
spired fear Hall leaned forward and
.

launched into his story ; the news of H am


i l ton s killing the telephoning to the p o

lice department and the assignment of


,

Rollins to cover the case ; then the startling


confession of Eunice D uval Finally he .

finished .


I had intended putting you in charge

of the case over Rollins head he said

, ,

but of course Miss D u v al s confession al


ters matters I ll have to engage you pri
.
SI X SECOND S OF DARKNESS 3 1

v a te l y
to collect evidence which will result
in her acqui ttal at the inevitable trial .

You have met her yourself and you know


,

it is absurd to thi nk that She would have


killed Hamilton wi thout good and suf

ficie n t motive though what that motive
could have been God only knows The
, .

man was my friend and while he was the


, ,

victim of a terri fic temper and strong pas


sions he was a gentleman and I cannot
, ,

im agine hi m giving cause for such a thing


— especially to E unice D uval ”
.

Carroll was not given to prodigality


of words His questions came slowly
.
,

drawlingly

Why especially E unice D uval
‘ ’


Because Hall flu shed The .

m an was a bachelor you know , And I .

fancy that he was very much in love wi th


E unice Her father h ad been his best
.


friend it had been one of those rare
friends hips which did not founder when
both men fell in love wi th the same
3 1 s rx SECONDS OF DARKNESS
woman D uval won her an d it seeme d
.
,

that the affai r cemented their affection .

E unice is a replica of her moth er b ut ,

Hamilton poor fellow never felt toward


, ,

her as a father toward a daughter although ,

he tried to make her think so It is an .

— —
other case of well he fell in love wi th
the reincarnation of the mother and his

best friend .


She didn t like him ?

N o Instinct probably She must


. .


have guessed that he loved her as a lover
loves and not as a father She barely tol
, .

c rated him He has spoken to me of the


.

matter many times It worried him


. .

There was no outspoken dislike but her at ,

titu de has always been such that he h as

been forced to remain constantly on h is


best behaviour in her presence Can t you .

understand the utter absurdity of her ple a


that she killed him ? There is a mistake ,

p :
there m us t be
“ p
Hmm . Carroll thrummed idly on
,
34 s 1x SECO ND S OF DARKNESS

It s a go You re in charge I ll no

.

.

tif y the chief of police as soon as he gets


— —
back to the city I ve wired for him and ’

I ll tell Barrett Rollins personally



.

Which reminds me that I d better tele ’

phone him to come in There s no use to .


have him continue nosing about Hamil


ton s home The coroner s probably there

.

by this time and I d better go there myself


,

.

Mrs Faber is leaving to come down here


. .

Carroll rose languidly .


Think I ll go with you You say Miss

.

D uval doesn t wish to make a statement



now ?

So she says I ve telephoned for Mr ’
. .

D enson her lawyer Probably after she


, .

sees him she ll be willing to give us details


regarding the shooting Until then you — .

know old man these things are the basis of


, ,

your profession but the thing has hit me ,

all of a heap And funny as it sounds


.
, ,

I m not nearly so shocked by the death of
my friend as I am by the confession of h is
SI X SECOND S OF DARKNES S 35

ward Of course can t app re ci



.
yo u

ate

I believe I can smiled Carroll , .


human you s e e quite h uman
,

.

“ ” “
Yes slowly s om e tim es I believe you
, ,

are . A t other times I am not quite sure


that you are not a fis h .

The men walked into the main hall to


receive the report of Sergeant Larry
O B ri e n that Mrs F aber had arrived and

.

had taken charge of E unice in the private


office of the chief In response to Hall s .

query via a patrolman as to whether she


, ,

c ared to see him E unice sent word that she


'

w ould have no statement to make until


a fter she had seen Mr D enson except that .
,

s h e repeated th e statement that she had

k illed Hamilton .

H all shrugged and turned to Carroll .

“ ”
You see she is very insistent
, .

“ ”
Yes returned Carroll significantly
, ,

p :
v ery

And now continued the commis
,
3 6 SIX SECOND S OF DARKNES S

s i on e r, to telephone Rollins Hello ! .

What s this ?

“ ”
This was a narrow shouldered s unk
-
,

e n chested rather wild eyed old man who


-
,
-

slouched into headquarters from the street .

His watery eyes blinked in the glare of the


brilliant light and h e eyed the crowd of
,

uniformed men dazedly From S ergeant .

O Brie n came a muttered



The owld geezer looks half cracked

.

The old man apparently upward of


,

sixty years of age appeared bewildered, .

He shifted uncertainly from one foot to


the o ther undecided as to What to do next
, .

Then he timidly inquired for the chief of


police .


N ot in the city answered one of th e
,

policemen What do you want ?
.



Who who is in charge here faltered
the old fell ow .

The policeman design ated Commis


s ion e r Hall and immediately the new
,

comer turned toward him His weak eyes .


SI X SECOND S OF DARKN ESS 37

ro ved here and there about the room ap ,

p a t ently unable to come to rest for any


tim e on any de finite obj ect Hall turned .

away quickl y .


Take charge of him O Brie n I ,

.

h aven t time to waste wi th


“ ”
I want to see you sir said the little
, ,

fellow My name is Badger F rederick


.
,

B adger .

Hall s subconscious mind vaguely te


called that the name was not unfamiliar .

F rederick Badger Badger ? Where had


.

h e heard the name before ?


He turned to the old man and touched
him gently on the shoulder .



I m the police commissioner Y ou .


w anted to see me privately ?

Yes sir ; if you re in charge here
,

.


I am Come this way Come along
. .
,

C arroll .

He led the way to the policemen s rest ’

r o om Badger following him timidly Car


, ,

ro ll bringing up the rear Hall closed the


.
3 8 S I X SECONDS OF DARKNESS
door carefully and faced the little fellow .

“ ”
What is it you wish ?
Badger cleared his throat ; he was very
ill at ease .

“ ’
I guess you ve heard my name from

Mr Hamilton sir ; haven t you ?
.
,

Hamilton ! Why of course Hamil , .

ton had spoken of some one named Badger .

Hall scrutinized the man with interest .

Why had he mentioned Hamilton of all ,

people ?

Well started Hall somewhat
brusquely and then at sight of the man s
, ,

pitiful dejection he softened his tone con


,
“ ”
s i d e rab l y
. What can I do for you ?
By way of answer the queer little fel,

low dived down into a capacious pocket of


his frayed summer coat And then Hall .

starte d back with an exclamation of sur


prise for from its depths Frederick Badger
,

produced an ugly revolver ! uite calml y .

he extended it to Hall .

“ ”
That s it sir

,
.
SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS 39
— —
That s that s what ?
’ ’

The revolver sir The one I used


, . .

Used for what ? Hall dimly real


i z e d tha t the little old man was driving at
something in connection with the Hamil
ton killing .


D idn t you know that M r Hamilton

.


h ad been killed ? he inquired anxiously ,

as though surprised that the police depart


ment should have so long remained in ig
n o rance of an important occurrence .



Yes yes we know that Mr Hamil
, .

ton is dead But what have you and this


.

g u n to do with it .

The answer of Mr Frederick Badger .

w as quite nai ve .

“ ”
You see he explained S lowly that is
, ,

th e re v olver I used when I killed him !
CHAPTE R 111

OR a fe w seconds Hall was


stunned by the import of the
words of the simple little man .

Then he was conscious of an insane desire


to laugh aloud He glanced at D avid
.

Carroll and saw the little detective star


,

ing keenly from his fishy eyes at the latest


personage to hold the centre of the stage in
the tragedy .

Then gradually Hall began to under


stand what the con fe s sm n of Frederick
Badger might mean to the girl in the other
room who had also confessed to the crime .

I f Badger had killed Hamilton then it fol


,

lowed as a matter of course that the girl


had not done s o Somewhere somehow
.
, ,

there was a mistake Then he was con


.

scious of the fact that Badger was talking .

40
42 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNES S
Immediately Carroll made his way to a
telephone Wi thin th ree minute s he was
.

back .


That part of the story is true It s .

Simpson s pawnshop and he remembers


the sale distinctly O ne of those bullets


.

has been fired since the revolver was



bought He examined the g un closely
. .


It s a regulation police revolver too

, .


How can that be ? questioned Hall
sharply .


Some discharged policeman probably , ,

pawned his service revolver .

“ ”
Then the case is simple snapped Hall ,

hopefully The bullet which really
.

killed him can be identified by its size If .

this old man did it it will be proven b e


,

yond a doubt by the size of the bullet



found at the autopsy .


If I killed him ? echoed Badger .

D on t you understand

— I d id kill him .

That s what I came here to tell you I



.

bought the revolver and went back there


SI X S ECOND S OF DARKNES S 43

throu gh the garden and stood on the ver


anda and killed him — in the dark !


You Hall slapped his hand

against his knee . By George Carroll
, ,

that s the second person who has made


s ome reference to killing Hamilton in th e



dark
Badger seemed a bit da zed at the te
f u sal of these men to take his confession of
m urder quite seriously Carroll was si
.

l e nt tight lipped keenly observant the


,
-
,

l e thal weapon held in his right hand .

O nce again the police commissioner took


s tock of the latest figure in the sensational

c as e
. The man seemed even smaller ,

w eaker and more dejected than when he


,

e xploded his confession of the crim e to

w hich some one else had already confessed .

H e was above all things meek ; meek and


, ,

i n tensely out of place .But he was de


te rm in e d that h e had killed Hamilton and ,
“ ”
w ith caus e ! That with cause feature of
the confession impressed Clement Hall .
44 S 1 x SE CONDS OF DARKN ESS
E unice D uval had refused to give details .


S uppose you tell us what happe ned to
night M r Badger he suggested
, .
, S tart .


at the beginning and tell us everyth ing .

The old man spread his sk inny fingers in


a helpless gesture .


There isn t anything to tell except that


I killed him and ran away .

“ ”
You ran away ?

Yes .

If you intended to come down here and


confess to the crime why d id you ru n
,

away ?

I was frightened The noise scared
.


me the noise and the dark ”
.

Here Carroll in terrupted his voice so ft,

an d soothing :

What do you mean by repeating that
you shot him in the dark ? Where was he
when you shot ?

In his living room on the other side of
th e big table I was on the veranda by th e
.


window .
SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS 45

You
shot through the window ?

Yes It was half open One sid e of
. .

it was open .


Now what about the darkness ?
You v e said twice that you shot in the


dark .

Badger pas sed a trembling hand across


his forehead .


That s the funn y part of it I took

.

careful aim at Mr Ham ilton and just be


.
,

fore I pulled the trigger the lights went



out.

The lights in the room where he was



stan ding ?

Yes sir ; they all went out and the
,

room was very dark Then in about fiv e


.
,

seconds they flashed on again and I saw


, ,

him fallin g and I ran away
, .



Did you hear anything else an oth er

shot ?

I don t k now Y ou see I wasn t

.
,

think in g about an yth ing except myself .


There might have been another shot .
'

46 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS



Would you have heard it if there had
been
Badger stared at him blank ly .

“ ”
Maybe ; I don t know ’
.

Hall was settled back in his chair l is ,

tening amazedly to the dialogue The .


thing was ludicrous C arroll who looked ,

like a fussy college boy and was a truly


great detective discussing a case with a
,

watery eyed harmless appearing old man


- -
,

who confessed to murder The thing was .

not at all as it should have been ; there was


as little of the detective in Carroll s ap ’

p e a ran ce as there was of the murderer in



Badger s .

O f one thing Hall was already con


v in ce d that whether or not Badger had
, ,

killed Hami lton he was not quite sane


, .

There was an occasional gleam in his weak



old eyes when Hamilton s name was
mentioned that denoted a m ild form of
mania Carroll continued his question
.

mg
.
SIX SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

47

Now suppose you tell us Mr Badger
, .
,

he said quietly why you killed Mr Ham
, .

ilton

Because I told him I was going to .

“ ”
When did you tell him that ?

Tonight about eight o clock He ’
.

laughed at me an d told me not to let a lit


tle thi ng make me try an ything foolish .

Then I went down to the pawnshop and


bought the revolver and went back and

shot him in the dark .

In the dark ! In the dark ! E unice had


“ ”
spoken of shooting in the dark .

“ ”
Why persisted Carroll easily did
, ,

y ou tell Mr Hamilton
. that you were going
to kill him ?

Because he Stole my money .

Hami lton stole your money ? burst



in Hall bru squely That s ridiculous !

.

The man was worth a fortune .

Again that flash of fury in Badger s e yes


- a fire spark that died out almost as soon

as born.
SIX SECONDS OF DARKN ESS
“ ’
I do n t care how much he had he in ,

s isted . He stole my money .

“ ”
When ?
Fifteen years ago .


D amned rot ! chortled Hall .

p
man is crazy .
;


Just a minute Mr Hall interrupted , .
,

Carroll “
Tell us all about it M r
.
, .

Badger .



He took my money it was on a prop
os ition to develop oil lands Then he said .

he sent down an engineer and the engineer


said there wasn t any oil there But I ’
.


knew I knew Badger rose to his
feet and as he talked his manner became
,

more violent and his voice rose to a cres



cendo I know how these rich men get
.

rich ! They steal their money from us


poor people He took all my money and
.
,

I know there was oil there He said there .

wasn t and all my money w as gone I


, .

as k ed him to give it back to me and he said ,

he was sorry but that he had lost th ree


,
5 ° s 1x SECONDS OF DARKNESS
Do you reali ze what this means for

you ?
Badger Shrugged .


There wasn t anything in life for me

anyway An d maybe it ll teach thes e rich


.

people a lesson I told him I was going to


.

kill him and then I went right down to the


,

pawnshop
“ ’
Yes yes ; we understand that We ll
,
.

hold you now I m sorry you had to shoot


.

him
Again Badger was on his feet .

“ ”
He stole my money ! He stole it !
Carroll reached over to the desk at which
Hall was S itting and pressed a buzzer .


Put him in charge of one of your best
” “
men personally he ordered , Se e to it .

that he is allowed to speak to no one N ot .

even to Rollins .

When Badger had been led away an d


the two men were alone Hall lighted a ,

cigar and puffed violently for a few m in


utes .
SI X S ECONDS OF DARKNES S 5 1.


Of cours e it s damned rot ! he said at

length .

“ ”
Wha t ? queried the detecti ve in a
mil d tone .


That fool notion that Hamilton stole
his mone y More than probably he went
.

to Hamilton with some wildcat scheme and

g o t some of Hamilton s money in on it ’


.

An d of course O h damn it all an y , ,

way ! It s my opinion that the man is


c raz y .


Carroll s answe r was as calm and steady
as though he were remarking on the
w eath er

Undoubtedly he is But crazy men .

c an kill people .



O f course he killed but E unice said
s he killed him .


H mph ! Suppose you go in and tell

M iss E unice that this man has confessed


an d see what she says As k her first if She .

k nows who Badger is ?


“ ”
If she ll see me’
Hall started for the.
5 1 SI X SECONDS OF DARKNES S

door .I can t make head or tail of it .

I ll tell her thoug


His knock was answered by Mrs F aber .


,

and only after pleading with the girl


through her did E unice consent to speak to
him .

He found her lying on the couch staring ,

dry eyed at the ceiling Her face was


-
, .

pallid and one hand hung limply over the


,

side of the couch She spoke wi tho ut .

turning her head



What is it Mr Hall ? , .


I hate to bother you E unice ; but ,

there s been a terrible mistake Somewhere


and I want you to help me out Tell m e .

first do you know of a man named F reder


,

ick Badger ?
S he turned her face to the wall .

I thought you wanted to see me abo ut


s omething important Mr Hall I m n ot ’
.
, .

at all well and I wish ,



But this is important ; really it is D o .


you know of him ?
SI X S ECONDS OF DARKN ESS 53
“ ”
Of course I do ! she s aid somewhat
sharply

He s been bothering M r M r
.
-

. .

Hamilton for years


-
They were in .

som e business deal togeth er Mr Hamil . .


ton thought h e was craz y .


I see .


And now if that s all you wanted to
,

know I wish you d go I don t want to ’ ’

, .

see an y one except Mr D enson He . .

hasn t come yet has he


,

No E unice please won t you take a
.
, ,

friend s advice and retract your con fes


s ion

O f course not ! I killed him That s ’
.

al l I have to say .


But you did not kill him said Hall ,

d esperately That man has already con
.


fessed to Mr Hamilton s murder ! .

The effect of his words was e lectri


'

ca l
. The girl s figure s tifl ened grew ’

rigid ; then in a flash she was on her


feet bosom heaving eyes flashing fists
, , ,

cl enched .
54 SI X SECO ND S O F DARKNES S
You re l ying ! ’
You know you are ly
ing .

Hall gave back a S tep .


E unice ! You know I m not H e has

.


confessed to the killing .

“ ”
It s a lie !

A pause and then ,
“ ”
What man ?
“ ”
Frederick Badger !

O oo
- - As suddenly as she h ad
risen She relaxed The light died from
, .

h er eyes She crumpled on the cou ch


. .

Why why didn t you say that?


— — ” ’


I did I explained That s why I
. .

asked you who he was If you ll with .


draw your confession now we ll probably ’


let you go home Badger killed him . .

She turned her haggard face to him .

I told you Badger is crazy I rep e at .


it He didn t kill Mr Hamilton I did
. . .


shot him with his own revolver !

But E unice ,

Mrs Faber she said weakly ple ase


.

, ,
‘‘

mak e Mr Hall go He means well bu t I


. .
,
S1x S ECONDS OF DARKN ESS 55

can

t stand much more of this .

I I ll go


to pieces again in a minute .

Hall was hurt He bowed in the girl s ’


.

direction .


I ll go Mrs F aber but there is a

, .
,

mis take She didn t kill Mr Ham ilton


.

. .

This man Badger insists that he did He .

b ought a revolver and went there an d shot


3)

The eyes of the little housekeeper


l ighted .


That explains the second shot .

“ ”
What second shot ?

There were two s hots sir I was in , .

m y room in bed —
I heard a shot that
.

e choed all around Then there was an .

o ther shot I put my wrapper on an d


.
,

wh en I got downstairs Mr Hamilton was .

— was She glanced significantly


toward the huddled figure of the girl on

the couch You understand sir
.
, .


Y e s I understand
, I think I do . .

Th e shot that echoed was th e one from i n


5 6 SI X SECOND S OF DARKNESS

side the room The other was from out


.


side What a mess !
.

He left the two women together and


told his story to Carroll .


That simplifies things said Carroll , .

We ll have an autopsy performed and


discover whether Hamilton was killed by a


bullet from a police revolver Badger s .


weapon was undoubtedly one .

Hall shook his head .


They re performing the autopsy now

,

he said but that will tell us nothing
, .

Th e girl says she used Hamilton s re


volver That revolver was a present to


.


him from me and it was the duplicate of

the one Badger used !
Hall shook his head .


That makes it a little harder An d .

Miss D u val Still refuses to go into d e a

tails ?

Yes She insists on seeing D en s on
.

first I can t blame her Poor little k id



. .
,
5 8 SI X SECON DS OF DARKN ESS
“ p
An d in response to Hall
a
Come 1n ’

command a young officer bu rst into th an


A young man to see you imm ediatel y,
Mr .

Hall he says you know him ; hL:

name is Harrelson Vincent Harrelson ”
.

Hall felt Carroll s eyes upon him an d ’

he gave answer to the unspoken query



Yes it s Vincent Harrelson the artist
,

, .

— —
I think mind you I don t know that he ,


was secretly engaged to E unice .


A a h ! Let s go see what he wants

- - .

Again the man they s aw did not fit into


the picture Artist he was but not at all
.
,

the painter depicted in fiction He was .

more than six feet in height broad of ,

S houlder and very deep of chest His big .


,

s oft brown eyes contained a strange light ;


,

there was suppressed excitement in h is


manner He made his way imm ediatel y
.

to Hall .


The y told me the chief of police was

out of the city and that you were here he ,
SIX SECONDS OF DARKN ESS 59

sai d swiftly the words almost tumbling


,

over one another. You know who I am
— and you know something about family
conditions

Yes I understand
, .


I just came in to give myself up sir
, .

About a n hour ago I quarreled with Mr .


H ami lton and I killed him !

CHAPTER I V .

UT of the stillness which fol


lowed the young m an s an ’

n ou nce m e n t came the m umbled

words of a policeman

Begor ra this murder is just on e
,

damned confession after another ! Then
“ ”
some one said Hush you fool ! and
,

there was quiet again .

Clement Hall was too startled for im


mediate speech His jaw dropped and hi s
.

figure slumped limply .The young man


stared at him in surprise and then curi ,

ou s l y at D avid Ca rroll who was eyein g


,

him with a deliberation which brought a


slow flush o f anger to the young ar tis t s ’

face He fidge te d uncomfortably F i


. .

n ally he broke out irritably :



What are you staring at ? An d why ?
By way of answer Carrol l flipped back
60
SIX SECONDS OF DARKN ESS 61

the la pel of his coat disclosing his badge


, .

Harrelson subsided Carroll spoke softly


.


This way young m an and you too
, , , ,

commissioner if you pleas e
, .

A battery of curious eyes followed th eir


p rogress across the sombre hall and as th e ,

d oor o f the rest room closed behind th em a


bedlam of comment and conjecture broke
loo se.

The case had piled sensation on sensa


ti on until it had long since pas sed the point
of plausibility Larry O Brien waxed
.

g arrulou s .


Be all the s aints tis spooky ! Usuall y
,

w hin a murder is done we hunt for the


g u i l t y
. T his time we have two guilt y
w ans and have to hunt for the innocent .

Be dad they lied whi n they said that won


,

de rs have ceased !
Meanwhile in the rest room D avid Car
, ,

ro ll was questioning Vincent Harrelson in


hi s habitual ca lm unperturbed way
, His .

firs t efiort was to discover if the young m an


'
62 SIX SECOND S OF DARKN ESS
kn ew that an y one else had confess ed .


You say you killed Ham ilton
“ ”
Yes .

Why ?
We quarreled when I visited his house
tonight We have quarreled seve ral
.

times before It is strictly a personal mat


.

ter I believe Mr Hall was sufficiently


. .


intimate at Ham ilton s home to under
stand .

Hall nodded .


I believe I do .

“ ”
You shot him in cold blood ? asked
Carroll deli berately .

The young man leaped to his feet .


Good God no ! We quarreled bit
,

te rly and he lost his head He hit me .

here . Harrelson exhibited a red spot on



his left check I grappled with him an d
.

he tore loose We were in the library


.

then He dashed to the table picked up


.
,

a paper weight and would have thrown it


,

at me but I held him When finally I let


, .
SIX SECON DS OF DARKNESS 63

himgo—an d it is more than pos sible that



I handl e d hi m a bit roughly he ran into
the next room and took a revolver from the

drawer of the table I grabbed his wrist


.

and got the revolver away from him .

Then it went ofi— how I don t kn ow ,



.

He fell and that s all


,


.

“ ”
Tha t s all 2’


Yes .

You re sure ?

The youn g man straightened nervously .


Say look here what are you driving
, ,

at? I ve told you that was all !

Apparently Carroll was looking at a s e t


of dominoes spread out on the table before

him . His next remark was as casual as a


comment on an item in the day s news


How about the switching off of the

l ights ?
But disin terested a he seemed he did
,
s
,

no t m is s the sudden pallor of H arre l s on s


ch ecks . The young man opened his


m outh to speak clos e d it again and rose
, , .
64 SI X SECO NDS OF DARKNESS

I don t know what you re talking


’ ’

about and I refuse to say anyth ing fur


,

ther !
Carroll s voice grew cold as steel

.


What about the switching off of the
” “
lights ? he snapped An d who fired the .

other Shot
Harrelson gripped the edge of his chair .


