ANTONIO SPATOLA APPEARS
Ashton-Kirk and Pendleton were admitted
to the cell room at the City Hall without question;
but a distinct surprise awaited them there. Through
a private door leading from the detectives’ quarters
they saw the bulky form of Osborne emerge; and at
his heels were Bernstine and his sandy-haired clerk.
When Osborne caught sight of Ashton-Kirk
he expanded into a wide smile of satisfaction.
“Hello!” greeted he.
“Glad to see you. You’re just in time
to see me turn a new trick. Here’s the
people that Spatola bought the bayonet from.
How does that strike you?”
But Bernstine leaned over and said
something in a low tone; and the smile instantly departed.
“Oh,” said Osborne, ruefully,
“this is the party who called to see
you, is it?” Then turning to Ashton-Kirk he asked:
“How did you get onto this bayonet business?”
“Just through thinking it over
a little, that’s all,” answered the investigator.
Mr. Bernstine now approached the speaker,
a hurt look upon his face.
“Mr. Ashton-Kirk,” said
he, “why did you not tell us about this piece
of business? Why did you not enlighten us?
How could you go away and leave us in the dark?
We are very much occupied, and have little time to
look at the newspapers. It was only by accident
that Sime happened to see one.” Lowering
his voice, he added: “There’s a smart
fellow for you; he saw the whole thing in an instant.
And so we came right here to do what we can to help
justice.” He squared his shoulders importantly.
“He’s seen the bayonet
and is prepared to swear to it,” stated Osborne,
“What of the picture of Spatola
in the paper?” asked the investigator.
“Does he recognize that?”
Osborne’s face fell once more.
“These half-tones done through
coarse screens are never any good,” said he.
“They’d make Gladstone look like Pontius
Pilate. He’s going to have a look at the
man himself, and that’ll settle it.”
With that a turnkey was dispatched;
and in a few moments he returned, accompanied by a
half dozen prisoners; one was a slim, dark young man
with a nervous, expressive look, and a great tangle
of curling black hair. The face was haggard and
drawn; the eyes were frightened; the whole manner
of the man had a piteous appeal.
Osborne turned to Sime.
“Look them over carefully,” directed he.
“Take your time.”
“I don’t need to,”
answered the freckled shipping clerk. He pointed
to the dark young man. “That’s the
man of the picture; but I never seen him before, anywhere.”
Osborne put his fingers under his
collar and pulled as though to breathe more freely;
then he motioned another attendant to take the remaining
“I see,” said he.
“He was too foxy to buy the thing himself.
He sent someone else.” Then he fixed his
eye on the prisoner and continued: “We’ve
got the bayonet on you; so you might as well tell us
all about it.”
“I don’t understand,” said Spatola,
“The easier you make it for
us, the easier it will be for you,” Osborne
told him. “If you make us sweat, fitting
this thing to you, we’ll give you the limit.
Don’t forget that.”
“I have done nothing,”
said Spatola, earnestly. “I have done nothing.
And yet you keep me here. Is there not a law?”
“There is,” said Osborne,
grimly. “That’s what I’m trying
to tell you about. Now, who bought the bayonet?”
“The bayonet?” Spatola stared.
“The bayonet that Hume was killed with.”
With a truly Latin gesture of despair,
the Italian put his hands to his forehead.
“Always Hume,” he said.
“Always Hume! I can not be free of him.
He was evil!” in a sort of shrill whisper.
“Even when he is dead, I am mocked by him.
He was all evil! I believe he was a devil!”
“That was no reason why you
should kill him,” said Osborne in the positive
manner of the third degree.
“I did not kill him,”
protested Spatola. “There were many times
when it was in my heart to do so. But I did not
“I’ve heard you say all
that before,” stated Osborne, wearily. Then
to the turnkey: “Take him away, Curtis.”
“Just a moment,” interposed
Ashton-Kirk. “I came here to have a few
words with this prisoner, and by your leave, I’ll
speak to him now.”
“All right,” replied Osborne. “Help
He led Bernstine and Sime out of the
cell room; the turnkey, with professional courtesy,
moved away to a safe distance, and Ashton-Kirk turned
to the Italian.
“You were once first violin
with Karlson,” said he. “I remember
you well. I always admired your art.”
