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                 A Story of the White City_

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

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

                        CHICAGO CHARLIE,
                    THE COLUMBIAN DETECTIVE

                         CHAPTER I.

                    A MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR.

A HEAVY-FACED, beefy man, English by birth, but whose
features had such strong suggestions of the German that one
could not doubt he was an Englishman of German ancestry,
approached the door of a room, over which hung a small gilt
sign showing it to be the office of John Malcomb, broker.

   He advanced hesitatingly, as if he doubted the kindliness
of his reception.

   His timid knock on the door bringing no response, he rung
the bell.  Lightly at first; then so loudly that its echoes
smote through all the corridors.

   No one appeared in response, and he turned away.

   He was back again in a quarter-of-an-hour; only to meet
with the same experience.  John Malcomb was not in; or if
in, he had no desire to see visitors.

   "The hoddest thing Hi've met with in a fortni't!" the
Englishman with the Germanic features soliloquized.  "John
Malcomb 'asn't the 'abit hof being late.  No prompter man
hin Chicago, so Hi've told 'im.  Hand 'ere 'e isn't down
yet!  Bejove!  Hi b'lieve Hi'll call ha policeman!"

   Before doing so, however, he mounted to the top of a
stout step-ladder, which he found conveniently near, and, at
the imminent risk of breaking his fat neck--for the ladder
trembled and groaned under him as if in pain--he climbed to
the transom over the office door and looked in.

   He climbed down again in great precipitation, and at even
greater risk, his red face turning a sickly yellow.

   Picking up the high hat, which had been knocked off, he
stood for as much as ten seconds rubbing it vigorously with
a red handkerchief, not knowing what he was doing;--then he
mopped his heated face with the same handkerchief, jammed
the hat back into place, and tottered down the stairway as
fast as his ponderous legs would carry him.

   He did not stay so long as before.  He was back within 
five minutes; and at his heels strode a policeman.

   "What cause have you for thinking there's something
wrong?" the policeman was asking, and it was noticeable that
there was a suspicious, and even an anxious, note in the

   "Hi don't think ha man would tumble down has 'e seems to
'ave done, sir!  Not unless 'e 'ad the 'eart disease hor the
hapoplexy, which Hi'm afraid hof hevery minite hof my life. 
I suppose you 'aven't hany fears hof those 'orrors?"

   "Not at all!" and the officer gave the Englishman a
distrustful glance--a glance that seemed causeless.

   They were at the door, now; and, after trying the knob,
the policeman applied a key to the lock.

   The key refused to turn; when, without more ado, he
thrust his shoulder against the door, and, with a strong
surge, forced it inward.

   A startled look overspread the officer's face.

   On his back, motionless and dead, with right arm
out-stretched and finger extended, lay John Malcomb, the

   It needed but a glance to show that the extended finger
had endeavored to trace in blood on the wall some message or
word of information--something that should furnish a clue to
the murderer, for there could be no doubt that Malcomb had
been slain.

   He had been stabbed in the back, and had used as ink the
blood which had flowed from the wound!

   The Englishman seemed as much stupefied and 
horror-stricken as the officer, and stared at the tracings
on the wall with a fear-filled and watery eye.

   "What do you make hof it?" he questioned, in a shaky

   The officer did not immediately answer, but stooped down
and held a magnifying glass over the letters made there by
the now stiffened finger.  The letters were run together and
the words almost indecipherable.  But this he managed to
spell out, after much study.

  "MURDERED BY ---------------"

   There had been an obvious attempt to write the name of
the murderer, or a portion of it; but death had touched and
palsied the finger before the task was completed, and the
only result was a network of meaningless lines and circles.

   There was not a keener man on the Chicago force than
Charlie Clingstone, better known to his friends and admirers
as Chicago Charlie, yet all his keenness and experience
failed him here; and when he again looked at the Englishman,
there was not only distrust in his glance, but an indication
of deepest pain.

   "Walesey, when did you see John Malcomb last?"

   The inquiry so startled the man that his fat legs shook
under him.  He was not less surprised that the officer, who
was wholly unknown to him, should thus familiarly address

   "I believe you spoke of an appointment?" still fixing the
trembling Englishman with his keen glance.

   "Not han happointment, sir!  You mishunderstood me!  

   "When did you see him last?  Mind, now, if you don't tell
the truth, I'll know it sooner or later!"

   "Walesey," as he had been called, lifted his hands and
protested vehemently that he had no knowledge of how the man
came by his death.

   "That is not the question!"

   "Well, then, sir, Hi met 'im last night."

   "In this office, too!"

   "'Ow did you know that?"

   "John Malcomb did not always take the trouble to sweep
his office, and he employed no office boy to do it for him. 
You see that dust over there in the corner?  There's your
footprint in it, and you haven't been in that corner since
we came in together!"

   "Walesey" shivered as he looked at this mute evidence.