I have nothing further to say at this
time I ve told you I killed Mr H amil
.

.

ton and that s all I m going to tell you


,
’ ’
.

I wish you d put me in a cell or wherever



I am to be put .


You re a very foolish young man said

,

Carroll If I were you
.

“ ’
You re not And I ll be exceedi n gly .

obliged if you ll keep your advi ce to y our ’


self .

Clement Hall touched the artist on the


arm .


He s trying to help you Mr Harrel

, .

I haven t ask ed for help from any on e



.
66 SI X SECON DS OF DARKN ES S

Item number one retorted Carr ol ,



with sudden and incisive coldness It en .

n umber two is the fact that there were tw<


shots one evidently in the dark and o m
,

imm ediately after the lights were s witch e t


on Which shot if you please did y or
.
, ,

fire ?

I fired
the shot which killed Mr Ham .

ilton came the stolid answer


, .

“ ”
You are quite sure ?
You can prove it easily enough Get .

the bullet which killed him and see if it


does not fit his revolver That will an .

swer you I don t know anything about


.


any second shot .

You mean you won t tell ? ’

Have it your own way I ve said all .


I intend to .


Who else was in the room at the time of
the shooting

I have nothing more to say .

Carroll smiled .


That answer is perfectly satisfactory .
SI X SECOND S OF DARKNES S 67

Then to Hall I will hold this young
man in one of the cells under special guard .

No one is to be allowed to discuss the case



with him .Is that satisfactory ?

You re in charge Carroll My inter

.
,

est is far more personal than official .

A sergean t was called and the prisoner


plac e d in his charge with instructions
not to discuss any phase of the case with

him O nce alone the two men faced each


.
,

other and Carroll laughed shortly .

“ “
It is a poser he admitted
, . The most
interesting case I have ever worked The .

usual order of things is reversed We .

have three people claiming guilt for a


crime which only one could have c om mit

ted H mph That young man is very


'

.

~e r -tart .

“ ” “
Tem peram ent ! snorted Hall He s ’
.


an artist !

And I believe you said engaged to
, ,

Miss Duval

That s the bone of contention between

68 SIX SECONDS OF DARKN ESS
him and Ham ilton Ham ilton I suspect
.
, ,

was deeply in love with Miss D uval and


even under normal circumstances he would
n ot have been overly fond of the m an

whom she happened to love That then


.
, ,

was the case between them basically .


But Hamilton was s up e rcons cie n tious .

I believe he was broad enough to have


sanctioned her marriage with Harrelson
had he found no fault with the young man
personally But whether it was true or
.


not whether or not it was just he was
,

sincere in the belief that Ha rrelson was


after Miss D uval s money that he was

worthless personally that he was lazy and


, ,

that he was rather much of a Lothario .



H mm ! His temperament would it
be of the kind

I know exactly what you are think ing ;
you re wonderi ng whether he would be

quixotic enough to surrender himself for


a crime the girl had comm itted ? I sn t ’

that it ?
SIX SECOND S OF DARKN ESS 69

Yes .


I don t know He might and he might

.

not
. O n the o ther hand he has exhibited ,

a certain strength of character in givin g

himself up at all especially if a rigid in


,

vesti ation would have implicated her


g .


He could have gotten away .

“ ”
I m not so sure said Carroll Slowly

, .


And remember this that if he told us the
,

strict and whole truth — which he quite evi


dently did not— no jury in the world
would convict him of anything But .

there is something wrong s omewhere He .

may have lied as to the darkn ess and the


second shot in order to s hield the girl On .

the other hand he may have killed the man


,

hims elf formulated this self defence


,
-

story and thought to blu ff it out I don t ’

, .

know the significance of the sudden dark


ness at the time of the shootin g but that it ,

did have something to do with it I am



s ure .


That whole phas e of it snapped Hall ,
7o SI X SFL ONDS

OF DARKN ESS
somewhat irritably strikes me as sill y ,

Who would have turned out the lights it


the room at that particular time and why? ,

Certainly it was no time for domestic pyro


technics And besides while we are dis
.
, ,

cussing whether Miss D uval or Harrelson


may be the guilty one we have completely ,

forgotten old man Badger the one person ,

who has supplied confession motive evi , ,



dence and testimony
, .


-
,

N o o Mr Hall I hadn t quite forgot
.

ten Badger Without him the case is com


.


plicated enough With him it is e r .

interesting very interesting I suggest
, .

that you telephone D octor Robinson ; he


should have found the bullet b y this
time .

Doctor Robinson had found the bullet


and Doctor Robinson was desirous of com
ing down to see Mr Hall imm ediately . .

He came and a quick and thorough exam


,

ination showed that the lethal bullet wa s

of the s ame calibre as that used in the offi


s rx SECONDS OF DARKN ES S 7 1

c i al p olice revolvers Hall looked at Car


.

r oll and Carroll looked at Hall .


It would have been queer remarked ,

Carroll easily if something had turned
,

up to bewilder us more A lthough that


.

would have been well nigh impossible


- .

Hall laughed Shortly He questioned .

the doctor

The man was only shot once ; you are

q uit e sure ?

Just once I am positive of it
. .


Where was he Shot

Through the heart The bullet e n
.

tered his left S ide .


Would you say after close investiga
,
” “
tion doctor
, questioned Carroll that the
, ,

bulle t that killed him was fired from very



close to him 2

Doctor Robinson looked up in some


sur rise
p .


Why no ; I should say most emphat
,

ically that it was fired from a distance ”


.

“ ”
The dis tance of a few feet ?
7 1 SI X SECOND S OF DARKN ESS
More than that I do not pretend to
.

be an expert in such matters but I shoul d ,

hazard a guess that the person who killed


hi m fired from a distance of at least
twenty fiv e feet
- .

Carroll thanked the doctor briefly and


requested him to take charge of the b ody
with the coroner After the man of medi
.

cine had gone Hall sank weakly into a


,

chair and spread his hands helplessly .


I give it up altogether he said hope
,

lessly . He is certain that the bullet was
fired from a distance Badger s bullet ’
.

was the only one fired from a distance .

E unice D uval insists that she was in the


room with him and while she gave no de
, ,

tails she led us to believe that they w ere


,

close together Harrelson maintains that


.

they were struggling when the shot was


fired . E vidence of that would have been

unmistakabl e powder marks and the sear
of the flame I am convinced that Har
.

t elson confessed to save E unice although ,


74 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS
v ance d theories none of which do I be
,

lieve .


Then for God s sake tell me what y ou ’


d o believe !

I prefer not to I d rather work the .

case my own way It ought not pro v e .

a very di fficult task to disclose the inn o



cence of those who are innocent .


And we have the guilty one dead to

rights ?

Yes we have the guilty one dead to
,

rights .



I I m glad you re in charge of th e
’ ’

,

case Carroll You re so so d amne d— .

impersonal

That s my business Just at presen t

.

I m willing to admit frankly that being



,

only human I m about as confused as you


,

are I want to get off by myself and


.

think Which I cannot do with that in


.

fe rn al noise dinning in my ears .

The noise was the clanging of the police


patrol which swung in from the street to
SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ES S 75

th e courtyard gong clanging and m umer


,

c u t out . Carroll and the police commis


s ion e r strolled to the windo w and gazed

o u t into the stone flagge d courtyard sur


-

r ounded by its austere greystone wall and

be yond that a frame of trees garlande d


with the fresh leaves of early s ummer It
w as Hall who recognized the man in
ch a rge of the wagon .

“ ”
By George it s Barrett Rollins !
,

Carroll evinced sudden interest .

“ ”
So it is he said quietly eyeing the
, ,

h e avy set form of the chief of the regular


-

detective force And he s got a wounded
.

man in that wagon I wonder if he s been .


using his revolver again to bring down


some poor suspect That s a habit of his .

— firing his revolver rather in dis crim



inate l y .


He s been on the carpet for it a half

” “
dozen times answered Hall
, I wonder .

now

I suggest that you have him s en t in
76 SI X S ECON DS OF DARKN ESS

here said Carroll
, He may have som e
.


thi ng of interest to tell us .

In response to orders Barrett Rol l in s ,

e ntered the room a f e w m inutes l a te r .

But he was not alone .

With him was a huge man lantern ,

j awed shaggy haired and with glowing


,
-
,

e yes which flamed from beneath heavy

lashes Rollins attitude was one of tri


.

umph th en he flushed wi th sudden fury


as his eyes fell on the figure of Carroll .

But Carrol l was staring at the bloo d


stained bandage around the han d and
w rist o f the prisoner .

“ ”
What you doin here ? Rollins de ’

m an de d grufl y .

Carroll shrugged .


You might ask Mr Hall . .

Hall spoke softly :



I ve placed Mr Carroll in charge of

.

the Hamilton case Rollins Abso lutely


, .


in charge .

Ro llins face took on a sneer



.
SI X SECONDS OF DARKNES S 77

You can let your fin e Sherlock Holmes
” “
g o
, he said triumphantly Because the
.

case is solved This here man is Red


.

Hartigan alias Ri o Red alias Pete Harti


, ,

gan
“ p :
Yes yes
, . Hall was leaning forward

anxious ly . What about him ?
Rollin s chuckled .

“ ”
R e d H artigan he exulted is the
, ,

man who m urdere d Mr H am il ton 7 ”


. .
CHAPTE R V

H OARS E cry broke from th e


lips o f the wounded prisoner .

He to re away from his captor


an d stepped forward swiftly waving the ,

s tained bandage in the ver y face of Hall

and Carroll .

“ ”
It s a damned lie ! he croaked hoarsel y

.


I was in that house an I was in th ere
,

to steal but I didn t kill and when he


, ,

s ays I did he lies


p a

Hall was conscious of one rather ridicu



lous thought he was relieved that one
person at least protested inno cence .

Rollins reached out a sinewy arm a n d


w rapped his fingers aro und the prisoner s

u ninjured wrist .


Keep a civil to ngue between them
d am ned crooked lips o f yours Hartigan , .

78
s rx SECOND S OF DARKNESS 79

You can t get away wi th such stuff as


that .

Carroll was apparently not at all inter


es te d in the prisoner o r his captor He .

was scribbling on a bit of paper and at ,

length he s lid it across the table toward


Hall Rollins caught the bit o f byplay
.

and scowled darkly at the little detective .

Hall read

Le t m e handl e this . R ol l ins is to
k n ow nothing at all about B adge r . I
wil l hav e Badger r e m ov e d at once .

Hall no dded and im mediately Carrol l


,

reclaime d the paper which he tore into,

tiny bits and carefully placed in a vest


p ocket The .whole t hing w as done in the
most casual manner Rollins voiced a
.

sneer

O ld sleuth ! Behind time as usual , .

“ ”
I d be a bit mo re civil Rollins said

, ,

Hall sharpl y Until I choose to remove
.

him Mr Carrol l is your s upe rior officer


, .


and must be accorded due respect .
80 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS

Rollin s Shrugged .

“ “
Obedience he ll

get he rasped but , ,

respect I ll not give him I ve only con



.


tempt for such as him .


I tell you but Carroll put a quiet ,

r estraining hand on Hall s arm



.


N0 use to get excited Mr Hall I , . .

can well understand how Rollins feels at


having a rank outsider brought in and put

o ver his head I think we ll get along
.

better when he understands that I am



working with him and not against h im .

The detective rose and crossing the , ,

r oom placed himself squarely in front of


,

Rollins . He spoke quietly and force


fully

I want you to understand Rollins , ,

that we re not to pull against each other



.

You don t like me and I can t say that


’ ’

I m wasting any love on you But this is



.

not a personal matter and I d rather work ,


it as your ally I m perfe ctly willing to


.

listen to your advice and I haven t a do ubt


,

82 SIX SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

Rollins was m ollifie d in spite of him


self He seated himself and motioned the
.

captive to a chair Much of the aggros


s i v e n e ss had dropped from his grim visage

as he prepared for Carroll s quiet question ’

ing .

Suppose yo u tell us why you think thi s



man Hartigan killed Mr Hamilton ? sug
.

gested Carro ll .

“ ”
S ure ! Rollins lighted a rank brier
and launched into his story
It s this way When I gets to the

.

,

house the first thing I fin d out this bein ’

from the old dame who ran the shebang



for Hamilton is that there was two shots

fired ; get that ?

Yes .

I poked my nose in on the doc whot

was making the autopsy and he tells me ,

the man was shot only once So right


away I get busy I go into the room an d
.

fin d things just as they was with some one


havin g had sense enough to mark the spot
SI X SECONDS OF DARKNESS 83

on the floor where the man fell It s a big .


room with a door opening o n to a large

veranda on the south S ide Beyond that a .

g arden N ext to .the door o n e of these


here big F rench windows Then an L in .

the veranda and another F rench windo w

facing east .


Right in the angle of the room is one
of these here fancy screens The windo w .

was open First crack out of the bat I


.

find a police revolver on the floor Here .


1t 1 s .

He tossed a blue steel w eapon on the



table As yo u ll see one chamber has
.

been fired That revolver was half


.

way betw een the centre table and the


screen I step behin d the screen and I
.
,

find this bird lying there w ith a hole in his


wrist —
By his side is this gun another
.

police revolver ”
— h e laid a s econd weapon
beside its twin and that also has been , ,

ex loded once It s the one t his bu ko
p . c

used . Se e ?
84 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNES S
p :
It s a lie broke out Hartigan desper


ately I didn t even carry a gun
.

.


Keep your mouth shut We ll let you ’

talk later As I was sayin in the screen


.

I fin d a bullet hole and the case is simpl e ,

as A B C Right alon gside Hartigan is a


.

bundle of swag What happened was .

that he was cle an in out the house when ’

Hamilton hears a noise ; Hartigan ducks


behind the screen but Hamilton k nows ,

he s there Hamilton takes a pot shot at



.

him an hits him in the wrist ; Hartigan


shoots back and kills his man An d if that .

nee ds more exp lainin I don t see where t ’ ’


1


comes in .

Carroll spoke without raising his eyes



You are sure these are po lice revolvers ,

Rollins ?

Sure as I am that you re sitting there

.

'
Hmm Where did you get thi s gun ,

Hartigan ?
The prisoner shook his head hopelessly .

“ ’
I m telling youse I didn t have no gat ’
.
srx S ECONDS OF DARKN ES S 85

I ain t never carried one Rollins k nows



.

that as well as I do ; he s got a line on all ’

of us yeggs an he knows them that carries


and them th at don t A burglary ’

gun s .

char e I don t mind f acin but murder


’ ’

g ,

no .You go ask my pals if they ve ever ’

known me to carry a gun ; they ll tell you



not .


Suppos e you tell us what happened .

The confessed burglar leaned forward


ea e
g rly .


It was this way . A pal o mine and ’

me 3,


Who ?
Hartigan flushed
“ ’
I ain t no squealer ;
.

A pal o

y an fin d that out for yourself



e .

mine frames with me to crack this Hamil


ton crib We go in together leav in a ’
.
,

lookout b y the road in front of the garden .

I get one bag of loot and he gets the other .

It s all framed that I m to go out through


’ ’

the winder of that room I get in there .


,

and right away I hear two fellers scrap


86 SIX S ECOND S OF DA RKNES S
pin in the next room I duck behind

.

screen The two guys come fightin i


.
,

the room

N obody else in there ?
Yes ; that s the funny part Jus t

.

they come in battin hell out of each ot


,

o n e of em bein Hamilton an the o t


’ ’ ’
-


one a big man I don t know a girl s t ’

ou t from behind some curtains over

window in the other corner of the roon


over beyond the door .


Hamilton breaks loose from the
feller and makes a jump for the ta!
He yanks a gun outa the drawer .

man gets him before he can Shoot T .

scrap around ; then all of a sudden it g


dark and I hear two Shots and I get th
, ,

He held up his wrist I hang on th .

for a while afraid they re going to 1


,

me I feel right sick so I lay down e


.
,

on the floor Then I don t reme mber a


.


thing else unti l this bull pointin g to I ,

l ins has me in the horspital gettin fi

,
SI X S E CONDS OF DARKN ESS 87

up. Then he brings me here An that s .


’ ’

the truth S help me Gawd


Carroll nodded briefly .


Call Cartwright will you Rollins ? , ,

Rollins did as bidden and into Cart ,

wright s custody the prisoner was given


wi th explicit instructions not to allow him


to speak of the case to any one Then
Carroll excused hims elf called a young ,

g of his who wore the uniform f


'

p ro te é o

the force and this man he placed on special


,

duty before the concrete cell in which


Badger had been placed .


Under no circums tances he ordered , ,

is any o n e to be allowed to talk to th is


man . If he wants anything or insists on ,

seeing some one call me Understand


,
? .


No one Rollins or even the chief of po

lice I m in charge of the case Get it ?

. .

The young officer nodded .


I understand Mr Carroll He ll not
, . .

be allowed to talk to any one I ll stick .


right here .
88 SI X SECON DS OF DARKN ES S
Good ! I ll remember you And I n ’
.

trusting you You re not even to talk tc


.

him yourself If any one asks who is i1


.


here refuse to answer
, .

Carroll returned to the rest room Hal .

was sitting as Carroll had left him at th


, ,
«

big domino table Rollins slouched b .


:

the window staring at nothing F inal h


, .

he turned and addressed Hall


“ ’
That s all isn t it

Better ask Carroll Rollins , .


How about it Carroll ? ,
“ ’
I m afraid it isn t Rollins There
’ ’

, .

more to the case than you seem to kn ow .


It s Open and shut There s your tw

.

shots ; Hartigan popping at Hamilton at


Ham ilton at him They both hit an on .


of em croaks The man s story about th

.


fight and all that is a rotten lie thinner :

w ater My Gawd I don t see what els ’


. ,

you could want ! His story don t hold fo ’

a minute

Y e e e s I believe it does
- -
, What yo .
99 s rx SECONDS OF DARKNESS
There s no question that it was fired By

.

the way where did you fin d H artigan s


,

revolver ? D idn t you say it was in his



pocket ?
Rollins answered very slowly

Yes it was in his pocket I found it
, .


there.


I suppose he put it there after he shot
at H amilton He was quite conscious ; he
.

admitted that when he said he felt him


self getting weak and laid down gently so
they wouldn t hear him fall Yes he

.
,

must have shot Hamilton .

Rollins stared keenly at the other .


Sure he shot Hamilton ! What gets
,

me is this man and the girl giving them


selves up an saying they done it Who

.


are they ?

Hamilton s ward Miss E unice D uval

, ,

and a young artist named Harrelson .

Vincent Harrelson

Yes .
srx S ECONDS OF DARKNESS 9 1


Him and her is pretty good friends ,

ai n

t they ?

Yes why do you ask ?

Nothin only it strikes me that maybe

b (1th are
Hall broke in shortly

People don t usually go around trying

t o faste n the crime of murder on their own


l l e ads Rollins
,

.


NO 0
-

You re quite sure persisted C arroll

, ,

that you found that revolver in Harti



g an s

pocket ?
Rollins rose to his feet .


S ay what th hell you harping on that

f or ? O f course I found it in his pocket .

I t was there when I drug him from behi nd


t h e sc reen Thought he d croaked until I ’
.

s ee n he d only keeled over from loss of



b lood It was him that done it all right
.
, .


It looks that way But why the con .

f essions o f Miss D u v al an d H arrelson


9 2 SIX SECOND S OF DARKNES S
Rollins pondered deeply and then s ud ,

d en l y he smiled with the light of inspira


tion .

“ ”
Cinch !
How ?
There s most likely something between

.

them They was both there p rov idin ’

what Hartigan says is true Th ere was a .

lot of excitement The girl thinks the .

man done it an the man thinks the girl


did an each one is sayin that the o ther


,
’ ’

done it so s to save em You read about


’ ’
.


th at all the time .

Carroll thought deeply Then he .

brought his fis t down on the table with a


crash .


You re right Rollins ! You must be

right ! They all say that the lights went


ou t j ust when th e shooting took place and ,

both Miss D uval and Mr Harrelson think .

that the other did it So they both con .

fess I t S S imple I take my hat OE to


.

.

I ll confess f rankly that I never


y ou .
SI X SECOND S OF DARKNESS 93

would have thought of it I think you ve .



solved it .

Rollins flushed with pardonable pride .


Us regular bulls ain t the fools we re ’ ’


given credit for bein Mr Carroll he ’

, .
,

said respectfully glowing under the


, ,

other s praise

All you gotta do now is
.

tell em about Hartigan and you ll see em


’ ’ ’

withdraw their confessions so quick it ll


make your head swim Y s ee Mr Hall .


, .
,

there wasn t no need for having any one



else in on the case not that I m sore at ’

Mr Carroll here He s man enough to


. .


admit I got the goods right .

Carroll rose and extended his hand .

Rollins crushed it in a viselike grip .


You re all right Rollins I a dm it it

, .


cheerfully .


Thanks Mr Carroll An d there ain t
, . .

no hard f e e lin s over my bein sore at


’ ’


you ?

N ot a one I understand it perfectl y
. .

And n ow suppose you look after Hartigan .


94 SI X SEC ON DS OF DARKN ESS
I want to get things straightened up w ith
Mr Hall He s a personal friend of Miss
. .


D uval and he ll have to tell her himself
,

.


That s all right Good night gentle

.
,

men ! And Barrett Rollins chief of the ,

plain clothes s tafl bowed hims elf out


-
, .

For a while Carroll stared at the door


through which he had gone and then he ,

s ank into a chair and thrummed on the

table Hall leaned forward very much


.
,

puzzled .

“ ”
What s the idea ? he asked Y ou

.


certainl y don t think the case is finished ?

Carro ll laughed sharply .


Certainly not It s just begun .

.

O f cou rse it might be that Hartigan


killed Mr Hamilton and the two young
.


people confessed to save one ano ther .

“ ” “
It might be said Carroll Shortl y but
, ,

I m very much of the Opinion that it isn t


’ ’
.


You see Mr Hall you are completely
, .

o verloo king a certain Mr F rederick Bad .


g e r !
CHAPT E R VI

ALL Opened lips to speak his ,

closed them suddenly withou t


uttering a sound and then ,

r e peated the fishlik e motion Carroll .

l a ughed .


It is grim but it s funny he remarked
,

, .

“ ’

It s damnable ! Yes sir that s the , ,

W ord for it Here we have three people


.

c onfessing to a crime and a four th hedged

a bout with almost incontrovertible cir

c um s tan ti al evidence An d n ow my pet


.


t h eory is exploded .

“ ”
Which is ?
Was correcte d Hall that Badger

, ,

d id the fatal shooting .

“’
I m afraid Mr Hall said Carroll
, .
,

kindly that you are read y to fasten the
,

guilt on the one sus pect most likely to be


95
96 SI X SECOND S OF DARKN ESS

freed by a jury Undoubtedl y Badger is


.

demented I ve seen men wi th the same


.

look and the y were not men who were


,

mentally normal And now let me tell .

you what I have done so that you will play


your cards accordingly N0 one here ex .

cept you and I kn ow that Badger has con


fessed to the crime I want no one else to .


kno w it .


E unice D u val has been told .

Rollins must not be allowed to talk to

Very well .

What you say goes in
this case But why keep Rollins in the
.

dark ? D on t you belie ve his story abou t


H artigan

I believe everything and I believe
nothing N or have I drawn any definite
.

conclusions as yet I admit frankly that .

I am up in the air for a solution of the mys


te ry — as much as you are The girl tells .


a straight story such as it is Harrel .

s on s story is also straight an d one reas on



,
98 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

lips of top Sergeant Larry O Brien Ou ’


.

ders were left that no one was to be al


lowed to see the girl or Harrelson u ntil
Hall s return exception being made in the

case of Mr S amuel D enson E unice s law


.
,

yer As the two men turned toward the


.

d oor Barrett Rollins rose to greet the m


, .

