Слике страница
PDF
ePub

SOME ADVENTURES OF THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE

III-GET YOUR MAN

BY KATHERINE MAYO
AUTHOR OF “ JUSTICE TO ALL," THE STANDARD AUTHORITY ON STATE POLICE

[ocr errors]

When once you start after a man, you must get him.--John C. Groome, Super

sharpest for their deadly enmity is the crime against women intendent Pennsylvania State Police.

fouler, as they hold, even than murder itself. TT began toward the end of January, when the snow lay deep The moon was mounting a sparkling sky. The snow sang

on the hillsides, and when as the smut-faced miners came under flying hoofs. The keen, dry cold made almost a perfume

out of the shafts at night bitter winds caught and bela in the air. bored them, wearily floundering along their homeward way. “She mustn't die before we get there, boys,” exclaimed Mauk, Winter up there in western Pennsylvania strikes hard, and it and, as his words smoked a cloud behind his head, the three is all a man can do to earn his daily bread and take his meager lifted their hardy little range horses into greater speed. comfort of it. He needs no extra burden. Life itself weighs Into the open country they rode, over routes where few had heavily enough.

passed before them since the last deep fall of snow, and so into But bad hearts ignore chivalry. Out of some cave of slime the street of a tiny“ mine-patch " settlement, and to O'Hagan's had crept men mean enough to rob the poor. For four weeks

door. running, on pay-day night, unidentified scoundrels had waylaid It was a ramshackle door in a ramshackle “ company house,” the workmen on the lonely roads and, at the point of knife or down at heel, out at elbow, dirty-faced, and unashamed after a gun, had taken their envelopes from them, Or, missing their long succession of tenants who cared for none of these things. prey in the open, they had entered and rifled the bare little But Mary O'Hagan, decent woman that she was, had kept her homes. Sometimes, even, they had boldly done their work in place clean within, and the room into which the troopers stepped the very streets of the villages, snatching the whole fruits of was as tidy as one pair of hard-working hands could make it. the week's hard toil and departing before their paralyzed victim That room was full now-full of keening women, crouching could recover wit to resist.

with their aprons over their heads; of men, silent, stiff-mouthed, United Mine Workers men and laborers in the zinc and stormy-faced ; of frightened children, staring from their mothers' chemical plants were the principal sutferers. For a while knees. they bore it sheep fashion, in the thought that the curse would “ Where's O'Hagan ?" asked Corporal Mauk, as he crossed pass. But when week after week their all was taken from the threshold. them, and it became clear that the thing had settled to a steady It was a gray-haired Scottish foreman who answered. gait, then they revolted, demanded protection under the law, "O'Hagan's ben th’hoose wi' his wife," said he. “Hurry doon. called for help-help from the State police.

mon. He's wearied waitin' on ye.' Adams, Captain of A troop, received their complaint and Mauk strode across and knocked at the inner door. It opened acted according to the way of the force. Determining at once quickly and closed after him. Twenty minutes passed before the practical center of trouble, he fixed a sub-station there. he emerged. Then, with a nod of farewell, he would have left The little town of Langeloth was the point that he chose. To the house. that town be sent three men --Corporal Mauk, with privates But women caught at his blouse skirt, men laid hand on his Nicholson and McCormick, under orders to catch the robbers, arm. Doctor and soldier in one they knew all State troopers to and, while they were at it, to clean up the place.

be. They must hear the word. The three officers settled themselves in their new quarters “ Will Mary die ?” cried a girl. very much as a bird lights on a new branch. Then they jumped The corporal looked at her strangely. “Maybe it would be into their job.

better so," said he. Entirely aside from the robberies, they found, the place would From the women a long, low wail went up. From the men a take quite a bit of cleaning up. It was interesting to see how sort of shapeless curse. many citizens, whether of the villages or of the open country "Div yez know who done ut? Can yez find um ?” a burly round about, brought to their door tales of wrong and pleas for Celt rapped out. redress, knowing that succor lay now within reach. This one " That's my job,” the trooper replied, and with the ring of complained of a purveyor of cocaine, that other of a disor. his speech every man in the room was his brother. derly house, a third reported a butcher who sold diseased beef Once outside and alone with his comrades the corporal reto the people. And so on, with pleas and responses, until Sat peated the description that he had been able to draw from urday came--pay day, bringing with it its special occasion. Mary O'Hagan's tormented mind.

Now what the three troopers did in Langeloth on that par. “ It should be fairly easy,” was Nicholson's comment. ticular Saturday, the 26th of February, mattered a good deal

“ Thank God it's no easier!" Mauk rejoined. “Or O'Hagan to the people of Langeloth, but matters to this story not at all. would be a murderer before this night is done.”