   "I'm not accusing you of anything!" and Chicago Charlie
turned from the writing to an inspection of the dead man. 
"I just want you to speak the truth, whenever I ask you a
question.  John Malcomb has been foully murdered.  Anyone
can see that; and I'm determined to find who killed him."

   "I don't know ha thing habout it, 'pon honor!"

   The officer gave no heed to the protest, but quietly went
on with his examination.

   What had been a pool of blood was now nothing but a
suggestive stain, made black by hardened blood clots.  The
soaked coat was almost dry, showing the crime to have been
committed some hours before.  In addition, there were
indications that a ring had been taken from one of the dead
man's fingers.  But nothing had been taken from the room.

   He saw that if the Englishman had been in the room at the
time, it was as an accomplice or principal, for some one
else had also been there.  And that other person was a
woman!  There were prints of small shoes, and at one place
the tips of small fingers had left their impress in the dust
on a table!

   He took a tape measure from his pocket, jotted down in a
note-book the length of the shoes, the appearance of the
finger prints, and made memoranda of the other indications
in the room.

   Then he threw up a window and called to a brother officer
in the street.

   "You will take charge here for a few minutes, Mangle!" he
said, when that officer came into the room.  "See that
everything remains just as it is.  I shall be back in a few
minutes.  There has been murder done here, and we must get
at the bottom facts."

   Having delivered these instructions, he telephoned to the
central police station, and turned toward the door.

   The Englishman was still standing there, as if not
knowing what to do.

   "You are at liberty, Walesey.  I think I can put my hand
on you, should you be needed.  There will be a coroner here,
though, in a little while, and I'd advise you to attend the
inquest and tell all you know, and thus free yourself from
any possible suspicion.  The fact that you were here with
Malcomb the night of his death will surely be looked into."

   He passed into the corridor and ran down the broad

   He hesitated on emerging into the street, and then turned
resolutely toward John Malcomb's residence, taking a car at
the nearest corner.

   It has been said that Chicago Charlie seemed much
distressed by the discovery that Malcomb had been murdered.

   The look of distress deepened on his face.

   There was abundant occasion for it, too.

   There was not a fairer girl in Chicago (at least Chicago
Charlie thought so) than Daisy Malcomb, the daughter of the
dead broker.

   More than that, the young and popular officer and the
broker's daughter were on terms of peculiar intimacy.  They
were lovers!  The fact that John Malcomb had not looked with
favor on the officer's suit, did not in anywise change these
facts.  Chicago Charlie had wooed pretty Daisy Malcomb, and
had won her heart, in spite of the objections of her father.

   He smiled grimly when the thought crossed his mind that
possibly this peculiar state of affairs might bring down
suspicion on his own head.

   Suddenly a white look rested on his face, and he hastily
quitted the car.  He strove to put away the thought that had
come to him.  Nevertheless, he walked back toward the
broker's office, and sought the man who had nightly charge
of the big building.

   "Your room looks out on the corridor leading to Malcomb's
office," he began.  "Did you chance to be here last

   "All the evening, sir!  I was not feeling well.  I went
down to the street door once, and once I went to the floor

   "Did you see any woman enter Malcomb's office, or go that

   "I did, sir!  Malcomb's daughter!  She went up there
about nine o'clock."

   "Any other?"

   "None, sir!"

   "Did Malcomb leave the office when she did?"

   "No, sir.  She went away alone."

   "One question more: How long did she stay?"

   "I cannot tell you that.  I do not remember!"

   "That will do.  I may have some further questions for you
after awhile."

   He was about to say more, but when he saw the man staring
at him in wonderment, he turned away and again descended to
the street.

   His brain was in a whirl.  He knew, in his own mind, that
Daisy Malcomb was incapable of such a deed, and yet he saw
what the evidence might lead to!

   "I must see the inspector at once!" and he groaned aloud,
"My God! it will never do for any one else to be detached
for this case!"

   Then he called a cab and was driven furiously away.

                  CHAPTER II.


BUT FOR his great desire to obtain an immediate interview
with the inspector, Chicago Charlie would probably have
hastened to the woman he loved, even though he dreaded the
effect of the necessary revelation.  John Malcomb had not
been in all respects a model man; nevertheless, his daughter
loved him, and the knowledge of his murder would come to her
as a terrible shock.

   The officer's heart bled, as he thought of her and of the
mental anguish she must be called on to suffer.  The vehicle
swayed and jolted, but he did not know it; and, even though
he looked out on the houses, he did not see them.  He set
his teeth hard, and muttered:

   "I will save her from even the breath of suspicion, if it
be possible!  Dear girl!  She will have enough to bear. 
That would completely crush her!"

   He aroused from his meditations, when the cab stopped and
he saw that he had reached his destination.

   The news of the finding of the body of John Malcomb, who
had been murdered in his own office, was already in
possession of the inspector, when Chicago Charlie entered
the inspector's room.