“ ”
Going ? be queried idly .

Hall nodded .


I ll be back

.


An d you Carroll ? ,

The little detective smiled geniall y .


O h I m trotting along ! I m afraid
’ ’

you knocked my props from under with out



giving me a chance to prove my ab ility .

Rollins grinned .


Blarney ! Good night to you

Good night !
The doorkeeper saluted as they passed
out and Hall seated himself at the wheel
,

of his giant roadster ; Carroll curled up in


the deep upholstery beside him H all .

pressed the starter and the rhythmic h um


,
s rx SECONDS OF DARKN ESS 99

of the motor answered immediately ; and


th e car rolled smoothly and silently down

the tree lined avenue


- .

N ei ther man spoke Hall on his part


.
, ,

was busy driving and his thoughts were


,

too wildly chaotic to permit of coherent


reasoning But Carroll took advantage
.

of the sudden removal from the scene of


p o lice activities to catalog the events of
the night .

From a wide macadam roadway Hal l ,

braked his car suddenly and swung in


through a large tree studded lawn For
-
, .

the first t ime since leaving the police sta


tion Carroll spoke
,

This is the house ?

Yes .

S top a minute please , .

As the car came to a halt a man in civil


ian s garb detached himself from the shad

o ws and joined them Then he recog


.

ni z ed Hall and saluted punctiliousl y .


Mr Rollins has three of us detailed
.

5
Il oo SI X SECONDS OF DARKNESS

h ere to watch sir he explained
, , Tw .

outside an d one inside We re to keep re .



porters away .

Hall nodded .


That s right This is Mr D avid Car

. .

roll He s in charge of this case and is t


h ave the right of way You may pass th .


word to the other men on duty here .

The policeman strode away and the tW 1

men left the automobile and trod the sof


grass of the lawn .

To the right of the house there was


tennis court and to the left a lawn dotte : ,

with trees and bushes and extending m or ,


'

than two hundred yards to a brick wal


which dropped Sheer on the pavement .


Is this the only hous e on this side 0 ‘

” “
the street ? asked Carrol l I v e beer .


here before but I didn t notice details
,

.

“ ” “
Yes came the prompt answer
, Th . t

house stands about the middle and th ,


property covers the entire square bl ock



H amilton was a very rich man .
1 02 SIX SECONDS OF DARKN ES S
on al lyopposite the corner of the dining
room and living room .

Carroll paced the veranda slowly then ,

shook his head .


It s too dark out here Hall S uppose

, .

we go inside and look around .

Hal l led the way m ade his mis s ion


,

kn own to the policeman on duty inside ,

gave orders that they were not to be dis


turbed and closed the door of the livin g
,

room behind them .

“ ”
Where is the light ? questioned Car
roll with peculiar earnestness .

Hall scratched a match against his Shoe .

It flickered up quickly illuminating the ,

darkn ess wi th a ghastly glare and an ar


r ay of dancing shadows Then guided b y
.
,

its feeble light he walked unerringly


,

across the room His fin gers found th e


.

-
electric light switch pressed it and th e
, ,

room was bathed in light .

But Carroll was gaz ing only at the l ight


s witch .
-
It was the usual two button af
srx S ECONDS OF DARKN ESS 163

fair situ ated midway between an oak pan -

ell e d door and a large French window near

1
the corner of the room He questioned .

quietly :

That window leads to the veranda ?
Y es .

And the door ?



Into the dining room .


You are familiar with the hous e ?

Yes .


What lies beyond the dining room ?

The butler s pantry and the kitchen

on this side of the hous e if that is what ,



you mean .



Y es that s all I m interested in at
’ ’

present H ow far back does the veranda


.


run ?

To the end of the dining room .

H m m ! And didn t I notice a screen


protecting the corner of the veranda where ,

it j uts in

Yes It has onl y been up there s ince
.


the beginnin g of summer .
1 94 S1x SECONDS OF DARKN ES S

Good ! Carroll stared reflectiv e l y at
the little electric buttons a nd then al
,

lowed his eyes to rove about the walls .


Is there an y other electric switch in this

room ?


N o that is I am pretty sure there
,
’ ”
isn t .

Carroll acted wi thout speaking With .

meticulous care be searched the walls for


,

signs of another electric control button .

He found none Nor was there any elec


.

trol ier which might have furnished the

light Hall caught the trend of hi s inter


.

est and questioned him



S till harping on that s udden p e riod of

darkness ?
“ ”
Yes ans wered the detective briefly
, .

- —
It strikes me as rather e r peculiar .

Having satisfied hims elf that there was


no other electric switch in the room Car ,

roll walked to the middle and surveyed the


scene of the k illing .

The room was a large one an d ve ry


1 06 SIX S ECONDS OF DARKNESS
m ade his way A careful examination dis
.

c losed a bullet hole in the screen He rose .

and measured .


Just about high enough for a bullet
coming through to have hit Hartigan in the

wrist he observed
, This is quite evi .

d e n tl y the screen behind which Hartigan


was hidden The blood traces are still
.

here His story holds good as to those


.

features N ow let s see where Hamilton


.


fell .

They found the spot on the other side


o f the room near the library door care ,

fully marked out in chalk and identi fied


b y the bloodstains .


That tallies too said Hall , E spe , .

c ial l y with the S tories told by Hartigan

a nd Mr Harrelson . See the drawer of .


,

the centre table is open ; that s where both ’


m e n say the revolver came from .


If you will Mr Hall step behind that
, .
,

s creen and look at me as I S tand here See .


i f you can discern me through the screen .
SI X S ECONDS OF DARKNESS 16 7

Hall did as bidden and retu rned in a

minute .


I could see you but only faintly The
, .

screen is nearly opaque but the bright ,

light from the chandelier makes vision pos


sible here .


Could you see well enough to aim ac
curate l
y

Im not a good shot Try it yourself

. .

Carroll stepped behind the screen afte r


pla cing Hall in the spot where Hamilton
fell . He found that he could see the po
lice commissioner s figure as though in

silhouette yet clearly enough for him to


,

have shot through the screen with a more


than even chance of hitting his mark .

“ ”
An d he remarked half to hims elf
, , ,

as he cam e from behind the screen Doc ,

tor Robinson was convinced that the bullet

which killed Hamilton came from a dis


tan ce of twenty or twenty fiv e feet or
- -

m o re .

He con tinued his inspection of the room .


1 08 SIX SECON DS OF DARKNESS

I ts two pedestals with their burden s of


-
h andsome statu ary ; the well fil le d b ook
case s ; the three m assive portraits in oil

which decorated the tinted walls .

Then he crossed the room and ente red


the library Hall followed and snapped
.

on the switch near the door The room .


,

while not as handsomely furnished as th e


livin g room was none the less attractiv e
, ,

mah ogan y and dull green throughou t .

The walls from floor to ceiling were lin e d


, ,

with bookcases It was quite evident tha t


.

the array of books in the living r oom


merel y represented the overflow from th e
library The centre table in the library
.
,

while massive was di fferent from that in


,

the living room While the latter was an


.

ornamental table the former was strictly


,


utilitarian a reading table with bo ok
shelves built into the ends and a magazin e
rack for a base The chairs in the room
.

we re deeply upholstered the ornamenta ,

tion sparse b ut e ffective The room as .


,
1 10 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNES S
opened into the dining room a fourth into ,

the butler s pantry and a fifth into the
,

kitchen .

The construction of the house on th e


other side of the hall was very S imila r a l ,

though there was no veranda The p a r .

lour was opposite the library at the front o f


the house and behind it the billiard room
,

then the storeroom and behind tha ,


the sum mer kitchen Carroll question e t .

idly

Hamilton employed how many serv

ants ?


Three exclusive of Mrs Faber ; .

cook a maid for Miss E unice and a bu 1


, , .

ler .


What do you know about them ?

N othing much The cook has b eet
.

with Ham ilton for years The maid .

have seen here for two years at least Tb .

butler I believe is a newcomer of the la s



few weeks He s a stranger to me at an )
.
,

rate .
S I X SECONDS OF DARKNESS 111

“ ”
I d like to speak to the maid the de

,

te ctiv e announced I m still puzzle d ’
.

over that sudden darkness and the fact


that we know three revolvers were fire d
and yet the people concerned say that there
were only two shots It s pos s ible that .

one of the dome s tics can throw a little light


on that phase of the case Call Raff erty .

from the parlour will you ? ,

Hall was back in a minute with a big ,

strapping young policeman in tow He .

was introduced to Carroll as the man in


charge of the case .


You ve been here from the first Raf

,

f e rty ?

Yis sor , .

Have you searched the house ?


Yis sor ; with the help av Mrs Faber
, .
,

sor .


A thorough search ?
The officer flushed S lightly .


N ot pwhat ye might call a thorough
search sor There didn t seem to be
, .

1 12 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ES S

nothin special to l ook for an we just


,

looked in the rooms k ind of general like


- .

Chief Rollins bein in charge av the case ’

sor it seemed like all he wanted us to do


,

was to watch gine ral ly an leave the clos e ’


hunt to him for clues and suchlik e
things That bein the case sor an M rs
.

, ,

.

Faber bein in a hurr y an all excited u p


’ ’

,

we didn t go pokin around too close
’ ’
.


Very good And now I want to fin d
.

out something about the servants Where .


is the cook ?

She s gone for the night sor

M rs , . .


Faber said it was her night off .



Call the maid then it isn t her nigh t
,


OH is it ?
,

No sor that s pwh at made Mrs Fab e r
,

.


so mad sor , .


What is
“ ’
The maid isn t here sor , .

What do you mean isn t here ? ,



Jus t that sor Mrs Fab er said sh e
, . .

must have taken French leave She .


CHAPTE R VII

ARROLL slowly drew from


pocket a pipe and a sack of
bacco He filled the bowl 2
.

tamped it down ; then with a de libe rat


,

which played on Hall s nerves lighte r ’

and puffed a half dozen times .


E xplain it Raff erty ! he comman d
,

It s this way sor Whin Chief av


, .

te cti v e s Rollins gets out here he tt ,

phones back to headquarters for S erg


O B rie n to send out three men ImS
’ ’
.

out here at wanst with Officers Shorter


Weaver Whin we get here Rollins t ,

men is in the paytrol wagon outside ,

he tells us to watch two outside an t


,

inside an to allow no wan but the p ol


,

d ep artm in t to enter .


We ask him who is in the house an ,

s ays no wan e xcip t Mrs F aber the h Ol .


,

1 14
SI X S ECONDS OF DARKN ES S 1 15

keeper,an that she will soon be l avin for


’ ’


li headquarters him not sayin why ’

p ce , .

He says that it is the cook s night off an ’

,

Whin I ask him about the other servants he


sa s he knows nothing about thim ixci t
y p ,

that Mrs Faber has towl d him that they ve



.

d isappeared They probably heard the ‘


.

he says to me just like that an , ,


‘ ’

g ot scared an beat it Then he goes ’

a way in the p aytrol with the other fellers


a n I m left here
’ ’
.


After a time Mrs Faber comes down .

r eady to leave an I ask her is She sure the



,

h ouse is empty S he looks at me kinder .


funny an is afther sayin to me just like
,

,

this I don t know what to make of these

terrible doin s M is the r Hamilton is kilt ’


.


dead an the butler an the maid have dis

D isappeared ? I questions
’ ’
appeared .

.

Pwhat are ye afther meanin be that


‘ ’

m a am ? An she looks at me like I was


’ ’ ’

g oin to do her

hurt an says to m e just ,

like this I mane p what I say They ve ‘


.

11 16 SIX SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

gone Twas the cook s night out but the


.
’ ’

m aid and the butler should have bee n in


th eir rooms which same they ain t Oh

, .
,

dearie me I don t know pwhat to ma ke av


,

it ! And thin she went away sor in a


, ,

taxicab which She had called .


Them may not have been her ixact
worruds sor ; but it was about that way
, .

She looked terribly cut up an flus te re d



.

An that s all sor ; ixcip t that I took it to


’ ’

m e s i l f to search the house pretty thorough ,

an I don t be afther findin no wan An


’ ’ ’
.


that s all there is to it

.

Carroll nodded briefly .


Thanks Raff erty You ve done very
, .

well Just remain on duty with Weaver


.

and Shorter and carry out Chief Rollins ’

instructions You may go . .

He walked back into the living room


with Commi ssioner Hall at his heels .

The commi ssioner sank weakl y in to a


.

This investigation almost terrifies me ,


1 18 SIX SECONDS OF DARKN ESS
flatter me by having a pretty good Opin
ion of my ability as a detective Very .

well it follows logically from that prem


,

ise that if I told you what I suspected you


would lose your individuality of thought
-and that is the last thing in the world

I desire It m ight be that I am on the


.

wrong track altogether and that your


,

mind will strike the correct solution .

Talk it over with me as much as you like ,



but please don t ask me to tell you what I
think ; it would spoil you as a co worker
- .


But you do suspect something ? You
have formulated an idea as to who did the

k illing ?

To be quite honest I have not I
, .

started OE with an idea which for a long


,

tim e stubbornly refused to be dismissed


, ,

but circumstance has piled on circums tance


so that I am now almost convinced that my
first idea was absurd You see we re ’
.
,

working re v erse E nglish on this case in —


s tead of try ing to fasten the guil t on one of
SI X SECONDS OF DARKNESS 1 19

th r e e suspects we re trying to remove i t


,

fr o m two of them ; perhaps from all three


3)
an d

Meaning that you think Hartigan

m i g ht have done it ?


M ight hav e certainly He admits .

en o ugh to make that more than a pos sibil


ity and I am inclined to consider Harti
,

g n seriously because he is the one suspect


a ,

Wh o denies his guilt ”



And now he rose.

an d stretched himself—

it is after two

0 c lock Let s run back to headquarters

.

an d see if Mr D en s on has materialized


.
,

an d if he has anything to say An d if not .

N
a little sleep will be better for all of us .

Co me p :

AS the y started down the walk Hall ,

S oke
p

What do you intend to do next ?

That depends absolutely on circum
stances .If nothing changes my mind in
the meanwhile I shall sleep at he adquar
,

ters and tomorrow morning make a trip


1 20 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS


h ere with Badger alone ecretly I and s .

shall have Badger enact his s tory in tha t:

room Then I shall have him held and


.

bring Miss D uval Mr Harrelson and , .


,

Red Hartigan down and let them tell their


S tories separately I want you here with
.

me An d now
.

— he swung open the door
and leaped into the passenger s seat wh ile ’

Hall pressed the starter — “


let s make ’

speed .

The j ourney back to the police station


was made wi thout regard to traffic regu
l ations They shot down one street and
.

up another at more than thirty fiv e mil es


-

an hour and at length pulled up sharply


,

in the glare of the arc light over the portals


of the police building They entered .

headquarters Sergeant O Brien came


.

forward and touched his cap .


Mr D enson sir is waiting for Mr
.
, , .


Hall .
0

“ ”
Where ?
“ ’
In the men s rest room sir , .
1 22 S IX SECONDS OF DARKNES S
he was patently overwrought b y the events
of the night .


Mr Hall he said as he extended his
.
, ,

hand I can t tell you how glad I am that
,

you are here An d Mr Carroll . .

He paused interrogativel y .


Is in absolute charge of the case .


I m glad of that I k now it is in good

.


hands .

The two men shook hands and Hall ,

stared at them curiously .


I didn t k now that you knew one an


other D enson
, .

D enson nodded .


Carroll has been working for Hamilton
on that civic case Met him at Hamil .


ton s office two or three times

.



I see An d now D enson what ?
.
,

D enson looked first at one and then at


the o ther It was plain that he was a bit
.


afraid that he was weighing his words
carefully Carroll interpreted his silence
. .


I know you re wondering about Miss ’
S IX SECONDS OF DARKN ES S 1 23

D uval Mr D enson , Let me say righ t


. .

here that we k now everything that she has



to s ay e xcept the details I will also tell .

you everything else we kno w about the


cas e and he launched into a recital of
the confession of the girl the young artist ,

—Harrelson ; of Badger and of the cap ,

ture of Hartigan by Rollins ; of their visit


to the house and of the mysterious dis ap
,

p e ar an ce of both the maid and the butler .

“ ”
I m telling you all this he finished

, ,

because we wish to enlist your aid You .

were the lawyer of the dead man and


a re the attorney for Miss D uval his ,
3)


And for Vincent Harrelson .

“ '
h
I didn t know that ’
A -a- .


Yes the lad has been a sort of pro
,

te ge of mine which was one bone of con


'

tention between Mr Ham ilton and m v .


s elf .


Mr Ham ilton disliked him keenl y did
.
,

h e not ?
114 SI X SECOND S OF DARKNESS

The gazes of the two men clashed .


How far can I trust myself to tel l the

truth Carroll ?
,

This far : I have made you the third
person to poss e ss the full k nowledge of
the case That I have done it with a rea
.

s on goes without saying and basicall y that


,

reason is that we need your help to get at


the bottom of the matter Being a law yer
.
,

you know two things ; one that it would be


,

hard for an y jury to convict Miss D uval


of the crime if she says anything at all in

her own defence no matter how slightly
extenuating the circums tances might have
been Secondly if H arrels on s story is
.
,

true it was a clear case of self defence


,
- .

Therefore you see that if ei ther or both is


,

telling the truth all we have to do to clear


them is to fin d out which is which It is .

obvious that only one person k illed Ham


ilton and according to their stories either
, ,

will be cleared M ind you I am sayi ng


.
,
1 26 SI X SECONDS OF DARKNES S

board ; are you going to help Mr Hall at .

myself knowing that we re driving at t!


,

strict tru th or are you go ing to trust


,

your single wits to clear your clients wit


out help
Give me a minute Carroll T , .

lawyer rose and stepped to the win d o


For perhaps fiv e minutes he stood moti o
l ess Then he turned on his heel a:
came back to the table His hand we .


out and gripped Carroll s If you a! ’
.

Hall are no t on the level Carroll then , ,

one is In some cases a man has to tak e


.

Chance I m taking mine here and m



.

wi th you I prom ise to withh old nothi


.


-ho wever dam ning it may seem .


Good ! I expected as much Mr D e , .


s on .An d now let s sit down and talk t!
thing over In the first place you ha
.
,

never answered my question ; d id H am



ton dislike Harrelson very keenly ?
“ ”
Y es .


D id he hate him ?
S IX SECONDS OF DARKN ESS 1 27

Denso n flushed Slightly .


Mr Ham ilton was a man of powerful
.


p a ssions I believe
. he did .


An d you say that Harrelson was a pro
té é of yours ; what was his attitude to
g
w a rd Hamilton

He D enson broke off shortly .

D ammit all sir I m trusting you wi th a


, ,

g e at deal o f information ! However


r

W e ll Harrelson is an impulsive head


, ,

st r ong youth and he detes ted Mr Ham


, .

il t on .


Have you any theories as to the rea


Yes but the y are theories .


We would like to know them .


Vincent Harrelson is secretly engaged
to Miss D uval He had a wild idea that
.

Mr Ham ilton was 111 love wi th 11 6 1 11 1111


.


Se l f and wished to marry her
, .


I see An d now this : In your opin
.

10 11
, is Vincent Harrelson the type of
Yo ung man to have s houldered the bur
1 28 SIX S ECONDS OF DARKNESS

den of Miss D u v al s guilt provided he is



,

convinced that she is guilty of the k i l l



ing ?
D ens on pondered .


I believe he is but I am not su re The
, .

boy s one weakness is a lack of decision



.

I should say too that he has a selfish tra it


, , .

O n the o ther hand I would vo lunteer the


,

opinion that if he had really comm itted the


crime and k new that Miss D uval were s us

p e ct e d he would confess his guilt .


Good ! That s fine ! You have talk ed


with Miss D uval haven t you ? ,

“ ”
Yes .

D o you believe she shot Hamilton ?



I can t answer that really
’ ”
.

Please I assure you we are as anx


.

ious to clear Miss D uval as you can p os



s ib l y be .


I believe you are Well foolish as it .
,

may be forme to confess it I really be lieve ,

M iss D uval s hot Mr H .

There was a long silence punctu re d ,


1 36 s rx SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

Ask her whe ther she will not in view of ,

these new developments withdraw her ,

confession .

“ ”
Tha t s white ! said D enson simply

and left the room For the following ten


.

minutes Carroll smoked in silence And .

then the do or opened and D enson re en-

te re d. He looked harried and worn .

“ ”
Well ?

She said replied D enson slowly
, ,

that she doesn t care anything about Red


Hartigan or any one else She insists that


.


s he killed Mr Hamilton !
.
CHAPTER VIII

AR ROLL
did not rais e his eyes
from the table and Hall follow , ,

ing his lead remained s ilent , .

D enson still a bit shaken seated hims elf


, ,

again and a t length the s il e nce gre w too


,
“ ”
m uch for him W ell what about it ? he
.
,

r as ped .

Hall looked toward Carroll .

“ ”
What about it ? he echoed .

Carroll shoo k his head .


I don t know What Mr D enson

. .

tells me bears ou t my own theory to a



certain extent .


Which is
That Miss D uval re all y thinks she

k illed Hamilton .


But good God burst out D enson
, ,

querulousl y don t you suppose that a


,

pe rso n knows when he k ills another ?


13 3
1 31 srx SECONDS OF DARKN ES S

How can there be a doubt about a thing


li k e that ?

It was dark in that room expl ain ed ,

Carroll quietly for about six secon ds
, .

When we fin d out who turned off th e


lights and why we ll be closer to a so l u
,

.

tion Until then well there is one thin g ,

certain mo re than one person fired
, .


Yes ” said Hall three fired We
,

, .


have the three revolvers Mr Hamilto n s .

,

which both Miss D uval and Harrel s on


Claim to have used ; that of this man H ar

tigan and Badger s A ll are police t e


,

.


v ol v e rs .


That s a rather far fetched coin ci

-

dence isn t it ? questioned D enson
,

.


Y e e s but so is the triple shooti ng
- - .

I gave Hamilton his weapon some time


ago ; he had a ridiculous rusty old 3 2 , .

which I used to jo k e him about O ne d ay .

he j ocularly remarked that if I didn t like ’

it I could give him another and that s how ,


he happe ned to get a regulation rev ol v er .


1 34 s rx SECONDS OF DARKN ES S

That is only an idea probably absurd , .

My first theory may be the correct one .

But we ll take that up later Meanwhile



.
,

Mr D enson didn t I understand that you


.
,


visited Ham ilton tonight ?

Yes .


Why ?
The call was partly social and part
a business a air The business end of i
ff .
t

had to do with some affidavits I was ge t ?


ting for him in this Civic Leagu e work
And after what I saw there to night I an ?!
trebly unable to believe that Miss D uv al

Shot him .


There was no trouble b etween Mr .


Hamilton an d Mis s D uval tonight ?

N othing unusual She has never .

liked him What I m driving at is ’


Badger .


What about Badger ?
The truth of the story he tells Y ou .

see gentlemen I was there when Badg er


, ,

threatened to kill H amilton !
SI X SECO NDS OF DARKN ES S 1 35

-
Aah- Carroll leaned forward ea

g y
e r l You
. ha d n t menti o ned

that .


I ve been trying to sift things for m y

self ; trying to kn ow what facts to tell and


what to conceal N ow since I m telling
.
,

e verything — both helpful and detrimental


t o my clients — I may as well tell what hap

p ened when I visited there tonight .

“ ” “ ”
Y e s said Carroll please
- -
, , .


I had telephoned Mr Ham ilton that .