This story begins with the evening of February 27, Sun No need to tell in detail how they sifted their matter down, day, when the news came screaming over the sub-station wire or how, within two hours, they had learned to a practical cer. that Mary O'Hagan, a Langeloth miner's wife, had been bru- tainty that one Adolph Ofenloch, an Austrian miner, was the tally assaulted and afterwards beaten by a man unknown, and man they sought. The thing is a method-a science. They are that she now lay in her own home near death.

doing it all the time. You can pick your man out of a comCorporal Mauk and his two comrades were sitting at supper munity as a conjurer picks a card from the pack-once you when the telephone rang. McCormick jumped up to answer, know how. taking the message in the steady, methodical way that the Ofenloch lived in a miner's boarding house in a settlement force employs. But as he returned to report to his corporal some few miles beyond. Thither the troopers betook themselves. his eyes gleamed with a cold fire.

“Ofenloch ain't in yet," said the sleepy landlord, standing in Without a word Mauk and Nicholson sprang up, leaving the his doorway, candle in hand. half-finished meal. Snatching their caps, all three men tramped “But I'll just take a look all the same," said Mauk. out of the room. Five minutes later the drum of their horses' “ Sure!” the other assented, leading the way. feet had died on the outer dark.

Search revealed that the man had told the truth. Ofenloch They might have waited to finish their meat? But they wait was not in that house. But it revealed another point of more for nothing, these lads of the “Black Hussars.” And, besides, cheering character: Ofenloch's trunk was in the

house, and in the one crime in all the catalogue of crimes that stands out that trunk the sum of three hundred dollars in United States

currency. The first of these stories, “ John G.," appeared in The Outlook of March 20, and the second, “ Hot Weather," in that of March 27.

“He's hiding out, now,” remarked the corporal. “ And he'll

try to make his getaway. But he'll never leave without this roll. McCormick as he leaped over the body and out through the ple'll be here after it later in the night.”

door. So the three settled down in the boarding-house kitchen to But the corporal's eyes needed also their second of time to wait.

adjust themselves. Passing so suddenly from lamplight into The place was wretched enough. A faint feather of steam darkness, he tripped on some miserable thing in the ash-pile by rising from the spout of a rusty iron kettle on the dilapidated the steps, stumbled, and fell

. As he fell and rolled, his holster stove made its single livelier note. Otherwise the battered table ripped away from his belt, the revolver dropped out, and in the with its dirty cloth, the crippled chairs, the few ruinous dishes moment of fumbling that followed he could not lay hand on the that shared the shelf with the sharp-voiced clock, the foul floor, weapon among the rubbish into which it had plunged. the scrawled and grimy walls, and two glaring, naked chromos Meantime he heard the beat of the Negro's steps #ying in fly-specked frames, composed its graceless whole. A soot farther and farther into the night. smudged reflector lamp, its wry wick feebly smoking, revealed " Better get the darky than the gun!" argued Mauk, and the scene; but, as the visitors at once made certain, the window forthwith suited his action to the thought. curtains, wrecks though they were, effectively shut it away from The Negro, a limber six-footer, was running for his life. And the outer world.

he had a long start. But the trooper, as it happened, was rin Silently the three men watched while their host slept, his ning for something just a little dearer than life—for the honor head on the table, buried in his arms. Now and again came a of the force. And he gained on that darky. shuffle on the step. Each trooper, at the sound, would spring to The Negro struck a clean, straight-away course over the the sharp edge of readiness. Then the door would open while moon-flooded plain. Perforce he must trust to speed, for no some drunken miner stumbled in, half blindly seeking his accus where did any cover offer. tomed bed.

On they raced, the two of them. And, though he took no Most of them were submerged too far to notice the presence precious time to look behind, the fugitive knew that his pursier of strangers in the room. Some floundered upstairs to their was gaining. mattresses. The rest, unequal to that effort, dropped where they Suddenly he wheeled. stood, succumbed to the heat of the room, and slept. Little by “Surrender!" called Mauk-Mauk with empty hands to the little the air choked with thick, sickening odors and strange blood-stained criminal aiming a gun. unhuman noise.

“No!” shouted the black man. “I've killed one State trooper It was the ancient, accustomed finale of the thing that begins to-night. I'll never be taken alive. You go next !" and he fired on “good old Saturday night.” In its midst the three clean-cut Mauk dropped to the ground as the trigger fell. The bullet, young

soldiers stood out like three bright steel lances against a sang over his head. Once more the Negro was running. heap of mud.