An eager look came into the prisoner’s face.
“I thank you,” he said.
“It is not many who will remember in me a man
who once did worthy things. I am young,”
with despair, “yet how I have sunken.”
“It is something of a drop,”
admitted Ashton-Kirk. “From a position of
first violin with Karlson to that of a street musician.
How did it happen?”
Sadly the young Italian tapped his
forehead with one long finger.
“The fault,” he declared,
“is here. I have not the what
do you call it sense? What happened
with Karlson happened a dozen times before in
Italy, in France, in Spain. I have not the good
But justification came into his eyes,
and his hands began to gesticulate eloquently.
“Karlson is a Swede,”
with contempt. “The Swedes know the science
of music; but they are hard; they are seldom artists;
they cannot express. And when one of this nation a
man with the ice of his country in his soul tried
to instruct me how to play the warm music of my own
Italy, I called him a fool!”
“I see,” said the investigator.
“I am to blame,” said
Spatola, contritely. “But I could not help
it. He was a fool, and fools seldom like
to hear the truth.”
“The Germans, now,” said
Ashton-Kirk, insinuatingly, “are somewhat different
from the Swedes. Were you ever employed under
a German conductor?”
“Twice,” replied the violinist,
with a shrug. “Nobody can deny the art
of the Germans. But they have their faults.
They say they know the violin. And they do; but
the Italian has taught them. The violin belongs
to Italy. It was the glory of Cremona, was it
not? The tender hands of the Amatis, of
Josef Guarnerius, of old Antonio Stradivari, placed
a soul within the wooden box; and that soul is the
soul of Italy!”
“Haupt, a German, wrote a treatise
on the violin,” said Ashton-Kirk. “If
you would read that ”
“I have read it,” cried
Spatola. “I have read it! It is like
that,” and he snapped his fingers impatiently.
“But you’ve probably read
a translation in the English or Italian,” insisted
the investigator, smoothly. “And all translations
lose something of their vitality, you know.”
“I have read it in the German,”
declared the Italian; “in his own language,
just as he wrote it. It is nothing.”
Pendleton looked at Ashton-Kirk admiringly;
the manner in which his friend had established the
fact that Spatola knew the German language seemed
to him very clever. But Ashton-Kirk made no sign
other than that of interest in the subject upon which
“A race that has given the world
such musicians as Wagner, Beethoven and Mozart,”
said he, “must possess in a tremendous degree
the musical sense. The German knowledge of tone
and its combinations is extraordinary; and their music
in turn is as complex as their psychology and as simple
as the improvisation of a child.”
Spatola seemed surprised at this apparent
warmth; he looked at Ashton-Kirk questioningly.
“And, with all their scholarship,
the Germans are so practical,” went on the latter.
“Only the other day I came upon a booklet published
in Leipzig that dealt with the difficulty a composer
sometimes encounters in getting the notes on paper
when a melody sweeps through his brain. The writer
claimed that the world had lost thousands of inspirations
because of this, and to prevent further loss, he proffered
an invention a system of so
to speak musical shorthand.”
A sullen look of suspicion came into
Spatola’s face; he regarded the speaker from
under lowered brows.
“Perhaps you don’t quite
understand the value of such an invention,”
proceeded Ashton-Kirk. “But if you had a
knowledge of stenography, and the short cuts it ”
But the Italian interrupted him brusquely.
“I know nothing of such things,”
said he, “and what is more I don’t want
to know anything of them.” Then in a sharp,
angry tone, he added: “What do you want
of me? I am not acquainted with you. Why
am I annoyed like this? Is it always to be so first
one and then another?”
At this sudden display of resentment,
the turnkey approached.
“I will go back to my cell,”
Spatola told him, “and please do not bring me
out again. My nerves are bad. I have been
worried much of late and I can’t stand it.”
The turnkey looked at Ashton-Kirk,
who nodded his head. And, as Spatola was led
gesticulating away, Pendleton said in a low tone of
“I tell you, Kirk, there’s
your man. Besides the other things against him,
he knows German.”
“But what of the phonographic signs?”
“He knows them also. His
manner proved it. As soon as you mentioned shorthand
he became suspicious and showed uneasiness and anger.
I tell you again,” with an air, of finality,
“he’s your man.”