I was coming down with those affidavits


to talk things over with him Shortly .


after I got there and up to that time our

talk had been purely Social Miss D uval
cam e in She was in evening dress just
.
,

as She is now We rose and H am ilton


.
,

as ked her where she was going S he re .

plied that she was going out with Harrel


son Hamilton flushe d and reminded her
.

that he had forbidden Harrelson to the


house She flared up trying not to Show
.
,

it too much before me and said that she ,

was over twenty one years of age and


-
1 36 SIX SECOND S OF DARKN ESS

w ould not be dictated to Ham ilton re .


pli ed that he di dn t care to discuss the mat
ter but that he did not intend to have
,

Harrelson vis it the house nor allow her to


go out with him She swept out O f the
.

room furiously angry


, .


When S he h ad gone I asked Ham ilton ,

why he was so hard on the boy D enson .


,

he said quietly you cannot understan d


,

.


You may think it is o h any one of sev ,

eral things ! You look at Harrelson


through rose coloured glasses You like
- . ,

him for the very things I dislike in him .

He is i dealis tic and impractical H e .

m akes a pittance with his daubing and ,

will not work for a living Why should .

I stand by and see such a girl th row herself


away on that sort of man ? I don t like ’

him personally ; but if he was half a man I


wouldn t stand in their way But by

.
,

God and he slamm ed his fis t on the table


,

,

so long as he remains as worthless as he is
I ll keep him out Of this house no matter

,
1 38 SI X SECONDS OF DARKNES S
told D onaldson to let the man in The .


man was Badger .


You kno w something o f his past deal

ings with Badger as his lawyer ques
tion e d Carroll .


Yes It dates back fully fifteen years
. .

Badger I take it was one of those failures


, ,

who have squandered a life look ing for


sudden riches It seems that fifteen years
.

or so ago some one took him in with a s ale


of oil lands Badger sunk all his money
.


and he had several thousand dollars in
the purchase of these lands He came to .


Hamilton you know Ham ilton has al
ways had a weakn ess for listen ing to wild

cat schemes an d convinced him that he

Badger had sunk every dollar into the
scheme He wan ted money to develop
the land and Hamilton reasoned aga inst
, ,

my advice that if Badger believed in it


,

s ufficiently to put in all of his money ,

H amilton might take a chance .


SO Hamilton sent experts down to ih
SI X SECO ND S OF DARKNES S 1 39

v e s tigate They reported as I remember


.
,

it that there was oil in the land but that


, ,

there was small likelihood Of stri k ing suf

fici e n t of it to make drilling operations


worth while Against their advice and
.

against mine he sank about twenty thou


,

sand dollars in it A company was in .

corp orate d with Hamilton holding fif ty

one per cent of the stock and Badger forty


.

nin e per cent After spending all that.

mon ey and gettin g a lmost no oil Hamil ,

ton quit .


Badger meanwhile had seen visions
, ,

of millions I believe he was always half


.

cracked He insisted that Hamilton was


.

trying to wrest all the land from him be


fore work ing it ; ridiculous logic as it was ,

H amilton could never convince him that


the proposition was really a failure .

B adger has hounded the man for fifteen


years demanding back his land or his
,

m oney . And Hamilton gentlemen was , ,

scrupulous to a fault in business matters .


1 46 s rx SECON DS OF DARKN ESS

H e refused point blank - That was his .

way and he could not be blamed


, H e had .

invested twenty thousand dollars in the


s cheme A t any rate the idea that H am
.
,

i lton had ro bbed him of a fortune became


a monomania with Badger It has been .

g rowing worse and worse Hamilton has.

tried every method of pacifying him but ,

th e development Of the mania has been



s hown by Badger s increasingly ridiculous

d emands he recently had been insisting
that Hamilton pay him twenty five thou
-

sand dollars Absurd of course


'
, .


Until a couple of months ago H am il
ton has been indulgent has loaned the man
,

money which he knew would never b e ,

r eturned and has always granted him


,

a n audience But the man s wild eyed ’


.
-

vituperation got on h is nerves and for ,

s ome time he has refused to see him I .


can produce a dozen witnesses law ye rs ,


m ost of them to whom Badger has gon e
1 41 s rx S ECO NDS OF DARKN ESS

k in dly, rather sorry for the crazy old fel



low . You ll get yourself in trouble
‘ ’
.

Hamilton swung on me .

This is my aflai r D enson I ve


, .

S tood all I m going to stand from th is man



.

I m done with him



Then he called D on .

al d s on and Badger left — meekly enough


and without further threats When h e

had gone Hamilton laughed shortly


, .

He carried it too far tonight h e re


,

marked I m through with him An d


‘ ’ ’
. .

then we both put the incident as ide re cl“ ,

oning Badger a crazy man and one not to


be feared And that is all there is to m y
.

story I left a few minutes later before


.
,

Harrelson arrived I went to his b o ard .

ing house thinking to find him there an d


,

ask him not to go to Hamilton s home ’

But when I got there he had gone and I ,

forgot the whole thing until I heard the:


ne ws Of Hamilton s death and the requ es t: ’

that I come to see Miss D uval at the sta



tion here .
SIX S ECONDS OF DARKN ESS ~
1 43

was a minute of silence And


T h ere .

th e n Hall broke it :

That story tallies perfectly with Badg

Yes agreed Carroll
, Almost too.

w e ll The farther we get into the case the


.

m o re convinced we become that th ree of


o u r four possibilities k illed Hamilton — it
i s certain that the story of either Miss D u
v a l or this chap Harrelson is untrue We .

k now that only one of them actually did



i t
.

There came a discreet rap at the door ,

a n d in response to Hall s response S e r


geant Larry O B rien entered In his



.

hands he carried copies of the two morning


newspapers .


I was afther thinkin ye d loike to see
’ ’

p w h at the papers have to say about the



murder sors He extended the dailies to
, .

Hall .


Thanks Larry , .

The men grouped about the table and


1 44 SI X SECONDS OF DAR KN ESS

Hall spread the N ews face upward Se v .

e n column headlines screamed th e news of


-

the sensational murder in forty eight point


- -

type They glanced th rough the article


.

s wiftly and Carroll smiled .


Barrett Rollins engineered the report
e rs cleverly he remarked after glancing
, ,

at the other paper Not a word about
.


e i ther Miss D uval or Mr Harrelson . .


He turned to O Brien ’
D id Chief Rol
.

lins leave any instructions regarding the


n e ws to be given to reporters he asked .


S ure an he did sor He said that no

, .

wan on the force was to say a worru d about


Miss D uval or the young gin tlem an sor , .

T hough tis my Opinion that twill leak o u t


’ ’


and be in the avenin papers tom orry

.


How about your docket ? Aren t th e i r ’


nam es entered here ?

Only H artigan s sor The others

.
,

have been kept on private memorandum .


Good ! Keep it mum as long as y ou
c an .
1 46 SI X SECOND S OF DARKNES S

And I remarked Hall , will remain
with you .


I ll go home said D enson with the

, ,

express understanding th at I m to be called ’


if needed .

“ ”
Good ! They rose and shook hands .

AS they started toward the door it opened


and Larry O B rien poked his head in

.


Beg pardon sors but Red Hartigan is
, ,

begging hard to see Mr Hall He says he . .


has a confession to make .

Hall turned away abruptly D enson .

stared in petri fied amazement O nly Car .

ro ll retained his facial composure and or


dered the man brought in .

“ ”
Good Lord ! gasped Hall Is it pos .

sible that this man too is about to tell us


, ,

that he murdered Hamilton ?
“ ”
I hope so said D enson briefly
, .


like to believe that he did it .

Hartigan was brought before them and


O B rie n dismissed with orders to wait just

outside the door and to allow no one to


,
SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS 1 47

e
en t r The m an s face was set with the ’

p a i n of his injured wrist and he stared at ,

th e trio de fiantly .


I d like to spill this to you two he said

si g n i ficantly He was plainly nonplussed


.

at D e n s on s presence Carroll reassured



.


You wanted to tell us

I been think in it over said Hartigan ’

, ,

an it struck me that I m in a pretty bad ’

wa y in this mess I didn t kill the 01 duck ’ ’


.

- s o help me ! —
I didn t an I gets to ’ ’

th i n k in to m e s e l f that if you was to fin d


o u t I lied about so m e th in you d think I


’ ’

li e d about the whole thing so I ve come to ,



m ake a clean breast .


You mean you killed Ham ilton ?
burst out Hall .


N a a ! I don t mean nothin of the
-
’ ’

kind Th e sto ry I told you was true 5


.

far s it went But there was on e thing I



.

didn t mention

He paused
. .

“ ”
Which was ? prompted Carroll .
1 4s SI X SECONDS OF D ARKNES S

You remember continued the big


,

man that I told you the lights went off
,

just before I was shot ?


“ ”
Yes .


Well what I didn t tell you was this


I m the man that turned them of !

1 50 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNES S
ing his poise and clipping Off his words in
cis i v e l y he swung o n Hartigan
, .

“ ” “
Hartigan he said you are confess
, ,

e d l y a crook and a liar Are you telling .

the truth now or did some one get to you?


,

The big man was plainly puzzled .


Get to me ? How could any one do
that ? Ain t I been under guard huh?

,

What I m tellin you now is the Gawd s
’ ’

tru th ; you can t ake it or leave it but all ,

the clever p ros ecutin attone ys in the world ’


can t shake my story now because it s
’ ’

true .


Tell us about it .

It s just like I told you afore I was



.

making a get away with the boodle an d I


-
,

come into the room from the dinin room ’

where I d copped some silver for good


measure The room was all lit up an ,


thinki n I heard the sound of a scrap in the


next room I hopped behin d the screen


, .

It was pretty dark back there an I k nowed ,



they d never spot me an I could see s orter

,
SI X S ECONDS OF DARKNES S 151

hazy l ik e through— the light bein on that ’

side .


Then I was sure there was men quar
rellin an all of a s u dd int a girl comes

,

f rom behind the p or tié re s over the big win


der on the other side of the doo r leadin to ’


the porch the one leadin to the next room

— opens an the big guy an the little feller


’ ’

come out fightin , The little man makes ’

a grab for a paper weight or s om e thin an ’

,

the big feller gets it away That s where .


I begin to think it s a swell chancs t for me ’

to m ake my get away while everything s


- ’

excitement O f course I ve spotted the


.


switch right near the screen s o I says to
m e s e l f why not switch em all off make a

, ,

break through the winder behi nd me which ,

is half open an beat i t ? They don t ,


’ ’

know I m there y s ee an they d never sus


,

,
’ ’

p e ct nothin A n my pal s’
w ai
. tin in the ’ ’ ’

rden yonder an h o her feller i goin ’ ’ ’

g a t t s,

o u t the front door ; two of us b avin been


w orkin inside an one ou tside


’ ’
.
1 51 SI X S ECONDS OF DARKNESS
I keep me eyes Sharp on the scrap an ,

,

believe me they re goin to it ! Just as I


,
’ ’

reach out for the switch I see the little fel


ler grab a gun outa th table drawer an th ’

,
’ ’

big man knocks it outa his hand They all .

make a dive for it big feller little feller , , ,


’ ’

an th girl I snap off the light flooie !.

just like that .


Just then there s two shots ; where ’

from I don t know I feel this pain hot


,

.
,

an bu rn in like in my hand an I know a


’ ’

, ,

bullet s got me But I know that there



.

w asn t no one shootin at me Then I get


’ ’
.

sick all of a sudden an I know I m gonna ,


’ ’

fall Well I thinks if I fall down they ll


.
, ,

come over to switch on th lights an they ll ’

,
’ ’

spot me So I reaches over snaps em on


.
,

again an lays m e s el f down N ext I


,

.

kn ow Rollins has me in the horsp i tal



An .


that s all

.


N o that s not all,

.

“ ”
S help me it is

.
,

Listen to common sense Hartigan , .


1 54 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS
That s all ; you can go back to your

cell .

Hartigan started forward .


I want you to b l ie v e what I tol ye ’ ’
,

boss It s the honest t Gawd truth


.
- -
’ ’

and

I ve doubted th e truth from lips of bet

a


ter men than you Hartigan He opened , . ,


the door O B rie n !

.

Yis sor The head of the sergeant


, .

appeared as though by magic .

Take this man back to his cell and s ee



to it that he talks to no one except of ,


course Chief Rollins , .


About reporters sor ? ,

Not a word is to be said to any one of
them We ll give them the story in time
.

.

And when you re relieved in the mo rning ’


tell Ryall he s day sergeant isn t he ? ” ’

,


Yis sor he is , , .

What you know of the cas e ; and give


h im the same orders I ve given you

.


That s all ’
.
SI X SECOND S OF DARKNESS 1 55

A t the door Hartigan turned , .


I ain t used to you fancy bulls he shot

,

v indictively at Carroll A reg lar one .

w ould know when I was tellin the truth



.



I v e said all I got to say an be damned


t o you !

The door closed behind sergeant and


P risoner It was
. D enson who questioned
C a rroll first .


D O you believe his story ?
As much as I believe any story I have
l reard so far But it is a dangerous thing
.

t o believe the word of that type of man .

T hey re uncannily clever at Simulation of


i nnocence and he knowing nothing else of


, ,

t he case feels that his neck is in a noose


, .

A n d he s liable to think up a mighty clever



s tory .


And you mustn t forget reminded ’

,

H all that a revolver wi th one chamber
, ,

e xploded was found in his coat pocket


, .

Denson shook his head .

“ ’
The whole thing is beyond me I d .
1 56 s rx SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

be tter be going home Rem embe r you .


,

g entlemen have both promised to tele


phone m e if there are any new develop

ments .

T hey saw him out and then retu rned to


,

the rest room where they had two regula


,

tion iron cots brought do wn and made up .

They left instructions with O B ri e n that


they were to be called on the slightest


provocation and gradually they dropped
,

off to sleep .

Hall was the first to wake F o r a min .

ute he stared blinkingly at his unusual sur


roundings and then slowly recollection
, , ,

o f the kaleidoscopic happenings of the

pre vious night returned to his mind In .

the cold sober light of early morning


, ,

the events following Ham ilton s killing ’

seemed like a horrible nightmare from


which one must waken Slowly .

He lay on his cot and stared at the s om


bre ceiling o f the headquarters rest room ’
.

Once he heard some one try the k nob an d


1 58 s rx S ECONDS OF DARKNESS
was incomprehensible that the smoo th ,

S lender boyish face on the cot beside his


,

belonged to one of the best detectives in


the country ; a man gentle of manner and

modest of demeanour ; fair to a fault and ,

with a code Of honour as rigid and un s hak


able as the Rock of Gibraltar ; a man who
faced the worst risks cheerful ly and
quietly ; who in the midst of excitement
, ,

kept his head where Others lost theirs


weighing always w eighing fact and cir
, ,

cum s tan ce pe rson and personality


, .

Carroll smiled gently in his sleep ; hi s


face that of a dreamer rather ascetic in the,

rigidity of some lines and poetic in the


so ftness of o the rs Yet that was the m an
.

who with some the night before had been


, , ,

austere comm anding domineering al


, ,

most ; with others patient to a degree tact ,

ful retiring
, .

O f a sudden Carroll was awake He .

rubbed his knuckles into his eyes sat up in ,

bed and smiled cheerily at Hall F rom


, .
SI X SECOND S OF DARKNES S 1 59

th e instant that his lids popped open there


w as n o hint of bewilderment in his man
ner ; rather there was an almost uncanny
,

ri ghting of himself to surroundings .

“ ”
How do you do it ? asked Hall .


What ?

Remember it all ou the instant ?

It s my profession answered Carroll

s imp l y .

He leaped nimbly from the bed slipped ,

t he length O f the rest room where he ,

c racked open a door took a careful survey


, ,

a n d motioned Hall to follow him into the

sho w er room The police commissioner


.

satis fied himself with a warm spray but ,

“ ”
Carroll ignored the handle marked Hot
and stepped under the icy cascade with a
grunt of satisfaction .

His skin glowed pinkly in the morning


light and the easy writhing play of his
,
-

muscles under the s atiny flesh gave an im


.

pression of physical strength which his


cl othes hid completely And finally they .
1 60 SIX SECONDS OF DARKN ES S
were dressed and munching a coarse bre ak
fast served them by the barracks chef ’
.

T hat fin ished they lighted ciga rs and


,

seated themselves in the rest room Car .

roll came straight to the point :


Three of the best detectives I k now
will be here this morning to help me O ne .

of them will be placed in charge of Miss


D uval one of Harrelson and one Of
, ,

Badger Hartigan I will leave to the ten


.

der mercies of the police department .


Hello D enson you re early !
,
” ’

D enson Shook hands briefly .


D idn t know I had nerves

he ,


grunted but last night made things seem
,

.

creepy Couldn t sleep worse luck ’
.

Took a cold dip and came on down Any .

thing new

N othing Have you had breakfas t ?
.

Coffee and rolls ; didn t want anythin g ’


else What s first on the program ?

“ ”
To the house with Badger Carroll .
1 62
. SIX SECONDS OF DARKNES S
against the back door of headquarters and ,

within fiv e minutes the car containing ,

Carroll Roberts Badger Hall and D en


, , , ,

son was speeding w ith top up and cur


, ,

tains drawn toward Hamilton s home


,

.

Immediately on his arrival Carroll sum ,

m on e d the three policemen who had main


tain e d the night vigil at the house In .

response to his query as to their physical


condition they confessed that they had di
,

v i de d the night into three watche s two ,

S leeping at a tim e so that th e y felt fairly


,

fresh Carroll stationed the trio at the


.

two entrances to the ground with strict or


ders that n o one ev e n from the poli ce de
,

p ar tm e n t w as to b
, e admitt e d without first

summoning him Then the car purred .

into the spacious ground s b e au tiful now ,

in the bright sun of a cl e ar summer day , .

It stopped unde r the shadow of a spread


ing elm and the pas s engers alighted
,
.

Badger small insigni ficant looking


, , ,

and a bit frightened at the secrecy which


SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS 1 63

had ens hrouded their movements glanced ,

about apprehensively Carroll spoke .

with him :

You still stick to your story of last
night Mr Badger ?
, .

The little man looked at him out o f his


meek mild inquiring blue eyes
, , .


Why yes ; why Shouldn t I ? It s
,
’ ’


true .


I thought perhaps you d like to retract ’

your confession

N o o That wouldn t be an y use
- .

,

would it ?
The man was pitiful ; the watchers felt
a profound sympathy for him That such
a meek man Should have been inspired to

deliberate murder ir was unbelievable
that he was not mentally deficient .


We re going to do what we can for you

Mr Badger said Carroll k indly


.

,

Of .

course I can promise yo u nothing ; if you

are guilty you must su ff er ,But above .


,

al l you must be honest


, What I want .
1 64 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

you to do now is to enact


scene last
re - the

night from the time you entered the


grounds until you left them Here ”
— he .

thrust into the little wizened hands an


empty revolver the very one Badger had
,

used the previous night — “


o right hea d
g a ,

j ust as you did last night .

Badger gazed appealingly from One to


the other .

“ ”
Wh at s the use of it ? he questioned


vaguely Haven t I told you I k illed
.


him ?

Yes said Carroll gently but we are
, ,

rather puzzled about the case There are .

three punishm ents for killing a man ; the


crime may be murder it may be man ,

slaughter or it may be plain homicide


,

and the latter may be j usti fiable We .

will watch you Yo u ll do it won t


.
’ ’


you ?

Y es agreed the little old man tim
,

idl y I ll do it but I don t see what it s
,

,
’ ’

all about .
1 66 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS

When I got to here he expla ined I
, ,

got down on my hands an d knees s o — ”


.

Thereafter he acted wi thout speaking .

Slowly and quietly he crawled toward the


rear Of the house pausing every minute or
,

two to glance cautiously about The re .

volver he had thrust into the pocket of his


Shiny old coat The balmy breeze of the
.

early mornin g ruflle d the silky strands of


snowy hair about his temples O nl y the .

now bitter expression Of his face was there


to give plausibility to the fact that he was
re enacting a murder
- .

He approached the southeast corner of


the house flattened him S l against the
,

wall and slipped quietly toward the south


,

ern side where the long veranda spanned


,

the length Of the residence Keeping in .

what must have been a dense shadow at


night he edged around the corner and
, , ,

wi thout relaxing his vigilance made his ,

way past the kitchen and the butler s pan ’

try t oward the flight of steps leading to the


SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS 1 67

v eran da at the place where the house


j utted in the space between dining room
,

and living room .

A rriving at the steps he dropped to all,

fours and crawled up one by one Car , .

roll noticed that the screen at the corner


of th e veranda would have efl e ctual l y shut
Ofl a view of him from any one who might

have been in the garden Followed by his .

breathless audience the Ol d man crept


,

across the veranda pausing long enough to


,

pull the revolver from his pocket A t the .

b ig F rench window which faced east to —



ward th e rear of the house he began talk
in g low and sibilantly :
,


I came up just like this s o I no .

ticed that the re was a light in the room .

I moved up to the window and looked in .


I saw a girl M r Ham ilton s girl I think
.

it was I was afraid she would see me SO


.
,

I moved away I waited in the shadow of


.

the screen there ; then I heard the sounds

of a quarrel . I slipped back to the win


1 68 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNES S

dow being careful to stand in the shadow


,

s o that Hamilton would not see me an d

run away I wanted to kill him


. .

E very once in a while I could see the


girl and then I saw him fighting with an
,

other man
“ ”
Him ?

Mr Hamilton I couldn t see v ery
. .

plainly because that screen you see th e re


cut ofl a part of my view I didn t w ant .

to shoot Hamilton while the young m an


was fighting with him because I didn t
,

want to kill anybody but H am ilton .

Then all of a sudden he rushed away from


the man he was fighting with and tore o p en

the drawer of that table yonder Badg .

er s voice rose shrilly ; he was working him


self into a state o f intense excitement


his little figure quivered with emotion .


He opened the drawer and pulled ou t a
revolver I thought that he s aw me SO
.
-

I raised the revolver like th is ”


— he lifted
the we apon S till clutching it in bo th
,
1 70 SI X SECONDS OF DARKNESS

n ow that I kn ew he was dead ! His eyes

were flaming vindictively And I won t .


say I m sorry because I m not I Was
,

.

scared at first awful ; the gun made a big


noise and it frightened me And there
, .

were other people in the room and I ,

thought th ey d catch me and hold me and


I wanted to give myself up so that every


o n e would know the truth — would k now
that Hamilton s death had been the hand

O f j ustice— that s it the han d of j ustice


, .

T his hand here see — He extended a


s kinny paw that trembled as though w ith

p alsy .


Think carefully Mr Badger ; did you , .


hear another shot just after the lights

went on again ?

Badger passed a weak hand across his


f orehead Under Carroll s soothing ex ’
.

amination he was recovering from the


,

frenzy Of passion which had gripped him


a mome nt S ince .
SIX S ECONDS OF DARKNES S 1 71


Ano ther hot ? k now

s I don t that I

Are you sure that you did not?

NO I m not sure about anything
,

I .

w asn t thinkin g about anything much ex


c ept be ing glad that I d killed Hamilton



.

I told him I was going to do it and after I ,

s a w him falling I ran away And I ain t .


s o rry for it either ; I ain t go ing to say that


,


if you h ang me I m glad I killed him .

.


S h s h ! D on t get yourself worked
- ’
-

— — ’
I I can t help it when I thin k of
th at man— and what he did to me You .

s e e I ain t been very well for a long time


, .

I have headaches and s uch and I don t ,


th ink O f man y things at a time And .


,

w ith quaint digni ty I guess that s all ’

, ,

a in t it gentlemen ?