   "Ah! you have come to make a personal report on the
Malcomb case!"

   Chicago Charlie had counted much on the fact that he was
personally known to the inspector and had more than once
received recognition at the hands of his superior.  His eyes
lightened now, for the tone was kindly and even cordial.

   "Sit down, and tell me all about it!" and the inspector
waved him to a seat.

   It took but a few words for the young officer to acquaint
the inspector with the extent of his discoveries and

   "And now I have a request to make!"

   The inspector glanced at him keenly.

   "The evidence, as I have shown, all goes to prove that
the crime was committed by a woman.  And a young woman, or
one not advanced beyond the period of middle life, for the
impress of fingers in the dust of the table showed them to
have been firm and smooth.  The fingers of an elderly lady
would have shown wrinkles or marks indicative of her age."

   The inspector nodded.  He liked this exhibition of keen
insight.  Still, the puzzled look remained.

   "There is one woman on whom suspicion will likely fall,
who I know is as free from this bloody stain as an angel of
paradise.  That is the dead man's daughter, Miss Daisy
Malcomb.  She was seen at the office, or going in that
direction along the corridor, about nine o'clock last night. 
I have this from the janitor.  He saw no other woman go that
way, though that proves nothing.  A dozen might have gone
without him observing them.  He confessed he did not know
when Daisy left the office: so you see he was not as alert
as he pretended to me to be."

   "You had all this in reply to your questions?"

   The puzzled look still remained.

   There was an answer in the affirmative.

   "May I ask you why you prefer to be assigned to the case?
We have many good men--men who have shown their
capabilities.  You have your own particular field.  Another
would have to be sent to take your place!"

   Chicago Charlie had thought the matter all out, during
the ride in the cab, and was prepared with his reply.  He
was resolved to hold back nothing.

   "It is very true.  My reasons will be plain to you, when
I say that Daisy Malcomb, the young lady who is likely to
unjustly fall under suspicion, is my promised wife!"

   The inspector was amazed, and showed it.  He did not
immediately reply, but looked hard at the carpet, and chewed
at a bit of match which he fished from a vest pocket. 
Finally he spoke:

   "Only that I know you so well, Mr. Clingstone, I should
instantly tell you that your request is a most preposterous
one.  The worst possible man, ordinarily, to put on a case
like this, would be the lover of the woman who is liable to
be suspected.  Naturally, he would desire to shield her, and
would be tempted to suppress anything tending to show her
guilt.  Is not that a fair inference?"

   The young officer could not evade so direct a thrust.  He
flushed but not in anger.

   "It is!"

   "You will understand how highly I regard you, then, when
I say I will seriously consider your proposition.  You are a
man of your word.  I say this, because I shall ask a promise
of you."

   "Name it!"

   "Before even thinking seriously of this matter, I must
have your pledged word of honor that if anything occurs to
cause you to doubt the innocence of this young lady you will
instantly report it to me."

   "You have my promise!"

   Chicago Charlie gave his word freely, for he was sure
nothing of the kind, more than had already been reported,
could occur.

   "Now," and the officer seemed to desire to turn from the
subject, "what do you know of this Englishman, of whom you
have spoken?  Do you think he may have been an accomplice?"

   "It is possible!  I have formed no theory, yet.  I know
the fellow fairly well.  He is a wealthy chap, not the
brightest in the world, and is traveling about as fast a
gait as any one of so sluggish a disposition can.  His name
is Selwyn Fisher, though he is usually called 'Walesey,' or
'The Prince,' which he much prefers to his own name.

   "He claims to have been a big man in the tight little
island beyond seas, and that he was once granted audience by
the Prince of Wales.  Hence the name was given him by his
associates.  He is a lover of fast horses, gambling, and all
the other things that usually go with them.  He spends his
money like water, and drinks like a fish.

   "He confessed that he was in Malcomb's office last night;
though, in spite of the suspicion that might arise because
of it, I don't think he has the nerve for such a deed.  He
trembled this morning at the bare suggestion.  He is a man
to run away as fast as his chubby legs would carry him;--not
at all the man to wield a knife or pistol.  Of course, that
is only my opinion!"

   "And your opinion is what I wanted."

   Again the inspector chewed the cud of reflection, while
the young officer sat uneasily before him.

   When he looked up, it was in a manner to show that the
interview was at an end.

   "You will be needed at the inquest, which will be held
now in a few minutes.  After I hear what there develops, I
will consider your suggestion.  Come again this evening, and
you shall have my answer; and my reasons for it, should I
decide against you!"

   Chicago Charlie thanked him for this mark of favor, and
sought a cab as soon as he was in the street, giving to the
driver the number of John Malcomb's office.

   Would the inquest develop anything new?  The desire now
nearest his heart seemed to rest its fulfillment on the
result of the coroner's examination.

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

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