“ He'll have loaded every chamber before he knocked at the Mauk, almost six feet tall, heavily built, and fine-looking, had door,” thought Mauk. “ Four shots left." been a school teacher in earlier days, after the famous old Lin And the race began again. colnian plan by which a man delves in the lumber camps or on Steadily, steadily, the trooper crept up, with each jump nearthe farm between school sessions and sits up half the night to ing a little. But the big black, though he could not keep hit read law and the classics the whole year through. Now the lead, was good for yet much distance. Nearer, yet a trifle force had contributed soldierly discipline to the making of an nearer, the voice of the singing snow rose on his ear. all-round man. Nicholson and McCormick were sturdy vari A second time he swung round, threw his gun

down at aim, ants of the type. And there they sat, watching and waiting and fired, his loutish figure outlined clearly by the moon and while the clock on the shelf ticked into the smallest hour. the luminous snow. Å second time, helped by the brilliant

Now and again some sleeper, waking and dimly troubled by light, Mauk seized the nick of the instant to drop, eluding the presence of strange guests, would pull himself up and stum death. ble toward the door.

“Three left," the trooper counted, and sped again after his “ Better go to sleep again,” Mauk would advise, laying a speeding quarry. friendly hand on his shoulder. “None of us are quitting here But now, with the distance between them ever lessening, came just yet.”

sooner the moment when the quarry dared risk no more. Ile And so the half-stupefied man, soothed out of his hazy notion, fired from a range of fifteen paces. But the corporal, Heaven would once more subside. Outward-bound news was contraband favoring, dodged and escaped as before. that night.

“ Two,” reckoned Mauk, scarcely losing his stride's length. The sharp-voiced clock marked a quarter after one.

Up to this point their course had lain straight outward from "He'll be along soon," muttered McCormick.

its starting-place. Now, however, across the otherwise feature “ Click-click-click-click,” snapped the clock ; “ click less field, showed a long, low inequality, the shape of a fence

, click"

weed-draped and clogged with snow. And the line of that fence

, On the cold snow outside a step came creaking--a heavy running at right angles with the course, formed the second step, but swift and steady, unlike all those others, vague and side of a triangle. shambling, that had neared the door before.

“ He'll take to that for cover,” muttered the corporal

. The three exchanged glances. Their bodies bent forward as With the notion he somehow let out another link, speeding their feet slid back.

up. “If only I can get my two hands on him," he thought

. A sharp knock

never mind that I have no gun!” Automatically the boarding house keeper shifted his head Close to the fence the black man turned again. Mauk

, now within the pillow of bis arms. His face was creased deep with so near that the powder splashed his cheek, jerked aside, avoid the pattern of his jersey. His eyes remained tight shut. • Come ing the bullet. In a flash the fugitive cleared the rail

. But the in," he called, in a sleep-drowned voice.

trooper, leaping after, and almost at grips, by evil fortune The door opened. In the threshold stood a man-not Ofen- caught his foot in a sprawling tangle of snow-hidden barbed loch, not the worse-than-murderer, but a very big Negro, swing wire. He fell heavily. ing a most portentous gun.

After the manner of barbed wire everywhere, the tangle Hands up, everybody!" he shouted.

spread itself out, wreathed itself, crawled like a live thing. In the first instant, light-dazzled, the newcomer had seen clutching and holding with its myriad impish claws, while the only the sleepers groveling on the floor.

victim struggled in the midst of it. When at last he broke free. But as all three troopers jumped to grapple with him. Nichol the Negro had already established an ominous lead. son first, he looked up with an oath, fired point-blank, and “Which we'll cut again,” thought Mauk, and chased after

, sprang backward into the dark.

Meantime, back in the boarding-house, Private McCormick Two paces distant, and the aim at the heart! Poor Nicholson no small honor to discipline, sat alert and alone among the pro sank down without even a groan,

trate and snoring crew. How little, how very little, he wanted The corporal, behind, scarcely glanced at him.

to sit there, Heaven knew! But orders are orders. And, men Mack, you stay back here and get the mom,” he called to over, he, too, had to get his man. Afterwards he thought

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

(c) UNDERWOOD & UNDERWOOD

A TEST TO DETERMINE THE PROSPECTIVE AVIATOR’S SENSE OF BALANCE AND DIRECTION Candidates for admission to the Aviation Corps go through a strenuous examination as to their fitness for the service. The picture shows one of the tests. The candidate is whirled about in the chair ten times in ten seconds, his eyes blindfolded. Then he must try to touch the examiner's hand with his forefinger. The manner in which he performs this feat indicates his sense of balance and direction, which must be keen and unimpaired in aerial flight

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]
[graphic]

BAIN NEWS SERVICE

BAIN NEWS SERVICE

JOSEPH E. DAVIES, DEMOCRAT

IRVINE L. LENROOT, REPUBLICAN

SENATORIAL CANDIDATES IN WISCONSIN The Senatorial primaries in Wisconsin have attracted National attention and discussion because of their relation to the issue of loyalty in the war. Both Mr.

Davies and Mr. Lenroot represent the loyalist element. See editorial comment

[graphic][merged small][merged small]
« ПретходнаНастави »