Carroll nodded .


Yes that s all Mr Badger Rob
,

, . .


e rts !
1 71 s rx SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

The young detective s tepped fo rw ard .

“ ”
Yes sir ?
,

Tak e Mr Badger to the automobile;


.

an d be sure that no one s ees him We ll ’


.


join you in a minute .

“ ”
Very well s ir , .

He touched Badger gently on the shoul


der and they walked together ; the big ,

broad shouldered young detective in the


-

prime of a perfect life and the wi z ened lit


tle old man long past the heyday of his .

Hall swore sharpl y .


If he killed him or not he b rok e out ,

v iolently he ought to get Ofl The O ld
,

m an is daffy ; cra zy as a loon ! If I e v er


in my life saw a victim of a homicidal
mania he is it ; don t you thin k so D en
,

.


son ?
D enson nodded slowly .

“ ”
I believe I do And you Carroll ?
.
,

Instead of answering Carroll stepped ,

through the opened French window into


the room and moved to his right until he
CHAPT ER X

LL tell

you why I think Hartigan was

shot by Badger continued Carroll ,

evenly You yourselves saw the
.

man re enact his part in last night s trag


- ’

edy I for one am anything but gullible


.
, , ,

and I say frankly that I believe the m an



was telling the truth .


And I said D enson
, .

“ ”
Me too agreed Hall
, , .

SO far so good You also noticed that .

he handled his revolver with two hands .

He is physically weak and puny F rom .

the very way he handled the gun it was


self evident that he is not used to firearms
- .

Why then suppose that his aim was so


, ,

deadly accurate that he hit his target even


i n the dark ? Revolver shooting is a d iffi
cult art at best and it would be stretchi n g
,

1 74
S IX SECONDS OF DARKNESS 1 75

one s credulity to believe that he hit the


m an he was firing at especially as Harti
,

— —
gan so he Says had meanwhile snapped
Ofl the lights .


But it is certain that he fired Where .
,

then , did his bullet go ? Here He .

took his stand on the spot where Badger


had stood and clutched the revolver in two

hands waving it as Badger had done
, If .

Harrelson and Hamilton had come


through that door yonder they would hav e
been visible beyond the left side of the
screen Badger already had his trigger
.


back probably his gun fired and the bul ,

let struck Hartigan You can see the bul


.

let hole beyond in the screen just at the ,

height of H artigan s wrist and I am pretty


w ell convinced after examining it again


,

i n the light Of Badger s story that the bul


let which went through that screen was



h eaded into the room not toward the

wall What do you think Mr Hall ?
.
, .



I think you re dead right and in so

1 76 SIX SECONDS OF DARKN ESS
far as that little Ol d m an is concerned I m ’


glad .


And you D enson
,

The lawyer pulled a wry face .


Since I have agreed to be honest I m u st ,


adm it that I agree with you much as I
hate to .


Why ?

With Badger eliminated the burden ,

of gu ilt is thrown on one of my two



clients Miss D uval or Mr Harrel .

son.


You forgot Hartigan suggested Car
,


George ! Hall broke out
By I h ad .

forgotten Hartigan ! We ve proved his ’

story true up to the present ; but still h e , ,

might have shot Hamilton and thought


that Hamilton shot him .

“ ” “
He m ight yes agreed Carroll
, , B ut .

one fact stands out with puzzling Sign ifi



cance ir is agreed that no Shot was fire d
before the lights wen t out and it is a v ir
,
1 78 SI X SECOND S OF DARKNES S

Mean ing ? interj ected D enson e ng
erly .


That of our four choices three are mis
, ,


taken either deliberately or through cir
cum s tan ce s Remember this case reeks
.
,

with the unusual ; we have one o f the most


prominent men in the city murdered in his

own S tudy and immediately following
th e murder the confessions of his ward a ,

society belle ; a young artist and a half ,

crazy Ol d man Then the head of our


.

regular detective force brings in a burglar


so tightly hemmed around with a net of
circumstantial evidence that he wouldn t ’

have a breathing chance before a j ury .


A doctor s investigation proves beyond

peradventure of a doubt that the man was


Shot only once And while every one
.

present admits that three shots might have



been fire d the likelihood is that there
were only two ; one fired in the dark and ,

the other immediately after the lights were



snapped on .
SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS 1 79

You re wrong said D enson earnestly


, .

You yourself admitted that what seemed


to be the echo Of the first Shot in the dark

m ight have been a second shot .


N o I don t forget that I ll even go SO
,

.

far as to admit that two shots were fired in


th e dark .But this much I will say I have ,

b een trying to fin d out who fired the Sho t:


w hich came after the lights went on again .

I am strongly convinced that that is the



s hot which killed Mr Hamilton . .

“ ”

I d like to believe you said D enson , ,
“ ”
b ut I can t

.


Why ?

The stories all tally that Hamilton was
S inking to the floor when the lights were

s napped on .


True enough ; but isn t it likely that a

m an who has always led a sedentary life ,

and then is suddenly gripped in a deadly


fight with another m an should be some ,

what surprised when at the climax the


lights are suddenly extinguished two shots ,
1 80 SI X SECON DS OF DARKN ESS

-
o r one — fire d and then the room s ud
,

d en ly bathed in light again ? Imagine


(

yourself in that predicament ; can t you ’


visualize the scen e the surcharged tense
ness o f it the fierce emotional strain
, ,

your dazed attitude when the lights went


on And then the shot and you sink to
.
,

the floor O f course it would look as


.

though you had been shot while the lights



were out .



Then why not Hartigan in despera
tion pursued D enson doggedly .


You re a good lawyer Mr D en son

, . .

But you seem to forget that Hartigan was


shot in the right wrist You see you are .
,


givin g yourself away you are try in g to
prove that Hartigan did it when you your

self are convinced that he did not .

D enson flushed .


Touche ! As a matter of fact I am con ,

v in ce d that either Miss D uval or Mr H ar .

t elson did it But I agree with you that


.


Badger did not his bullet went so m e
1 82 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS
I am not that sort of a character My .

method is simple ; I am merely marshal l ing


before me all the facts of the case down to ,

the minutest detail I am trying to weigh


.

each in the balance and give each the atten


tion that it appears to deserve When I .

feel confident that I have all the facts be


fore m e I will then try to decide who
,

really did the killing and how But , .

please please do me the favour of ridding


,

yourselves of the idea that I am a fiction


detective holding back in my mind the
nam e o f the person who really did it I .

as sure you that I am as much up in the air

as you are .


That all sounds good Carroll said, ,

Hal l but you admitted not so long ago
,

that you had started out with pretty well



f ormed s uspicions .

“ ”
I did said Carroll quietly and they
, ,

were all knocked into a cocked hat by later


developments An d I prefer not to tell
.
SI X SECO NDS OF DARKNESS 1 83

my suspicions to you There are a good


.

many things in thi s case I cannot make



head or tail of which is the reason I do
not want to tell you what I originally
thought . I want you to review the case

for yourselves open mindedly and then
-
,

let me kn ow honestly what your conclu


s ions are You stand as much chance if
.
,

n o t more of hitting the correct solution


, .


I can promise you this we shall know
s omething before very long and in the
,

m eanwhile I want to get Mr D en s on s con



.

s ent to a little plan of mine .

“ ”
Which is ? asked the lawyer .


To return to headquarters confront
,

Vincent Harrelson with Miss D uval


w ithout telling either anything about the
O ther — and then deliberately listen .


H ow about it ?
D enson Shook his head slowly .

“ ’

I m afraid that s not playing the game

s quarely .
1 84 SI X SECOND S OF DARKNES S
Do you want the truth of the m atter ,

D enson That is a quick way of learning



where they stand .

D enson paced slowly up and down the


veranda What Carroll said was true ;
.

neither E unice nor Vincent Harrelson


k new that the other had confessed Sud .

d e nl y confronted with one another they ,

might be startled 1 nto speaking the truth .

D enson whirled and nodded .


Ano ther damn fool proceedin g on my
-

part Carroll but you can have your w ay
, , .


Great ! I assure you Mr D enson , .
,

you are doing a sensible thing N ow .


back to headquarters .

In a short time they were back at the


police station and Badger was left in his
private cell in the company of Roberts ,

Carroll s man

.

Carroll arranged things with expedition .

Johnson and Smith two of C arroll s men


,

were instructed about bringing E unice and


1 86 SIX SECON DS OF DARKNESS

at first that Carroll had not entirely


dropped the case but the outside detective
,

placated him .


You see Rollins I don t like to drop
, ,

the case until it is absolutely cleared up


and while circumstantial evidence does
,

undoubtedly po int to Red Hartigan we ,

have two other self confessed suspects who


-

must be cleared be fore we can clos e up the


record Isn t that so
.


Y e e s ; but as soon as they kn o w
- -

about Hartigan

E xactly beamed Carroll na 1 vely and
, ,

then nodded to his two men Rollins .

scowled momentarily .


That s another thing I don t like he
’ ’

asserted none too pleasantly “


Wh y v e .

you got your men on the job here ins tead of



the reg l ars ?


A little idiosyncrasy of mine Rollins , .

However I ll trot em away soon enough


,
’ ’
.

Now let s keep silent all of us From


, .

this room here we can see something and


SIX SECONDS OF DARKNES S 1 87

h ea r everythi ng . N ot a soul is to say a



w ord .

A silence fell on them as they stood ,

g r ouped in the dressing room between the


,

r e st room and the showers Their expres .

s ions a fforded a study for a facial artist .

D enson plainly betrayed his keen personal


i n terest and his fear that he had done the
w rong thing in consenting to the forthcom
i n g meeting ; Hall was figuratively on his
t o es wi th interest part personal and part
,

i m personal ; Rollins was sullen and rather


i l l at ease ; Carroll placid and smiling be
n ign l y .

The door opened and Vincent Harrel


s on entered the rest room Smith left him.

w ith a word and Harrelson stared curi


,

o us ly about plainly at a loss for an ex


,

p lanation A n d then
. a f e w seconds later
, ,

i n came E unice D uval The officer in .

Charge of her left the pair alone ; the door

c losed and they faced each other


, .

The surpris e visible on the face of each


1 88 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNES S

c ould not have been simulated ; even the


chronically doubting Rollins knew that it
was real For perhaps fiv e seconds the
.

young couple stared at one another and ,

then they did the perfectly natural and


normal thing for two young people who are
very much in love They swept together ,

and Vincent took the girl in his arms and


k issed hungrily Then he let her lean
.

back in his arms and stared into her eyes .

“ ”
It s good to see you sweetheart he

, ,

said softly But how in the world did
.

you know I was here ? The papers




haven t a word about me at least that s ,


what Smith said .

A puzzled look flashed into her eyes .


They didn t tell me you were here

,

Vincent They simply said that there was


s ome one to see me and then brought m e
,
3,
ln .


Brought you
in ?


Why yes certainl y
, .

H e shook his head .


1 96 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS
“ ”
What has that to do with it ? she said

doggedly I ve told them I did it
.

“ ” “
And so have I he flashed ,D O you .

suppose for one minute that I would have



allowed that sacri fice on your part ?
The words were pouring torrentially from

his lips D o you suppose that I will al
.

low your name to be dragged through the


mire because bless you you think that you
, ,

will be absolved by a jury while I would be


convicted ? GO tell them dear that you , ,

didn t I ll get off never fear I shot



.

, .


him in self defence
- .

“ ”
Vincent ! Her arms went up about
his neck and her eyes bored straight into

h is
. You mustn t do this thing ; it is’

wonderful of you just what I would have,



expected but you cannot ; you must not
,
.

He laughed shortly .


My dear little girl it wouldn t take ,

them very long to find out that you did not


shoot Mr Hamilton And then they d
. .

fin d out about my quarrel with him and


SI X SECO NDS OF DARKN ESS 1 91

get me My self defence plea would


.
-

amount to nothing then wo uld it ? I , ,



thought I d better face the music ; had bet
ter take my medicine right He did at .

tack me and it was he who pulled the re


,

volver from the drawer If there is such .


a thing as justice in the courts and I be

lieve that there is I will be let Off ”
.

Very suddenly th e girl seated herself .

Her eyes were misty .


Kiss me Vincent , .

He did as bidden and then she con ,

tin u e d

N ow sit down please ; I want to argue
,

with you .


There s no room for argument dear

, .


Please Vincent , .

He drew a chair close to hers possessed ,

himself of her hand and as She talked he ,

stroked it gently Her eyes flamed with


.

a wonderful light a light which brought


,

lumps to the throat of the eavesdropping


quartet in the next room .
1 91 s rx SECONDS OF DARKNESS

Listen,
dear she s aid softly you , ,

m ust listen to sens e I came down and .

confessed because I was afraid they would


fin d out about your quarrel and fight with
Mr Ham ilton and would arrest you I
. .

shot him as you well know just as the


, ,

lights went out They won t do any thing.



to me it was done in the heat of passion
and when it seemed that he would kill

you .


Let me interrupt he said firmly , .

That defence would never go In the .


first place you had no revolver
, .


I picked it up off the floor when you
tore it from his hand .


D on t talk nonsense Eunice You re

, .

saying all that because you too think that , ,

we are being listened to Imagine that .

little runt of a man tearing a revolver from



my hands .


He didn t she persisted ’

,You tore .

it from his hands I picked it up and fired .

just after the lights went out When they .


1 94 SI X SECON DS OF DAR KNES S ,


You put me in the light of a man con
fessing to save his sweetheart I wouldn t .

do it if you had really shot him ; they d let ’

you Off all right enough But I picked up


, .


that revolver and fired in the dark I had
taken aim first I m a good shot ; you are
.


not .

I was s tanding very close to him .

And I was closer Can t you see that .


they ll never hang me for what I did ?


“ ”
I ll not allow you to take chances

.

“ ’
An d you won t retract your ridic ulous
confession

I have told the truth .

You will stick to that story ?



Positively .


Then he said hopelessly God help
, ,

us both !
“ “
Why ? she cried anxiously You .

don t mean to say that you will refuse


to retract in the face of what I have inst



said ?

I mean just that dear I Shot him , . ,
srx SECONDS OF DARKNESS 1 95

dI
1 was willing to take the consequences .

1 view Of your implication I am afraid I ,

all have to amend my story so that it

ill not look SO much life self defence


-

'
that I will lose the j ury s sympathy and


ey ll be more liable to convict me

a .


They ll never convict you They will

.


alize that I am telling the truth .

“ ” “
Then he said simply I shall never
, ,

11d my head up again You mean well


.
,

unice ; but you are doing a headstrong ,

clish thing I am sorry dear ; although


,

makes me love you the more .

A sudden crafty light crept into her


,


D id you hear a second shot it
un d e djust as though it were fired when
t:lights went on again .

He frowned .


You will claim that you fired that ?

D id you hear it ?
Yes O f course I did
- .


Where did it come from ?
1 96 SI X SECONDS OF DARKNESS
I don t know dear I probabl y imag

, .


in e d it
.


If it had been real and not a figment

of the imagination where would you

guess it came from ?

O uts ide I Should say
, .

Good ! And did you know that they


foun d a burglar l ying unconscious and

wounded behind that screen ?
,

What ? You mean
That we ll both probably get ofl if we

wan t to I mean that they are sure that


.


his bullet killed Mr Hamilton . .

The young artist Shook his head slowly .


N O dear ; I certainly did not hit the
,

screen when I fired and the burglar was


wounded The chances are his revolver
.

w ent OE and he hit himself It was my .

shot


D on t lie ! It was I who fire d you


know it !
In the adjoining room Carroll nodded ,

to the others and beckoned them to follow .


CHAPT ER XI

minutes later Vincent Har


IVE ,

re l s on answered a rap on the door

an d D avid Carroll came in fol ,

lowed by the lawyer th e police commis ,

s ion e r , and Barrett Rollins E unice .

stepped forward and spoke with a dm irable


self possession
- .


D id you enjoy our conversation ? she
questioned brightly .

Carro ll smiled .


I can t say that I did he answered

, .

You only succee d ed in puzzling me more



than ever .


It s what they tried to do growled

Rollins .


! uite evidently returned Carroll
, .

And now Miss D uval may I ask you one


, ,

q uestion ?
s rx S ECONDS OF DARKNESS 1 99


A thousan d if you like . But I tell you
r ight now
“ ”
There s no use quibbling ! snapped


Harrelson aggressively I killed Ham
.

ilton and Miss D uval thinking that She


, ,

will be let Off because she is a woman has ,

c onfessed to save me You tell her this


.
,

C arroll honestly : D O you or do you not


,

think that I would be acquitted on the



f a cts as you know them ?
Carroll eyed him keenly .


According to the facts as you have pre
s e n ted them Mr Harrelson I should say
, .
,

that you would be acquitted without any


great trouble What do you think Mr
.
, .

D enson
The lawyer nodded gravely .


I think they d let you Off son pro

, ,

v i de d your story stood the test Of cross



e x amination .

Harrelson turned triumphantly to the


g irl .


You see dear ; e ven Mr D enson ad
, .
200 S I X S ECONDS OF DARKNES S

m its that I d be let off Now wil l you



.

retract your silly soft hearted con fes


-
,

sion
The girl looked up an d then away again .

“ ”
You re a dear boy she s aid in a

,

choked little voice But you see gen .
, ,

tlem e n I cannot retract the tru th


, I shot .

Mr Hamilton You wanted to ask m e a


. . .


question Mr Carroll ? , .



Yes it is a question directed at bo th
of you D uring your little talk j ust now
.

you seemed to agree that there was one


revol ver and one only among the three of
, ,

you Is that correct ?
.

They were silent for a minute suspect ,

ing a trap D enson spoke : .


I d advise that you tell the truth

.

“ “
Yes said Harrelson there was j ust
, ,


one revolver Mr Hamilton s I picke d .

.

it up ofl the floor and fired at him .

E unice shook her head .


It is just a question of which one is
202 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS
The little old lady shook her head .


N o sir I don t understand any of it
, .


either unless they got scared when the
shooting started and ran aw ay I might .

unde rstand the maid doing that Si r ; but ,

not the butler He was a big strapping


.
,

man sir
, .


He was that indorsed D enson , I .

saw him last night and he didn t impress


,

me as being the type of man to be fright



ened by a little shooting .


Wh at s all this talky talk about the

-

butler broke in Rollins roughly .


Whada we care where he s gone ? We ’

g o t the guy that done the work an w e ,


should worry if the butler never comes


back .


N0 0 on the face Of it we shouldn t
-
, ,

said Carroll slowly But in a case as.

complex as this one I prefer to talk to


every one who was near the scene at the

time .

“ ” “
Piffie ! snapped Rollins S more o
’ ’
.
SI X SECOND S OF DARKNESS 1 63

your dam ur pardon ladies



- e b
gg n i

yo ,

highfalutin s tufl Got to go ahead j us t



.

so like it s wrote down in the book Hon


, .

e s t you private S leuths gimme a pain ;


,

if you was to see a guy shoot another one


y ou d go

up an e xamine th footprints an
’ ’ ’

th e calibre Of the revolver instead of



c hasin the feller that you seen do it

.

Instead of growing angry Carroll thre w ,

b ack his head and laughed ringingly .


Pretty good Rollins Maybe you re , .

r ight after all I m somewhat of an Ol d ’

, .

f ogy in thos e things ; like the farmer with


th e join ted fishing rod and gold mounted
-


h andle he whips the stream all day and
c atches a trout two inches long while the

ki d on the bank with a switch from a tree ,

f our yards Of string and a bent pin catches ,

a dozen .

Rollins grinned .

That s about the size of it Mr Ca rroll


“ ’
.
, .


I wasn t s lappin at you personal y under

,

s tan d ; it s just that you fellers ain t used


’ ’
1 64 SI X SECOND S OF DARKN ES S

to the game an y travel all around th


,
’ ’ ’


block to git next door .


Well as Rollin s has said went on
, ,

Carroll gravely albeit he was not uncon


,

s cious and not unamused at the gla n ces o f

wonder on the faces of Hall and D enson at


“ ’
his reception of Rollins brusqueness that ,

eliminates a need to interview the butle r .


N ow for the living room .

They entered the room in which th e


shooting had occurred and as they did s o ,

the weird associations of the place affected


the nerves of all They became quiet
.

all Of them save Rollins As for the head .

of the regular Office he strutted up an d ,

down the room with his chest out like a


pouter pigeon proclaiming his theories to
,

all who would listen .

They were theories which absol v ed


E unice and Harrelson from all blame and
loomed ominous for a certain Mr R ed .

Hartigan who scowled silently at the big


,
206 SIX SECONDS OF DARKN ES S

a fternoon so that the breeze could com e



through .


And the screen over the corner of th e

veranda ?

Was down on the southern side be ,

c ause the exposure is S lightly westerl y too , ,

a nd we did that to keep the afternoon s u n

away The screen on the eastern exp o


.

s ure had been rolled up .

“ ” “
Good ! said Carroll N ow begin at .

the beginning You Hartigan y ou h a d


.
— ,

y our gun out .

Hartigan frowned deeply .


Say listen here cull ! If you ve

, ,

brung me up here to catch me in a trap ,

gonna get fooled see ! I didn t have


’ ’

y r ,


no gat never carried one I had a b u n .

d le of swag an I was standin back here


’ ’

s lipped in thro ugh th back stairs hall ’

, ,

dinin room an was waitin to vamo s e



,
’ ’

through this here winder when I seen this


girl S tep out from behind them curtains
y onder .
s rx SECONDS OF DARKNESS 1 67


N o one was in the room when you c am e

in from the di ning room ?

D idn t see no one Guess she was

.


th ere all th time ’
.


Why didn t you make your get away
-

right Off

Because explained the burglar it
, ,

w as th other half of th winder that was


’ ’

o pen an that was beyond th screen SO


’ ’

, .

th ere wasn t nothin to do but for me to


’ ’

w ait until th coast was clear I lay low



.


u ntil th fight started

.


Hmm ! D id you see this man Miss ,

D uval
She shook her head .


NO NO one came in the room righ t
.


th en but D onaldson .

A battery Of eyes flashed to hers Car .

r oll was patently surprised .

D onaldson
The butler she explained , .

You didn t mention him Why ? ’


.

I forgot him He came in the room .


,
2 08 SIX SECON DS OF DAR KN ESS

l ooked out toward the garden and walked ,



into the dining room again .


D id you see him Hartigan ?
Yeh I seen him
, .


Why didn t you mention it ?


I got my own good reasons for that .

Rollins burst in violently .


It s probable that the butler was in on

” “
the robbery !

he rasped That s why .

this here guy won t say nothin — ’


low as ’

they get they don t get so low as to squeal


,

on a pal But that d explain your butler


.


beatin it when the fireworks started

.


SO O !
- Was Donaldson in with you ? ”

That s f r me to know an you to find


’ ’ ’


o ut
, sa id Hartigan belligerently I ve ’

s aid all I m gonna say about him



.


Which is tantamount to an admission
th at the butler was concerned in the bur

glary , interjected D enson Hartigan .

looked at him sharply .

“ ’
It ain t tantym oun t to no thin you

wise guy p r
.
2 10 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNES S
I duck ed and managed to grapple with

him .


Just one minute Mr Harrel son , . .

How did you happen to be in here with


him ?

Mr Hamilton did not like me and we
.
,

started quarrelling about my attentions to


his ward to whom I have the honour to be
,

engaged We met in the living room and


.
,

he asked her to leave us alone She re


fused and he suggested that we come in
,

here where we could be alone I of .


,

course agreed , .


And why did you go behind th e por
t1 eres Miss D uval
,

I thought they might come back in the
room and think I had gone I came back .

when I heard the violent quarrel and the


noise evidently caused b y the throwing of

the paper weight .


I see And just about then is when
.

you came in from the dining room wasn t ,


it Hartigan
,
SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS 21 1

Guess so Th room looked empty an


.

,

this here lady come out from behind them



there curtains right afterward .

“ ”
Go ahead Harrelson, .


As I say I grappled with him All I
, .

van te d to do was to hold him quiet but ,

re was stronger than I thought and slip

)ery as an eel We banged against the


.

loor and it flew open We staggered into .


b e room .


Where was Miss Eunice at that time
The girl took her place halfway be
ween the door and the table .


I was standing right here frightened ,

0 death .


Is that the way you saw them Harti ,

a
g n

That s th way it looked to me
’ ’
.

Course I couldn t see awful plain from



! chind that there screen .

“ ”
An d then ? prompted Carroll .


Mr Hamilton tore loose from me
.
,

vent on the young artist Be fore I kne w .
212 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNES S
what he was doing he had the drawer of
that table open and a revolver in his hand .

Eunice screamed and I j umped for him


,

an d grabbed his arm Then .


I turned out the lights said Harti ,


You ! It was a chorus from E unice ,

Harrelson and Rollins .

“ ”
Yes I kn ew that said Carroll quietly
, , .


Go ahead Mr Harrelson , . .


As the lights went out the revolver
dropped to the floor I reached down .
,

grabbed it and shot him, .

Eunice s face flamed



.


That is not the truth Mr Carroll , . .

You can look at him and see that it is not


.

the truth The revolver spun against my


.

feet Before I realized what I was doi ng


.

I picked it up and fired at Mr Hamilton . .

An d he did not tell the truth about one


other feature in his eagerness to shield m e .

I had the revolver in my hands before the


lights went out ; isn t that so Hartigan

,
2 14 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNES S
Certainly She placed herself im me
.

diately between the table and the door on ,

a line with the corner of the room Car .

roll walked back across the room and ex



tended both hands one to Eunice and one
to Harrelson .


I think that about absolves the pair of

you two foolish children he said heart
,

ily.

A gasp of surprise went up and a chorus



of What do you mean

I mean said Carroll slowl y that the
, ,

bullet that was fired from that spot never


hit Mr Hamilton at all It struck in the
. .

very corner of the walls and ceiling yon


der You can see the hole for your
'

p )
sel ves
CHAPTER XII

T was D enson his mind trained to


,

cope with sudden twists to whom the ,

legal aspect made an immediate ap


p eal
. He leaned forward and made a f u

tile attempt to conceal the excitement in

his voice :

D o you mean Carroll that they are
, ,

free ?
Carroll shrugged .


Practically Can t let them OE e n
.

tire l y yet but I think I can promise them


,

a release on their own recognizance And .

now

—he turned to them — “
I would like
to k now just to satisfy myself who reall y
, ,

did fire that shot ?
N o trap Carroll warned D enson
, , .

“ ”
Answer or not retorted the detective
, .


As for me I play my cards face up
, Two .

mt of three were agreed that the shot was


21 5
21 6 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

fired in the dark It has been the consen


.

s u s of Opinion and my personal belie f that

the shot which killed Mr Ham ilton was .

n ot fired from close quarters— the appear


ance of the wound the lack of burning
, ,

an d the absence of powder stains attest

that But it is certain that Mr Hamil


. .

ton s revolver was fired Where then did



.
, ,

the bullet go ? It doesn t take any trans ’

cend en t investigator to find the hole


m ade by a bullet fired from that spot at
M r Hamilton And there it is
. .

He .

pointed to a small round hole plugged in


,

the j uncture point of the two walls and


the ceiling in the corner near the hall .


SO there D enson is my case again st
, ,

these two young people They can an .


swer or not as they wish I ve played fair
, .

and aboveboard all the way through and ,

was merely trying to satisfy my very hu


man curiosity as to which one did it .

The eyes of the men met and h eld .

D enson threw up his hands .


218 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNES S

I congratulate you sir he said qui , ,

e tl y . I had thought that chivalry was
d ead .


Not that sir returned the young man
, ,

somewhat bas hfully You see I took
.
,

pains to concoct a story which pretty well



protected me .


Poppycock and balderdash ! Your
story was true and you were willing to
,

shoulder the blame ! D am me sir I m , ,


glad to shake your han d if it has t aken the ,

death of my be s t friend to prove to me


that there are a few men alive in whom the

b e s t of the medi aeval s till exi s ts .

Carroll re s um ed his s l ow paci n g of the


room As he p as s ed each of his three m en
. ,

he whispered a few w ords to the m s ignifi


can tl y then w alked on n onchalantly as
, ,

though taking a constituti onal H is kee n .

eyes lighted with the joy of the chas e


, ,

missed no detail of the sparsely if han d ,

s om e l y furnished room Finally he


, .


faced the Others .
SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS 1 19

“ ”
And now he said we have p rove d
, ,

the innocence of our two chief actors I .

don t k now whether you gentlemen re


ali z e in your personal relief over the


,

lib e rati on of these young folks that we are ,

as far from the capture of the murderer as

we were thirty seconds aft r the fatal sho t e


was fired .

They stared at him in dazed silence .

What he said was true ; that phase of the


case had not appealed to them Hal l .

opened his mouth to mention Badger then ,

closed it abruptly — like a fis h gasping in


the fre s h air He remembered two things
.

regarding Badger — firs t of all that they ,

had pretty well proven his innocence an d ,

secondly that Rollins knew no thing of


,

Badger or his connection with the c as e


, .

He remembered also the fact that there


, ,

was a third shot ; two had already been


accounted fo r — E unice s which had for

tun ate ly gone wild and dug itself a bur

row ln the cei l ing ; an d Badger s which


,
2 20 SIX SECONDS OF DARK NES S

had inflicted the painful wound in Harti


gan s right wrist

.

But H artigan s revolver had also been


fired According to the burglar s story he


.

had not fired Furthermore it had been


.
,

pretty well agreed that the fatal shot had


been fired i m mediately after the lights
were turned on Badger stubbornl y
.

m aintained that he h ad fired in the dark .

If that were true and it was a fact that his


bullet was the one which had wounded
Hartigan then it followed that Hartigan
,

cou l d no t well have fired wi th his right


w rist ma ngled .

It seemed that Carroll had been work


ing in a circle eliminating one b arrier
,

after another only to find each n e w one


harder to surmount But if Carroll and .

his friends were bewildered Barrett Rol ,

lins head of the regular detective force


, ,

was not at all at a loss as to who was the


culprit .


There was three of them in the room ,
2 22 SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS

I kn ow that s all There a in t no one


,

.

e lse could O f done it .


NO that s true ; that s true And yet
,
’ ’
.
,

he continued in a placidly argumentative


tone as though discussing a purely the
,

o re tical case you forget that some one
,

s hot Hartigan .


Poof ! Maybe he wasn t shot just ’


then .


But he was you see , .

I don t see any such of a dam thing !


’ ’

—scusing th French You fly cops think


’ ’
.

you ve got it all down pat when y don t


’ ’ ’

k now a thing T tell me that Red Harti ’


.

g a n couldn t of been S hot



when
He was shot behind that screen .

Carroll bit his words OE sharply A hint .

o f antagonism the first he had Shown to,

ward Rollins had crept into his tones


, .

“ ”
You re crazy !

Carroll turned away sm iling again , .


Well there s no use arguing wi th
,

y ou .
s1x SECOND S OF DARKN ESS 1 13

Of course there ain t An d then as



.
,

Carroll fell into a low voiced conversation


-

with E unice and Harrelson Rollins strod e ,

across the room after him One big hand .

shot out and Carroll was whirled around .

T he face of the young detective went


w hite and he shook himself loose
, .


Rollins he said acidly you will keep
, ,

y our hands to yourself .

“’
I ll do what I please started the
m an from headquarters and then calmed ,

d own suddenly with the remembrance that


h e was in the presence of the police com

m issioner S pose you tell me why you

.

k n ow that this here yegg was potted while



h e was there an not before

.


I don t believe you are interested in my


theories ,returned Carroll quietly .

Rollins voice took on a pleading nu



a n ce
.

Now Mr Carroll I was n t meanin


“ ’ ’

, ,

an y thing
“’
I m nothing but a fly cop flung out ,
1 14 SI X SECON DS OF DARKN ESS

Carroll clipping his words
, But I have .

sense enough to know that his wound was


bleeding pro fusely an d that there were ,

no blood traces anywhere e xce pt be hind



that s cree n !

An involuntary Oh ! was ripped from
Rollins lips O f a sudden his temper

.

grew sullen again .


Well whadaya d riv in at ? D yuh
,
’ ’

have to have everybody mixed up in the


case come out an paraded before y ? ’ ’

Then take y r pick ? ’

This tim e real anger flamed into Car


roll s eyes His face grew livid and his

.

fists clenched He came very close to Rol


.

lins and his eyes burned into the little


, ,

close set orbs Of the chie f of the regular


-

force .


Let s have this out right now Rollins

, ,

once and for all From the very begin .


ning of this case I haven t liked your m an
ner So long as it was part1al ly imper
.

sonal and dealt in generali ties I thought ,


226 SI X S ECONDS OF DARKNESS

Very well sir he said with s im u , ,

lated respect Until this case is fin
.

is he d I ll remember that you re over my


’ ’

head .


That s all I ask ’
Carroll turned to .

ward the oth ers in a second ridding him ,

self Of the anger he had just exhibited .


We are still far from a solution of this
” “
case he said
, Instead of having two
.

people who claim to have committed the


crime we have one suspe ct against w hom
,

the evidence is wholly circumstantial and ,

not at all strong You Hartigan said .


, ,

something about pals ; do you mean that



you were not alone in this robbery ?
Hartigan thought for a moment and
then nodded .


Yes sir just that Me and my pals
, , .


we never work alone y s ee ; an they was ,


with me .


And of course you won t tell who they ’


were ?

O f course not sir , .
s rx S ECON DS OF DARKN ES S 11 7

H mm ! Will you tell me this ? D id



o n e Of the m shoot you ?

The burglar was a bit dazed by the ques


t ion .


Why cert n y not sir Ain t I told
,
’ ’

, .

right from h first that I was S hot


y ou t

w hile I was standin behind th screen


’ ’


D O you realize Hartigan the positio n
, ,

th is puts you in So long as we suspected


e ither Miss D uval or Mr Harrelson here .
, ,

t here was a chance that we might believe

y our story But now


. even you will a d
m i t that neither of them did it and you ,

w ere the only other person in the room and ,

y our gun had been fired


“ ”
No burst out the big man that s not
, ,

t rue sir and ye know it !


, , That gun was
p lanted on me ! How I dunno A ll I, .

k now is I ain t never toted a gat Rol



.

lins th ere could tell y that if he would


, ,

.

” “
Y s ee

, he explained painstakingly us ,

crooks has got habits j ust like reg lar guys ’


.

Some of us is gunm en an some ain t


’ ’
.
228 SIX SECOND S OF DARKNESS
An Rollins knows all of

that s his us — ’

business An he knows that when a m an


.

has a rep for not p ackin a rod he don t do ’ ’


it th at s all A in t that so Rollins ?
,

.

,
“ ”
Not in your case answered Rollins ,

fiercely You ve been caught with a gun ’
.


before .

H artigan s face flamed



.

“ ” “
Cop or no cop he raved I m here , ,

tellin ye that y r a dirty rotten liar ! An


’ ’

,


that goes as she lays if I swing for it !

Rollins leaped forward but Hal l
stopped him with a whispered word of
warning He turned to Carroll
. .


What that yegg says is part true he ,

explained I know em all I got their
.

,

records at my finger tips ; some of em do ’


carry guns an some don t But take it ’
.

— —
from me an I know there never was a ’

bunch of second story men th at set out to


-

crack a crib like this here one without heel

in themselves

My Gawd Mr Carrol l .
, .
,

don t that sound reasonable ?

1 3 6 s rx SECONDS OF DARKN ESS
ton himself an d plan ted the gun on yo u ?
Hartigan Shook his head wi th dogged
loyalty .


I ll take my chan ces Mr Carroll If

, . .

they j ack me up for murder I ll tell But ,



.

until they do an I m on trial I ll stand my ’ ’ ’

chances of the real murderer bein caught ’


.

An as for one of my pals plantin th rod


’ ’ ’


on me ain t I told you they was my pals ?

They wouldn t do nothin like that


’ ’
.


There s something about you H arti

gan declared C arroll spontaneous ly


, ,
“ ”
that I like .


An there s some di fference betwee n
’ ’

you an a tec who makes up his mind tha t


’ ’ ’

a certain chap is guilty cause he s got hi m


’ ’


with the goods an after that doesn t look ,

no farther e xcept to Send the poor s u cke r

up the river or maybe to the chair That s .



all I gotta say .

It was too much for the excitable Rol


l ins He swung on Carroll

. .


I l l take orders f om you Carrol l bu t

r ,
w
s rx SECONDS or DARKN ES S 23 1

b e fore I ll stand up and let a damned yegg


l ike him hand me th at line 0 talk I ll re


’ ’

s i gn an


Wait a minute interrupted Hall , .

H e crossed the room to the hall door and


fl ung it open Little Mrs Faber blink
. .
,

i n g and ill at ease and patently in the grip


o f a new and greater excitement minced ,

i nto the room .


Gentlemen she said softly very
, ,

m uch impres s ed wi th the spotlight position



s h e held the most marvellous thing has
,


d e veloped the most unbelievable

.


Yes yes Mrs Faber What is it ?
, , . .

You would hardly believe it E ven .


w hen Maggie she s the cook when she— ’

t o ld me I just said to her : Maggie I ‘

,

s a id if I didn t know
‘ ’

E unice took a hand She placed a hand .

l ightly over the little housekeeper s lips ’


.


What is it Mrs Faber ? Tell us, .


p lease .


It s E thel your maid

, .
232 SI X S ECONDS or DARKNESS

What about E thel

M aggie just went up in the attic
and there s he
f ound E the l , bound and

g gg
a ed and half d e ad !
234 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ES S
ter In answer to a question as to where
.

E thel could be found Mrs Faber nodded , .

mysteriously .



I ll Show you soon enough j ust fol

low .

She led the way to a door which she flung


o pen and Hall D enson Rollins and Car
, , ,


roll with E unice and Harrel s on in the

rear followed her into a small neatly ,

furnished prettily decorated room with


, ,

Chi n tz curtain over the window through

which the morning sun streamed ch e erily .

The room itself was in perfect order ; the


b e d had not been S lept in the dre s s er was ,

n eatly fixed every chair in place


, Carroll .

looked around curiously .


The maid Mrs Faber ? , .

I said she was in the attic flashed the ,



o l d lady and She I S
,
.

But this
These are the servants quarters The ’
.


a ttic is up yonder and she indicated a
,

fl ight of steps so steep as to resemble a lad


SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS 235

d er which led from the maid s room ’

th r ough a trapdoor to a false attic or loft .

Carroll and Rollins produced flash lights


an d mounted swiftly to the top The girl
.

was lying on the rough floor bo arding


which covered the beams and over her
,

h overed the extremely articulate and v e ry


s o licitous Maggie explaining vociferously
,

why She could not unbind the cords which


h eld the girl . Carroll produced a kn ife
a n d in a few strokes released her Wi th .

w hi ch E thel promptly fainted .

It was the work of but a few minute s


f or Carroll and Rollins to bear her down
t he ladder and stretch her on the bed .

T hen the men retired the door closed and


, , ,

a fter leaving his whisky fl ask for purpose s

o f resuscita tion Rollins j o ined them


, It .

w as perhaps a half hour later that Mrs .

F aber Opened the door to announce that


t he combined e florts of herself E unice , ,

an d Maggie had s ucceeded in restoring

E thel to con s ciousness and that she could


236 SI X SECO ND S OF DARKN ESS

not talk now than ks to a gro wing hysteria


, .

Rather peculiar she wasn t found when ’


the house was first searched volunteered ,

Carroll .


NO answered Rollins ; I did not
,

have a chance to go over things as I wanted


to before I found Hartigan and once I had,

him I thought the case was solved And l .

left no orders for a search with my men


here ; in fact if Rafferty searched at all it
, ,

was on his own hook SO it isn t a bit pe


.


cu l iar .

The men repaired downstairs and Doc


tor Robinson was summoned It was .

more than an hour later that he came down


from upstairs to announce that E thel
would see the detectives but urging that
,

S he be made to talk as little as possible .


The poor girl has had a terrible time of

it s aid the man Of med icine
, She has .

b een lying in that cramped position and in


constant terror for twelve hours Be as .


eas y wi th her as you can .
238 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

you tell us what happened to y ou last


n ight— i f you feel well en oug

I ain t feel in very well sir but I ll tell
’ ’
, ,

al l I k now —
I I m feeling awful bad sir
.

, ,

but there ain t no chance of my gettin


things wrong because I ain t been doin ’

nothin g but lyin up there thi n kin for ’


,

it seems like twelve years S tead of twelve ’


hours S ir , .

She wiped the tears from her e yes con ,

trolled herself with an effort and went on ,

with her S tory :


“ ’
I come upstairs early last night sir so s , ,

to read a perfectly grand story in a maga


z ine I was readin it when all of a sud
.

den I hear s omebody outside A t first l .



think it s Donaldson he s the n e w butler ’
,

S i r ; but then I notice that the m an who is

walkin has got rubber heels on an I know


,

that Donaldson don t wear them and ’

neither does Mr Hamilton . .


Honest ! I got cold and hot all over at

the same time I run to the win der an
.
SI X SECONDS OF DARKNESS 239

looked out to the garden There was .

some one cre ep in across t ward that bush


’ ’

y onder
Car oll walke d to the window and
r

looked . The bus h in qu estion was Situ


ated about sixty feet from the house an d

directly in front Of the big double doors


openi n g from the living room onto the

firs t floor veranda


- He interr upted the
.

g irl

What sort of looking m an was it ?

A big m an sir ; a very big man not so
,

tall S ir but he looked awful big in the


, ,

moonlight .


I s e e GO ahe ad
. .

Well at first I thought I would scream


,

for help but I knew if I did that the bur


,

g lar ou t s ide

You are sure it was a burglar ?
That s the first thing I thought of sir ;

an afterward as I m goin to tell you I


’ ’ ’

, ,

Found out for sure it was As I was sayin .


;ir I k new if I y e lled he d come in an Shoot


’ ’

,
240 SI X SEC ON DS OF DARKN ESS

me or cut my throat or do som e thin ter ’


rible like that So I just got down an
.

crawled under the bed thinki n that ,


maybe if I laid real quiet he wouldn t do


, ,

me no harm .


For a long time there wasn t an y noise ’

— —
an then Oh it was awful ! I seen my

door openin S low an careful so s it


,

,

wouldn t creak I was that scared I



.

couldn t hardly breathe an was all


,

cramped up with lyin under th bed an I ’ ’

,

got right hysterical .

The man come in the room an walked ’

all around I had turned OE my light but


.
,

there s a light right outside the door an

that made the r oom pretty bright an I no


ticed that it was shinin right on me where ’

I was layin under the bed I was scared



.

to stay where I was cause all he d of had ,


’ ’

to do to see me would of been to look SO .


I made up my mind to try to move ; that s
where I m ade a terrible mistak e sir ; be ,
242 SIX SECON DS OF DARKN ESS

There wasn t nothin else for me to do ’

S ir so I crawled out an when I made as if


, ,

to scream he tells me if I do he s going to ’

kill me right away ; but if I don’t m ake no


noise no harm will come to me So I tol d .

h im I d do anything if he j ust wouldn t


’ ’

k ill me an he said that he d have to bind


’ ’

me and put a piece of cloth in my mouth


s o I wouldn t scream an then I d h ave
’ ’ ’

to climb up them there steps into the


attic .


I ast him what was he going to do with
me when he got me there an he said he ,

wasn t going to hurt me at all if I did that


but that he d kill me if I didn t or if I


’ ’

tried any foolishness SO I said all right .


,

I d do it

.


He tied my hands behind my back an ,

even if he was a burglar he was a real gen ,

tle feller once he got started because he ,

kept askin me was the rope too tight a n


’ ’

did it hurt too much an sayin he was sorry ’ ’

h e had to do it but safety first was his mo t


,
SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS 243

ter Then when he got me up there he


.
, ,

laid me down as easy as he could an tied ’

my feet together said to wait for a couple


,

o f hours an then commence ki cki n on the


’ ’

floor an some one would come an let me


’ ’

f ree .


Then he goes down the ladder again
a n d commences p rowl in about my room ’

l ike he was wai tin for some one I rolled



.

o ver easy so s I could see the corner Of the


r oom by the door yonder an who should I


s e e come up the stairs but D onaldson


u :


D onaldson
The butler sir I held my breath be
, .
,

c ause I knew right away that he was gonna

shoot D onaldson but he didn t do nothin


,
’ ’

O f the kind ; they shook hands an started


talkin ’
I was S p ris e d Sir because it was
.

, ,

like they was old friends But S till I .

thought maybe D onaldson didn t know ’

that he was a burglar an I was just gonna ,


m ake a noise when D onaldson says to him


— he says
244 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

Di dj a

run into an ybody up here ,

Lefty ? ’

“ ’
An then Lefty grins just like that , .

he says ; some fool girl musta heard ‘

m e an was hid in under th e bed


’ ’ ’
.



Then D onaldson says S hall I use the
v ery words S ir ? ,


Yes my girl the very words
, .

"
He says : D amn the luck Just like ‘

that sir An what did you do wi th her


‘ ’

, .
,

Lefty ? ’


Wi th that the man he calls Lefty

kinder grins She s a nice commonsens e .

girl he says
,

I told her I d kill her if she
.
‘ ’

didn t do what I wanted an I ve got her


,
’ ’

bound an gagged an all trussed up nice ’ ’


,

l yin up in the attic yonder By the tim e


some one finds her we ll have made our get ’

away

.


Well sir I can t tell you how terrible
, ,

s hocked I was at findin out D onaldson s


’ ’

true nature That s the way with men .



,

s ir ; you don t kn ow nothin about them u h


’ ’
246 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

Then Lefty shak es his head I think .


I ought to get in on that he says


, .

NOthin doin

says D onaldson

.


Though we might give you a little rake
Ofl . But you said all you wanted was
them papers out of Mr Hamilton s safe .

.

You got em asks the burglar


‘ ’
.

D onaldson nodded yes an took a ’

packet tied with red ribbon out of h is


pocket an handed em to him’
There ’
.

they are th whole bunch That s yo ur


-

.

end less n we want to divide with you


,

.

Oh says the burglar I m gettin o u t


‘ ’ ‘ ’ ’

, ,

on the top side even if I don t get no coin ! ’

I g uess I d better be

N0 time like now says Donaldson


,

.

Y Ou go down the front steps an be


‘ ’

m ighty careful because Ol d man H am il


’ ’
ton s in the l ib ry an he s got company
’ ’

, .

Th ey was raisin some sort Of hell — that s ’ ’ ’

j us t the word he used sir an me thinki n , ,


’ ’

that he was a respectable man S ir — the y ,


was raisin hell he says last I saw Of e m


’ ’ ‘ ’
.
, ,
S1 x SECONDS OF
47 DARKN ESS 2

Y ou ll fin d the latch on the front door



l oose Take it easy an whatev e r y do
.
,

, ,

d o n t get caught

.

I won t says the other feller No


‘ ’ ’ ‘
, .

d anger of that I ll go right out th fron t ’ ’


.

like I owned the house .


SO they talked a little more an then


D onaldson says If you meet anybody ‘

th ere ain t to be no shootin understand ?


’ ’

Just beat it back upstairs an I ll take care ’ ’

o f you

.

I ain t no gunman says the burglar


‘ ’

,

.

You got a gat ain t you ? asks D on


,
’ ’

al ds on .


Yes he says ; but so has Red Harti

,

an an he ain t no gunman
’ ’ ’

g , .

Hartigan ain t got a gun says D on


‘ ’

a ld s on I searched him Cause I didn t


‘ ’ ’
.

w ant no rough s tu fi

.


Just one minute interrupted Carroll , .

Y ou are quite positive that D onaldson


s aid he had s earched Hartigan and tha t

H artigan did not have a gun ?
2 48 s rx SECONDS OF DARKNES S

Yes
“ ”
What s that got to do with it ? brok e


in Rollins roughly D idn t we fin d the

.

g un on Hartigan

Well they tell each other goo d b ye
,
- ,

an D onaldson repeats that there ain t to


’ ’

’ ’
be no shootin an then the burglar goes ,

downstairs soft an easy , .


For a few minutes after he s gone D on ’

al ds on stands there like he s thi nk in ab o ut


’ ’

som e thin an then h e begins to sm i le


,

.


Then he comes into my room an stands at

the foot Of them there steps an calls up to
me .


D on t be worriedhe s ays

, E thel,

,

I m goin downstairs for a minute an as


‘ ’ ’ ’

,

soon as I come back I ll let you loose .

“ ’
An I didn t answer him sir ; I wouldn t
’ ’
,

talk to that kind of a man an be sides , , ,

n a i vely that rag was in my mouth an I ’
,

cou ldn t SO he goes downstai rs an th ere



.
,

I lay S ir ; couldn t move nor nothin an


,
’ ’ ’

f rightened to death with all I d been



2 50 S1 x SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

Carroll immediately dispatched H all


downstairs with instructions to have
Roberts bring Hartigan to the girl s ro om ’
.

In five minutes Hall was back and behin d


,

him the immense figure of the wounded


burglar .

“ ”
Is that the man ? queried Carroll .

The girl glanced at him briefly .


NO sir ; certainly not The man th ey
, .

called Lefty was an undersized runt of a



man not like this one at all !
,
CHAPT ER XIV

H E passing of the hours had


served only to complicate the
Hamilton case At the outset it
.

had been pregnant with the unusual but ,

n ot fraught with any very great mystery .

N ow however the aspect had altered


, , .

In the beginning D avid Carroll had be


fo re him the fact of the murder and three
persons who confessed to the crime In .

a ddition to that he had a notorious crim

inal whose coincidental presence at the


scene O f the shooting had fastened about
him a web of circumstantial evidence suf
ficie n t to convict before the most open
m inded jury.

But now it had Changed Proof of an


.
,

almost incontrovertible nature had been


,

furnished that neither E unice D uval nor


her fiancé had killed Hamilton ; the bullet
25 1
252 S1x SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

from the revolver which E un ice had u se d


ha d been l ocated at a poin t where it co uld
not ha ve gone had either Badger or Harti
gan fired it It was fairl y well s ettled
.

that Vincent Harrelson had not fir ed .

An d Badger s shot had been accounted for


as the one whi ch had wounded Hartigan .

There was the matter of the six seconds


of darkness already explain ed by Harti
,

gan s perfectly plausible confession that


he had extinguished the lights to facilitate


his escape and turned them on agai n after
being shot so as to avoid detection in his
sanctuary behind the screen It had also.

been pretty well proven that three S hots


were fired ; Badger s and E unice s in the
’ ’

first few seconds of darkness neither shot ,

of which struck Hamilton and the fatal


,

shot which was fired immediately after th e


,

lights went on .

By a simple process of deduction that ,

shot must have been fired by Hartig an ;


yet if it were true that Badger s bullet
,

254 SI X SECONDS OF DARK N ESS

cook They assembled in the living ro o m


.
,


Carroll and two of his men the third h a v
ing Hartigan in a chair on the veran d a ;
E unice and Vincent Harrelson ; Police
Commissioner Hall and D enson the law ,

yer And last but undeniably not leas t


.
, ,

was Barrett Rollins chief of the City s ,


plain Clothes detective force


- .

Rollins was seated near the door


through which Hamilton and young Vin

cent had struggled just before the former


was killed His S traight legged Chair was
.
-

tilted back against the wall his brogan e d ,

feet battered viciously against the slender


legs a rank pipe was clenched firmly b e
,

- - —
tween his none too even teeth unlighted .

His clothes although very quiet and im


,

m acul ate l y pressed gave a subtle impres


,


sion of untidiness it may have been th e
narrow collar or the crooked set of his tie ;
but whatever it was the professional de
, ,

te ctiv e seemed out of place in the picture .

Furthermore he was nervous a n d


,
SI X SECOND S OF DARKN ESS 255

fidge ty, and that despite the fact that he


was making a visible effort to keep himself
under control Hall glancing at him not
.
,


unkindly for he admired the man s in ’

domitable will and unflinching courage


even while he detested him personally
imagined that he was still chafing at the
bit disgusted with Carroll s elevation to a
,

position above him on the present case .

An d yet Hall was glad now that he


, ,

had summoned Carroll s aid If he had’


.

done nothing else Carroll had at least


,

proved that the three original confessors


— two of whom really believed their guilt
—had not killed Hamilton He had not
.

done it with any display of mental pyro


technics with any pussy footing around
,
-

with an eye glued to a magnifying glass ;


yet he h ad done it His methods had been
.

s imple to the point of being ludicrous

a s he himself had explained he had sim ,

p yl set O u t to marshal all f acts and S epa


rate the relevant from the irrelevant then ,
2 56 SI X SECONDS OF DARKNESS

to weigh the pros and cons of the fo rm er


in the balance .

Rollins Hall fancied would have done


, ,

nothing of the kind From the moment


.

Rollins had appeared at headquarters close


on to midnight of the previous day he ,


had s tubbornly almost too stubbornly
maintained that Red Hartigan was the
murderer .

There was sound reasoning behind his


contention ; no doubt about that for in the
,

first place Rollins knew no thing ab o ut


Frederick Badger Hall wondered idly
.

why Carroll had kept all knowledge of


Badger from Rollins He knew that C ar
.

roll did nothing without a motive but ,

what particular Object that move could


have in view he was unable to understan d .

That it had one he did not doubt ; but


what ?
A half dozen times S ince then the n a t
ural antagonism between the polished ,

p lacid Carroll and the brusque almost,b ru


2 58 SIX SECON DS OF DARK N ES S

the man ca lled Lefty on the inside of the


house whi le a fourth kept watch outs ide
, .

N ot by any means an o riginal plan of pro


cedu te yet one which in view of what had
, ,

transpired complicated things c onsider


,

ably .

There was for instance the matter of


, ,

H artigan s revolver from which one bul


let had been fire d Hartigan had stub .

born l y mainta in ed that he had no revolver ,

although his contention in its elf was sub


j e ct to a hundred -per -cent discount in

view of the fact that such a Statement if ,

believed would automatically absolve


,


him But there was the gun and in con
.

trav e n tion of the damning fact and in s up

port of H artigan s statement there was the’

casual story Of the maid recounting the


conv ersation between the butler and Lefty
regarding H artigan s revolver ; the latter s ’ ’

contention that Hartigan did carry a gun


and the former s that he had searched him

and was positive th at he did not .


SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS 2 59

S ummed up three of the original prin


,

ci p al s in th e case had been cleared abs o

l u te l y ; the fourth had developed m i tigat


in g evidence And the question of who
.

actually killed Hamilton was apparently


farther from solution than it had been a
half hour after the crime was com mitted .

It was at this juncture when matters ,

had apparently reached an impasse that ,

the telephone on the centre table jangled


impatiently C arroll rose to answer it
. .

The forelegs of Rollins chair came down


slowly to the floor .


Hello hello ! Yes this is Mr Car
, , .


roll Oh that you D onaldson ?
.
, ,

Yes indeed
, .

Rollins eyes popped open Hall and



.

D enson rose abruptly and stood rigidly by


their chairs D onaldson ! D onaldson
.
,

the butler ! Asking for a n d speaking to


C arroll ! An d Carroll apparently not at
a l l surprised Carroll s voice went on

.

s moothly

bv e?

H e p laced the re tt iv er ge n tly on the

others ; the gro u p w hos e b la nk f aces and

e yes gav e e v i d e n ce to the su rpr is e they

fe l t . A d ull flus h had m oun te d to Rol


li ns ’

fore ha nd it was as though he had
been trick ed , an d he w as an r
g y
. I t was


Who was tha t on the p hon e th e n , Mr .


Carroll ?

Jus t Do nal ds on cam e the qui et an
,
“ ”
s wer I had been w ai tin g f or that call
. .

Rollins l m ed forw ard tense ly .


You had been waitin for D onaldson ’

to (a ll y ou

Why yes ! What s wrong about
,

tha t

Rolli ns produced a large handk erchief ,

lavender bordered and mopped his fore


-
,

hea d .
262 SIX SECON DS OF D ARKN ES S

right to make a fool outa me ? Huh!


I)Oes i t ?
Carroll controlled himself beautifully
almost too well .


Here here ! What s all the excite
,


ment Rollins ?
,

Excitement enou h Whatcha thi nk
g .

I am a schoolboy ? A correspondence
,

school detective ? Huh ? I ask you


that ? Well if you want to kn ow what
,


I think of it I think you an your whole ’

messy crowd can go plumb to the devil !



Get th at ?

Wait a minute Rollins ; wa a a it a
-
,
- -

m in u te ! You re flying off the handle too



quick .


It s none of your business You ve

.

had me trotting around with you like a



monkey on the end of a string You ain t .

told me a thing more than you ve told any ’


one else Y ou got me to sit up here an
.

make a fool of myself when all the time


you knew D onaldson was in on the know
SIX S ECON DS OF DARKN ESS 263

it I m finished ! D one ! That goes


.

sh e l ays Mr Hall You can take my


, . .

i an m ake this tea hound fiv e



n at o n -
g ,

O Ck in the afternoon detective head of


- - -

Ir pl ain clothes force


- Bull ! A Swell .


1 you d make Carroll ! Why by , ,

d
Bu t C arroll refused to lose his temper .

tead his voice took on an alm ost plead


,

note and he laid his hand lightly on


,

ll in S arm

.



Come come now old man ! he said in
, ,

h ee d l in g tone That s no way to lose ’
.

l l he ad What if I did keep you in the


k about being wise to D onaldson ?


1 t you see that I was only doing it to

e my own face in case he fliv v e re d ?


st suppose I went spouting around that

n al d son was on my s tafl and suppose ,

had double crossed me and really made


-

e t away ; I d have been a sweet laugh



-

stock then Rollins Can t you see , .



t ? Sure you can you know you d ’
264 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

play the game the same way I ll bet you .


know someth ing about this v ery case that



I don t know hey ?

Rollins subsided suddenly apparently ,

m o llifie d .


Whatdaya mean he growled surlily , ,

I know s om e thin about this case ? ’


Haven t you run across some little clue

or something that you ve kept to yourself ; ’

just some little tin y thing that you re try ’

ing to run down on your own SO as to Show



me up ?
Rollins was plainly at a loss for an in
te rp re tati on of Carroll s meaning

.

“ ”
Come now pursued the Smaller m an
, ,

isn t that a fact ?

Rollins big hands went to his hips and


,

he stared into Carroll s eyes aggressively .

“ ” ’
What in th hell you d riv in at ? he


questioned furiously T ryin to make a

.

monkey out of me again ? Cause if you ’

are

N O indeed ; believe me Rollins noth
, , ,
266 S IX SECON DS OF DARK N ES S

thing which resulted in D onaldson s em ’

ployment in this household as butler had ,

nothing whatever to do wi th this murder


case And I don t care to discuss th e busi
.

ness of the man who has paid me a re



tain e r That s all The suspicion of a

. .

twinkle flashed in Carroll s eyes as he ’


added briefly That must appeal to
°


your sense of ethics .

Rollins Shook his head .


Sounds like foolishness to me he s aid ,
.


An if you re goin to keep things to your
’ ’ ’


self I don t see what you want me hangin


around for He started to ri s e but Car
.
,

roll motioned him back .


NO I d rather have you stay Just as
,

.



I ve told those gentlemen there s always ’

more than an even Chance that my mind


will get on the wrong track and that I ll ’


make a mistake s omewhere and j ust as
two heads are better than one four are ,

better than three .
SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ES S 267

E specially snapped Rollins where


, ,

on e of em s solid ivory
’ ’
.

Carroll grinned amiably .


,
Y es especially where one is of so lid
,

i v ory .


The front door be ll rang twice then
-

once Carroll strode toward the hall door


. .

“ “
D onaldson he flung back ; I m sure
,

that s who it is

.

He disappeared into the hall and ,

within three minutes was back followed ,

by D onaldson un kempt his face showin g


, ,

the lack of sleep the previous night his ,

clothes streaked with dirt N or was D on .

ald s on alone O n the ex butler s right



.
-

wrist was one of a pair of han dcufl s The .

other han dcq was tightly clamped on the


wrist of the slender furtive eyed man with
-
,

him . The two han dcufis were connecte d


by a competent looking chain
- .

As for the stranger he too was dis hev , , ,

e ll e d it was quite evident that his capture


268 SIX SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

had not been unresisted He glan ced ap


.

p re h e n s i v e ly about the room and


, finally
his eyes rested on Barrett Roll ins He .

sighed and chewed nervously at his under


lip.

“ ”
Who is that with you Donal ds on ?
,

questioned Carroll innocently .

The butler smiled Slightly and waved


his free hand toward the captive .


Mister Lefty Scamm on alias Shi fty
, ,

alias a half dozen o ther things .


An d why did you make him prisoner?
D onaldson smiled the smile of supreme
trium ph . It was his big moment .

“ ”
Lefty Scammon he said oracularly
, ,

is the m an who m urdere d Mr H arml .


ton !
276 S IX SECONDS OF DARKNES S

facial control was a vital p art of


s ion e r,

Ca rroll s stock in trade and the chan ces


were
Rollins had tensed rigidly H is eyes .

bored into those of the new suspe ct Hall .

S hifted h is gaze from Roll in s face to that


o f Lefty S cammon an d wha t he re ad there


,

j arred him agai n .

F or beyond a que stion of doubt Lefty


, ,

S cammon was stu nn ed wi th surpris e For .

pe rhaps fifteen seconds he tried to s peak ,

opening his mouth and clos ing it agai n


without uttering a sound other than a
c hoked gurgle Carroll strolled to the big
.

doors and nodded briefly to Roberts who ,

entered the room followed by the ,

wounded Hartigan The tableau w ould.

have been ludicrous were it not SO fra ught


with melodrama tic in tensity .

And finally Scammon regain ed his


speech .


Wha whadaya think of that ! he
- ”


gasped O h my Gawd whadaya think
.
, ,
SI X SECOND S OF DARKNESS 27 1

of hat !
t —
Red they got me for killin

I i a m il ton
H artigan

s p oI Se was perfect . He
m e rely hrugged
S .


That s a habit of theirs Le fty They

, .


g o t me for the same thing .

The dry humour of his remark an d the ,

f act that it was tim ed to break into a S i


l ence so tense as to be nerve wrecking
-
,

b rought involuntary sm iles to the faces of


a ll in the room The terribly grim humour
.

o f the S ituation could not fail to appear to

o verwrought nerves It was Rollins who .

broke in roughly as usual


, .

“ ”
A lot 0 rot ! he raved

Hartigan is .

th e man who done it an that s all there is


’ ’

,

to it !
D onaldson turned to Carroll .


What s that he s sayin chief ? D oes
’ ’ ’

he really think Hartigan done it ?


“ “
S O he says returned Carroll ,What .


do you think about it ?
“ ”
He s wrong came back D onalds on

,
272 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

e ctfully
r spe Y s ee chief I searched
.

, ,

Hartigan before the burglary an h e didn t ,


’ ’

p ack a rod at all .


You are quite sure of that ?
Posi tive .

How so ?
I searched him Y s ee I was in on it .

, ,

an d I wasn t runn in any Chances of rough


’ ’

S tu d — which is just what happened ”


.


The third m an concerned ; who was

A yegg they call Pal Conover ; yeller
as a dog He beat it when the thing
.


started scared sti ff He didn t have a .


gun either This here bird indicating
, .
,

Lefty Scamm on was the only one who ,

had one .

Scammon whirled on it .


That s a damned lie D onaldson an

, ,


you know it D idj a fin d a gun on m e ?
.

“ ”
Not after I caught you no returned , ,
“ ’
the ex butler
- But it wasn t SO h ard to
.

Chuck it away .
274 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

The whole business from the tim e y ou



first came here to work for Mr Hami lton . .

D onaldson seemed not at all ave rs e to


holding the centre of the stage He .

started deliberately and talked Clearl y and


distinctly throughout his story .


About a mon th ago the chief M r — , .

Carroll here sends for me ; I m working


-

in Chicago then He tells me that he s


.

been retained by this man H amilton to


gather evidence for some graft investiga
tion directed against the police force I m .


to work in Mr Hamilton s house as butler
.
,

him of course knowing that I m a tec


, ,
’ ’
.


I take the job my work bein to watch
,

an see that there ain t no attempt made


’ ’

to get away wi th a bunch of docum entary


evidence that Mr Hamilton has in his
.

safe ; evidence that ain t any too S weet ’

readin to certain eyes It se em in as



.

though th parties goin to be caught in


’ ’

th dragnet was wise that it was kept in


this house .
SIX SECON DS OF DARKN ES S 2 75

Things run along pretty easy for a


w hile an then I meets up with this guy

S cammon .Right away I spot hi m for a


c rook an I kno w he must have s om e th in
’ ’

u p his S leeve or he wouldn t be hangin


’ ’

a round an bu yin me drinks whenever we


’ ’

g o t alone together .

There ain t no special use in goin into


’ ’

d e tails of how I played this fis h for a sucker


-but the long and Short of it is that in

a bout two weeks I had him thinking I was

th e charter member of the independent

o rder of yeggs .


Then his proposition comes ; he don t ’

t ell me nothin about no graft investiga


t ion but he says that he s in with the police


— stool pigeon see — an that certain


,

p arties what is goin to be caught wrong’

i n this graft thing has framed up a bur


g lary .


O f course I knew what the y was after .

That there evidence Mr H amilton had .

was about all the written dope there


276 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

was O nce let the right ones get their


.

’ ’
hands on it an bu rn it up Hamilton an ,

his Civic Reform League would have m ade


fools outa thems elves tryin to prove any ’

thing .


S o Scammon tells me that this h e re
yegg job is under the protecti on of the
police department ; that him an Red Har ’

tigan an this here yeller dog Pal Con


over is goin to work ; me he lpin from the


,
’ ’

inside That s to make it look real see ?


.

Scammon says me an th other two can


’ ’

divide the boodle all he wants is s ome ,

papers outa th safe ’


.


Well sir a blind man could of seen
, ,

through that game It was too easy An . .


I wasn t tellin it to Mr Hamilton either ;


’ ’
.
,


me figurin whether I was right or wrong

—that he mig ht spill the beans when the


time come .


I framed the night myself ; Maggie was
out an I thought E thel was goin out too
,
’ ’

, .

She had asked for the evenin off an I


’ ’
,
278 SI X SECONDS OF DARKNES S

in

room He says he thi nks he he ars some
.

one in the livi ng room s o l walk i n there , .

I t s empty Mr H am i lto n an Mr H arrel


’ ’
, . .

s on bei n in the library SO I com e back



.

an tip Re d off he can s lip behi nd the s creen


in the livi n room an out thro ugh the win


’ ’


der which was h alf ope n which s am e he
,

s ays he ll do an I go upst airs to Mr H am


’ ’

, .

i lton s room to put th p apers back in th


’ ’ ’


safe .


What p ape rs ? The ques ti on came
from Comm i s s io ner H all .

Th evide nce Mr H am ilto n had


“ ’
. .

But I tho ugh t you s aid


O h ! Th at bunch th at Le fty Scammon
had ? Gee I ain t that so ft ! The s tufi
,

he got wasn t nothin but copies We s ti ll ’



.


f d !

g o t the ori gi nal s s a e an s o un



- -
O O oh ! A si gh of s urp ri s e we nt up
from somewhere in the room Donal dson .

ch uc kled s o ftl y and conti nue d



Tha t was whe re m y job e nde d I had .

al l the dope on the m en who w e re in the


SIX SECONDS OF DARKNESS 279

b h

b h d id hi b
’ ’
ro e r u n t e n t av n t n u t
y. y e o

some false dm ume nts that didn t do e m


' ’ ’

no good, on I had the name of the man


who was be hind the thing it wasn t s uch — ’

a hard j ob ge ttin that into. e ithe r



. Eve n
a c ro ok ll talk too much it you go at him


ri ght .

He pause d for as se cond .

"
But right the re was whe re thi ngs
S tarte d goin wrong All of u s udde n

.

th e re was two shots from the li vi ng room


un a sort of u c rush I mode it j ump for

.

the winde r, un while I looke d I see n lights


c ome on downstairs whe re e ve r thi n h d


y g a
be e n dark. on j us t the n some o ne shot

.

again from be hind that bush yonde r


s hout ti t y ft e e t away from the li vi d room -
d o or that ope ns o nto the veranda
An the n I see n it man runnin uway

r

irs t as he could travel


j “ ’
u s t u s f .

Ao . ge ntle me n, I m he re to swear by

e ve rythin in the world that th man who


’ ’

e d u on be s t it after firin that shot


j p
’ ’
u m p
280 SIX SECON DS OF DARKN ES S

was this here Mister Lefty Scammon ! I



could see him that plain in th moonlight ! ’

There followed fiv e seconds of stunned


silence Carroll broke in with his quiet
.
,

soothing voice

And after that ?

Well Sir I plumb forgot all about
, ,

E thel bein tied up in the attic I forgot



.

everything except that som e thin rotten ’

had happened Who Lefty had shot or


.

why I didn t know I beat it down th



.

front steps through the library an outa


, ,

the window to the veranda I scooted .


down past the door an looked in there ’

w as Miss E unice an Mr Harrelson



.

bendin o ver Mr Hamilton I knew no



. .
,

matter how bad he was hurt they d see he ,


got the best of attention My j ob was .


clear i t was up to me to catch Scamm on ,

an I lit a rag after him



.


An believe me this bird is som e e l u

, ,

sive kid ! An when I got him he put up a


fair good scrap for such a little fellow .


282 SIX SECON DS OF DARKN ES S

We ve got him haven t we R ollin s ?

,

The detective shrugged .


He says he didn t do it ’
.

“ ’
But we ve got the goods on him ; you ll ’

admit yourself that he hasn t got a chance ’

won t you

Rollins face flamed ’
.


I m adm ittin nothin

This is your
’ ’
.


case go handle it your own way .


I m afraid it s the Chair for you Scam
’ ’

,
” “
mon said Carroll sadly
, We ve got .

you where we want you an d we re going ,


to make you pay Rollins you see don t


.
, ,

want to say any thing officially because he


has resigned from the police force
“ ”
What s that ? gasped Scam mo n

.


It s a lie ! flashed Rollins

.

Carroll turned quietly to Hall .


This is the police commissioner Scam ,

mon Mr Hall didn t Rollin s resign his


. .
,


position on the force a few min utes back ?
Hall took his cue cleverly .

“ ” “
Yes he an swered promptly and his
, ,

resignation is accepted .
SIX SECON DS OF DARKN ESS 283

Rollins would have interrupted but ,

Carroll ordered him back S cammon .

turned large hunted eyes to him , .


You re tellin me th truth ? he
’ ’ ’


pleaded Honest t Gawd you ain t
.

“ ’
What I ve said is on the level , Scam
m on

It s a dirty lie from Rollins
’ p
.
:


It S the truth ! veri fied Hall

.


Then said Scammon simply there
, ,

ain t a ch an cs t for me an I m not gonna


’ ’ ’

be th goat S long s Rollins was th head



.
’ ’ ’

of the plain clothes squad I was ready to


-

take Chances but now there S ,


This tim e Rollins spoke He shook his .

fis t in the ratlike face of the little man .

You dam little runt ’

You can t scare me Rollins he said


, ,

quietly He turned to Carroll


. R ol .

l ins , here , is the m an who m urdered H am



il ton !
CHAPTE R XVI

N the face of a crisis a man will ex

courage o r cowardice And


b ibit .

Barrett Rollins accused at the


,

eleventh hour of a crime with which he had


apparently had no connection played his ,

rOl e well .

He did not bluster ; he did not shrink .

Instead he seemed suddenly cool al


,

though one might have noticed an occa
sio ual biting of his lips a twitching of his
,

huge muscular hands a furtive glance


, ,

from the corners of his little eyes .

F or Ro llins was co rnered The chain.

of evidence woven so cleverly by circum


stance around the other principals i n the
drama had suddenly wound its elf a bout
him With S cammon s accusation loose
.


ends of the S tory seemed to meet or al
234
286 SIX SECON DS OF DAR KN ES S


listen here Lefty if you can prove the
,

charge you ve just made you re in a fair


’ ’

way to get Clear of this murder charge .

Burglary you re in for whether or no ’

, .

Take my advice and come clean with the



whole Story Are you willing ?
.

The expression of the little fello w was


a lmost pitiful .


Sure I am Sir As I said sir I was n t
, .
, ,

s qu eal in on no pal

— s l ong s Rollins was
’ ’

on the force I knowed he d see me safe ’

through some way But maybe I d better .


tell all of it like it happened .


D yuh mean growled Rollins inter

,

rogati v e l y that you re gonna sit th ere an
,
’ ’


listen to his drivel ?
“ ’
Yes I guess we d better They ve all
, .

had a Chance to talk except Scammon GO .


ahead Lefty
, .

The little man pas sed a nerv ous hand


across his lips .


All th be ginn in of my story goes
’ ’


pretty well with what thi s fly cop indi ,
SI X SECONDS OE DAR KN ESS 287

ea tin g Donaldson said thing , . Only one


is di fferent ; th man who came to me with ’

the proposition was Chief Rollins yonder .

He said that Hamilton had some papers in


his safe which he wanted He seemed .


to know all about what they w ere an
all.

He said he wanted me to get a coupla


good yeggs an work the house Wanted ’
.

to make it look like th real thing see so s ’

,

when they found th stuff was gone they d ’ ’

th ink it had just been took accide ntallik e


wit th rest of th swag Th thing looked
’ ’ ’
.


pretty easy Specially after I managed to
,

strike up an acquaintance wit this here ’

guy I t ought he was th butler see ?


.
’ ’

Well he com es across elegant I was a


, .

boob for not knowin he was too easy but ’

h ow was I to know they was lookin for


j ust this kind of a move ?


“ ’
Him an Red Hartigan an Pal Con ’

o ver was to divide what they got I was .

to get th things Rollins wanted an meet


’ ’
288 SIX S ECON DS OF DAR KN ES S

him out yonder by that bush y see about ,


fifty or sixty feet beyond th porch door



.

O f course b avin th butler fixed it looked


’ ’

, ,

easy An there wasn t no chancs t for me


.
’ ’

to do Rollins dirt Cause he had th goods ,


’ ’


on m e for ano ther little job of mine an ,

he said he d send me up if I didn t come


’ ’

across fair an square Oh I ain t even ’


.
,

s qu e al in on him now because I want to


th Chief has always treated me right ; but


murder I won t fa ce for no man ’


.


— —
A ll what th butler D onaldson says ’

about th robbery happened just like that



.

I got down t th front hall an out into th


’ ’ ’ ’

garden It was pretty bright an I didn t


.
,
’ ’

have no trouble s p ottin th bush Rollins ’ ’

w as hid behind see ? I had th packet in



me pocket an I had my gun out ” ’
.


You had your revolver in your hand ?
Sure a 3 8 special wit one of the butt

.
,

plates busted I ha d took it out when I.

got t th bottom of th front stairs because


’ ’ ’

there was two fellers qu arre l l in hell bent



299 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

I hope he gets him ! Rollins was


‘ ’

sayin over an over again I hope he kills


’ ’ ‘
.


that Hamilton


Just then th lights went out flooie ! ’

j ust like that There was two shots or .


,

one I ain t sure which Then th lights


,

.

flashed on in about fiv e or six s econds .

There they was standin up kinder funny ,


an th young lady yonder had the revolver


’ ’

in her hand This geezer Hamilton was .

starin around like he didn t know what to


’ ’

make Of it an Rollins lets out a line of


,

cuss words that d of burned if you d Of ’ ’

touched a match to em ’
.

Missed him he says fierce lik e



By ,

, .

God I ll get him myself !


,
’ ’

“ ’
An with that he outs with his gat an

takes one crack at Hamilton An b lieve .


,

me mister when Rollins shoo ts he don t


, ,


usually miss not Often Take it from m e .
,

it wasn t no cold blooded murder he was


-

that excited an all Anyway w en I seen ’


.
,

Hamilton fallin b lieve me I didn t thi nk ’

,

,

SI X SECONDS OF DARKNESS 29 1

of nothin but makin a get away ! I drops


’ ’
-

m e gun hops to me feet an makes tracks
, ,

for Ri ver Street an I guess that s when ,


’ ’

this here D onaldson seen me because he ,

come after me right away An that s th .


’ ’ ’


truth .

Rollins filled his pipe from a well used


-

sack tamped it down with meticulous care


, ,

lighted it carefully and puff ed deeply two ,

o r three times When he spoke his voice


.

was quiet and inquiring rather than


bitter .


It looks like story tellin is th most
- ’ ’


pop lar indoor sport around here he

,

started slowly choosing his words with ,



evident care SO it s up to me to have
.

m y innin s an to explain how I know Har


’ ’


tigan done it and why I ve been insisting
,

o n that all along .


To go back a little ways y l l probably ,

remember th is m ornin when Carroll here ’

says that maybe I k now s om e thin about ’

th case I ain t tellin ? Yeh ? Well he


’ ’ ’

,
294 SI X SECO NDS OE DARKN ES S

if you shot from behind that bus h have ,

struck in the ceiling yonder where Miss


D uval s bullet hit

N0 you di dn t shoot .
,

Hartigan Rollins , .



I swear I did that s the truth if I ever ’


told it Carroll An after I shot I beat
, .


it right down to headquarters an they ,

just got th news in there an sent me


’ ’

up here wit Hawk ins an Cartwright’ ’


.

What s wrong wit that story ?


’ ’

“ ’
As a sto ry it s a dandy Rol l ins te , ,

turned Carroll calm l y I congratulate .


you on it But as the truth no thin g do
.


ing !
I s pose y can prove it ain t th truth
’ ’ ’ ’

,

huh ?

Yes certainly I can
, .


D o it then ! ,


All right how about this Perhaps
you did not know that we have down at
the police station the m an who shot
Re d Hartigan ! H is name is F re d erick

Badger .
296 SI X SECONDS OE DARKNES S

plan was to let it go 03 just like you


planned an d then make the whole thing
,

public The killing of Mr Hamilton


. .

changed those plans considerably .

You ve always had a reputation for b eing


hot headed ; a dozen times in your p olice


-

career you ve been on the carpet for s hoot


ing men without cause Scammon s story .


sounds true ; there s just one more link’


necessary would you m ind letting m e see

your revolver ?

Th hell with you ! I ll let yo u see
’ ’

n
noth ing .
o


D on t be foolish Rollins It will take

, .

us about three seconds to get it from you



forcibly Better fork over
. .

Rollins was trapped and he knew it .

With a very bad grace he handed his re ,

volver butt first to Carroll and Carroll


, , ,

exhibited it to the others It was a 38 . .

special with a broken butt plate .


Your revolver Scam mon ,

The burglar nodded .


SIX SECON DS OF DAR KN ESS 297



Yes I d know it in a million

.


Good ! And now gentlemen can t , ,

y o u see what happened ? Miss D uval s ’

b u llet lodged in the ceiling Mr Harrel , .

s o n n ever fired Badger Shot Hartigan


, ,

a n d Hartigan never had a gun Rollins .


,


i n a fit of fury o n e of the kind for which
h e is notorious and realizing that the crime
,

c ould be fastened on any one of thre e

o thers killed Hamilton


, .


Then when Rol lins was sent on the
c ase he planted his own revolver from ,

which one shot had been fired on Harti ,

gan A great case against the man don t


.
,

you see He kept the revolver Lefty


.

S cammo n had dropped It s really rather ’


.

simple after you ve got the facts before


ou — alth ough I admit freely Rollins


y , ,

that you had me completely fooled I .

started out with the idea that you had a


hand in it and I lost that idea It would
, .

have stayed lost perhaps if you had not


, ,

insisted so stubbornly that Hartigan was


298 SI X SECONDS OF DARKN ESS

the man who did it when I knew all the


time that H artigan s story must be tru e

.


And so gentlemen turning to the o thers
, , ,

I think that about ends our day s work ’
.

If you don t mind Rollins we ll slip the


, ,


bracelets on you .

Rollins held out his hands mildly and


the handcuffs were slipped over his w rists .


D o you wish to confess question ed
Carroll in his habitual kindly voice .

Rollins smiled with grim humour .


I ve been in this business too long to


confess to anything he ans w ered , .


Wh at you got against me you gotta

prove !

I guess we ll do that all right enough

Rollins .

An d now let s call it a day

.

T here are a few entries to be made o n the


blotter at headquarters .

Sergeant Larry O Brien turned on his ’

cot waked yawned and stretched himself


, , ,

l uxuriously His eye lighted on th e im


.
E M E RSO N H O U GH S N OVE LS '

h u m m u s m us - . m a m as -
w a nst.

T HE CO VERED W A GON
A n ep ic story of the Great W e st from which the fam
one p icture was made .

T HE WAY O F A MAN
A colorful rom anc e of the p ione e r West be fore the

T HE SA GEBRUS HER
A n Easte rn girl answe rs a m atrim onial ad and goe s . o ut

W est in the hills of Monts ns to find her ms te .

T HE WAY O UT
A romanc e of the feud districto f the Cumberland country .

T HE BRO KEN GA TE
A brok e n s ocial conve ntions and o f a wom an

story o f s

dete rm ination to p ut the p ast be hind he r .

T HE WA Y TO T HE W EST
D aniel Boone , D avy Crock ett and Kit Carson figure in
this story of th e op e ning o f th e W est .

H EART S ’
D ESI RE
T he story o f what hap pens when the railroad cam e to s

little settle m e nt in the far We st .

T HE PURC HASE PRI CE


A story o f Ke ntucky during the days afte r the Am e rican
R e volution .

GR O SSET 8s D UN LA P, PUBLI SH ERS NEW Y O R K ,


G
EORG DENS W
E W 0G ESTERN NOV
EIS

.

h u t s-m u t . “ sa t -m a m as

T H E BA RO N O F D I A M O N D T A I L

E dga r B arre tt, fre s h f ro m th e na was


so
was wro ng at th e ranch Th e tal e of -
ten e r foo t
.

b uck a ro oa a t th e ir own p lay wi ll s we ep you in to th


d
s al i en t wes ter n nov el .

T H E BO N D BO Y
Joe N
a n um b e r of
e wb ol t, b ou n d out b y force o f fa m il y con i ti ons to work for
is accuse d of m urd er an d ci rcu ms tances
d
t him
,

d
is m on th is s e al e ; h e cann ot, as a gen tl e m an, utter

in te re s t
d
.
.

th e wor s th at woul d el ear hi m A dram atic, rom anti c tal e of intense


.

C LA I M NUMB E R O N E

f b
d
to firs t ch oi ce of ri ch lan s on an I n ian res er va ti on i n y om ing It db d W .

m e ant a or tun e ; b ut efor e h e es ta lis h e his own ers h ip h e had s


h ard b attl e wi th croo k s an d poli ti cians .

T HE D UK E O F C H I MN EY B UTT E
W h en J
er r Lam b e rt,

th e D uk e ”
atte m pts to sa fe uard tb
g }
y b b
,

ca ttl e r an ch of Ph i l r ook fr om th i e vi n g n e ig h ors h i s work ?


eats
a p pa lli ng l ha n i ca p pe d e caus e o f dbrace Ke r , on e o f the chief
r G g
d
ta to ra, an s d ea d l y e n e m y of V a

s ta s A s tim ng tal e of rave de , b
b
.

u n - la an d a l o ve th a t s h i n e s a ov e all
g p y .

THE F LOC KMA STE R O F PO I S O N CR E E K

s h e e p lan ds .

T HE LA N D O F LA ST CH A NCE
J im
d Tim berl ak e an d Ca pt Da vi
S co tt w a
. i te d w i td
h res tless
d
th ous an s on th e Ok l ah om a li n e for th e s i gnal to as h aeross tho
d
b or er . H ow th e ci ty of V i ctor y arose ov erm gh t on th e p lains , how
d f d dd h “
h w
l l th i l i m i ns t t e s oo n r s o

g
e
p p
o
o
o d e
m
sa
e n
v a
a n
e
g y
d h a
e
d
e n
l
p ya
e
e p
e
o
r
li t
c
i
a
cs , m
s
a
a
k
g
e
a
s a s tro n g s tor y
e
o f
;
g ro w th
an d Am er ican ini tiah ve .

T RA I L S E N D

W was th e th e trail for thi rsty co b oy s wh o gave


e n d of
w
v en t to th e i r
not con ce rn
on
nt-u f
ee li ngs wi th o ut res trai n t C al vm Morgan was
d
wi th ts wi ck e nes s until S e th Cra oc k s m al evol ence

.

dd
d d
irecte i ts e lf agains t hi m
b
H e di d not e m e rge r om th e m ae ls trom
d . f
unti l h e h ad o li ter a te ev er y v es ti ge of l awle ss n es s , an d as s ured
f
h im s elf of th e s a e ty of a cer ta in ark -e y e gi rl d d .

As k ”C a p lets f re e lh l f
o G 6 D Popul¢r
. Copy rlglue d . Isa
PET E R B K Y N E S N O V E LS ’
.

n i c kna m -
es sa u c es “ . “ la m e n t ” .

T HE PRI D E O F PA O L MAR
Wh en two s trong m en clas h and the under-dog h as
n —
blood in his ve i s there s a tal e that xyne can tell l

"
the gi rl is also very m uch in e v
i dence .

KIND RED O F T HE D UST


Donald McKay son of H ector McKay, millionai re
,

her k ing , falls in lov e with N an of the S awd us t Pile , a
ch arm ing girl who has b
een os nacized by h er townafolk
'

L
T HE VA L EY O F T HE GIANTS
Th e fight of th e Cardigans , fath e r and son , to h old the
Valley of th e Giants agains t treach ery T he read er finis hes .

of h aving lived with b ig men an d wom en in a


b ig country .

CAPPY R I CKS
The story of old Cappy Ricks m d of Matt Peas b y , the
b oy h e tried to b reak b
ecaus e h e k new the acid te s t was

go o d for h is soul .

WEBST ER : MAN S MAN ’

b
I n a little Jim C row Rep u li c in Ce ntral America, a man

and a woman , h ai li n from th e State s , m et up wi th a
re voluti on and for a w le adventures and excite m e nt came
so thick and fas t that the ir love afiair h ad to wait for a lull
in th e gam e .

CAPTAIN SCRA GGS


Th is s ea y arn rthe adventures of th ree raps cal
e co un ts

lion s e a faring m e n a Captain S cr
- 3 , owner of th e green
b
vege ta le fre 1gh ter Magg I e , Gi ne y e m ate and McGufi b
ney th e e ngi nee r .

T HE LON G CHANCE
A sto fres h from th e h e art of th e West, of S an P ‘ s g ‘ l
e d d e se rt town , of H arley P H ennage , th e e si
-
b
a s un b
-

b
.

nb le r, th e e s t an d wors t m an of S an Pas qual and of


g ely Donna .

Gr os s e r D U N LA P , PUBLI S H ERS , Ne w You:


TAR! AN A ND T HE GOLDEN LION
A tale of th e Afri can wilde rness wfich appeals to all read e rs

TAR! AN T HE TERRI BLE


F urth er M g ad ve nture s of T arzan wh ile s e e kin g his wife

TAR! A N T HE UN TAM ED
v en ge ance for th e loss of h is wi fe and h om e .

JUNGLE TALES OF TAR! AN


R e cords th e m any wond e rful e xploits by
h is righ t to ap e kin gship .

A T T HE EART HS’
C O RE
in a world located insid e

T HE MUCKER
T h e s tory of Bil ly Byrne — as e xtraordinary a ch aracte r as th e

A PRIN CESS O F MARS


F orty-th r e e m illion m il es from th e earth a s ucce s s ion— of th c
wie rd s st and m os t as toundin g ad v enture s in fiction .

T HE GO D S O F MARS
Joh n Car te r s ad ve nture s on Mars , wh ere h e fights th e fe ro

e Godd ess of D eath


"
cious p lant m en , an d d efies I ss us . th .

T HE W ARLO RD OF M ARS

T HUVIA , M AI D OF MARS
Th e story ce nte rs around th e adve nture s of Carthoris , th e saw
of Joh n Carte r and Th a vis , d augh te r of a Martian E m pe ro r.

T HE '
C HESSMEN O F MARS
c re ature s with th e powe r d etach in g th eir h e ads from th eir
of
b od ie s and re pl acin g th em at wil l .

G R O SS E T 8c D UN A P, L Puau su m , NEW Y O RK
JA M ES O L I V E R C U R W O O D S

STO RI ES O F AD VEN TURE


h u m m u s -
n an “ M fu l rss s st t b s d n s l st
'

THE COUNTRY BEYO ND

L
THE F AMING FO REST

THE VALLEY OF SILENT MEN


THE RIVER S END
'

THE GOLDEN SNARE

NOMA DS OF THE NORT H

KA! A N

BAREE SON OF KA! AN


.

THE COURAGE OF CAPTAIN PLUM

THE DANGER TRAIL

THE HUNTED W O MA N

THE F LOW ER OF THE NO RT H

THE GRI! ! LY KING

ISO BEL

THE W OLF HUNTERS

THE GOLD HUNTERS

THE COURAGE OF MARGE O BOONE


'

BAC K TO GO D S COUNTRY
'

Ask for Complete f ree lis t of G . (9 D Popular Copy d gfil e d F iction


.

GRO SS E T D UN LA P, Puams n m s, N EW Y O RK
F LO R E N C E L B A R C L A Y S .

N O V E LS
i n h u m an e n - us . u n i -
s su l fi d e “ .

T HE W H IT E LAD I ES OF WO RCES TER

tollow .

T HE UPAS TREE
ch arm . I t deals with a suc ce ss ful

TH RO UGH T HE PO STERN GATE

bf
e or e the

T HE RO SARY
Th e sto of a artis t who is re nted to love b ea
b
a ove all e in S
e world , b ut who , w en b lind e d th ro g
an acci de nt, gai ns life s greates t h app iness

A
b
.

of th e great as s i on of two real op le s up er ly


p
b ve its s acn fices and its es ce e g dih
rew ard .

TH E M ISTRESS O F S HENSTONE
Tfi I e y
e myI
ov oun ng e l By rece n ay widowed
by the
d th f h b
,

ea o a whus an o nev er und e rs tood h e r , m eets a fine ,


cle an yo chap who is ignorant of h er titl e and th ey fall
d eep ly in e with e ach other Wh en h e learns h er
.

identi ty a s ituation of s ingular power is deve lop ed .

T HE BR O K EN H AL O

wh ite lady , many years older than hims elf, to


pas s ionate ly d evoted .

T HE FO O W ING O F T HE STAR
LL

com e to love each oth e r and are reunited after exp eri ences
that soften and p urify .
ET H E L M . D E LL S

N O V E LS
l u k hs l atsrm r l ss l s m ss l‘ . M t C M '
as o u

C H ARLES REX
T he struggle against a hidde n se c ret and the love of a

s trong m an and a courage ous woman .

T HE T O P O F T HE W O RLD
T e lls o f th e which leads at las t to the
p ath top of t eh

world, which it is gi ve n to few se ek e rs to find .

T HE LAM P IN T HE D ES ER T
T e lls o f th e lam p o f love th at co ntinues to shine through
all sorts o f tri bulations to final happ ine ss .

GR EATH EART
T he s to ry o f a cripp e l whose de form e d body c onceals

a b
no le s oul .

T HE H UN DRED TH C HAN CE
A he ro who work e d to win e ve n whe n there was only

a hun dre dth c hanc e .


bad m an

T he sto ry of a s soul re vealed by a
faith

wo m an 8 .

T HE TI DAL W AVE
Tl a e s of lo ve and o f wom e n wh o learne d to know the
true fro m the fal s e .

T HE SA FETY CUR TAIN


A ve ry vivid love story o f India T he volum e
. als o

c ontai ns four o th e r long stories of e qual inte re st .

GROSSET D U
N LA P, P U BLI SH ERS, N EW You:
ELEA N O R H PO RT ER S N O V E LS

T he tale o f a loveable boy and the p lace he com es m


fill in th e he arts o f th e gru ff farm e r folk to whose cars In
is le ft
.

T HE RO AD TO UND ERSTAND IN G
A com p e lling ro m an ce o f love an d m arriage .

Stanley Fulto n , w e
a a lthy a c h e lor, tb
o te st th e disposi
tio ns o f h is re latives , s e nds th e m e ac h a c heck fo r
000, and the n as p lain John S m ith com es am on g the m to
watch the re sult o f h is exp erim e nt .

SIX STAR RANC H


A who le so m e story o f a c lub o f s ix girls and th e ir sum
m e r o n Six Star Ranch .

DAWN
T he story of blind boy whos e c ourage le ads him
a
through the gulf o f de sp ai r into a final victo ry gaine d o,
de dicating his life to th e s e rvic e of lin d soldie rs b .

AC RO SS T HE Y EARS
Short storie s o f our own kind and o f our own p e op le
Contains so m e o f the b e st writing Mrs Porte r has done
.

T HE TANGLED THR EADS


I n th e s e storie s w e fin d the conc e ntrated ch arm an !
te nde rne ss o f all h e r oth e r ook s b .

T HE T IE THAT BIN D S
l nte ns e ly hum an storie s told with Mrs Porte r s wo n .

derfui tale nt for warm an d vivi d characte r drawing .

GROSS ET D U N LA P , P U B LI S H ERS , NEW You


GRA C E LI V I N GST O N H I LL

h h fl m fl fl “ M b d u

BE ST MAN, T HE

CLOUDY JE WE L

DA WN o r T HE MO RNI NG

E NCHA NT E D BAR N, T HE

EX I T B ETT Y

GI R L F R OM MO NT A NA . T HE

LO, MI CHA E L I

MA N OF T HE D E S E RT . T HE

MA R CIA SCHUYLE R
MI RA N D A
MYST E RY OF MA R Y . T HE

O BSE S S ION O F V I CT OR I A GRA CE N,

PHOE B E DE AN E

R E D S I GNA L. T HE

SE A R C
H, T HE

T RY ST , T HE

VO I CE I N T HE WI LD ER NES S , A

WIT NE SS , T HE

M -
far Ca npld e f ree lisq G 6 D Popular
. .
W Fm

GROSSET D UN P
LA ,