**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


According To Their Lights
by [?]

The Captain lifted himself with a grunt of alacrity. If Charlie Finnegan had come down in the bottomless pit to seek him there must be something doing. Charlie guided him by an arm into a patch of shadow.

“You know, Mac,” he said, “they’re trying Inspector Pickering on graft charges.”

“He was my inspector,” said the Captain.

“O’Shea wants the job,” went on Finnegan. “He must have it. It’s for the good of the organization. Pickering must go under. Your testimony will do it. He was your `man higher up’ when you were on the force. His share of the boodle passed through your hands. You must go on the stand and testify against him.”

“He was”–began the Captain.

“Wait a minute,” said Finnegan. A bundle of yellowish stuff came out of his inside pocket. “Five hundred dollars in it for you. Two-fifty on the spot, and the rest”–

“He was my friend, I say,” finished the Captain. “I’ll see you and the gang, and the city, and the party in the flames of Hades before I’ll take the stand against Dan Pickering. I’m down and out; but I’m no traitor to a man that’s been my friend.” The Captain’s voice rose and boomed like a split trombone. “Get out of this park, Charlie Finnegan, where us thieves and tramps and boozers are your betters; and take your dirty money with you.”

Finnegan drifted out by another walk. The Captain turned to his seat.

“I couldn’t avoid hearing,” said Murray, drearily. “I think you are the biggest fool I ever saw.”

“What would you have done?” asked the Captain.

“Nailed Pickering to the cross,” said Murray.

“Sonny,” said the Captain, huskily and without heat. “You and me are different. New York is divided into two parts–above Forty-second street, and below Fourteenth. You come from the other part. We both act according to our lights.”

An illuminated clock above the trees retailed the information that it lacked the half hour of twelve. Both men rose from the bench and moved away together as if seized by the same idea. They left the park, struck through a narrow cross street, and came into Broadway, at this hour as dark, echoing and de-peopled as a byway in Pompeii.

Northward they turned; and a policeman who glanced at their unkempt and slinking figures withheld the attention and suspicion that he would have granted them at any other hour and place. For on every street in that part of the city other unkempt and slinking figures were shuffling and hurrying toward a converging point–a point that is marked by no monument save that groove on the pavement worn by tens of thousands of waiting feet.

At Ninth street a tall man wearing an opera hat alighted from a Broadway car and turned his face westward. But he saw Murray, pounced upon him and dragged him under a street light. The Captain lumbered slowly to the corner, like a wounded bear, and waited, growling.

“Jerry!” cried the hatted one. “How fortunate! I was to begin a search for you to-morrow. The old gentleman has capitulated. You’re to be restored to favor. Congratulate you. Come to the office in the morning and get all the money you want. I’ve liberal instructions in that respect.”

“And the little matrimonial arrangement?” said Murray, with his head turned sidewise.

“Why.–er–well, of course, your uncle under-stands–expects that the engagement between you and Miss Vanderhurst shall be”–

“Good night,” said Murray, moving away.

“You madman!” cried the other, catching his arm. “Would you give up two millions on account of”–

“Did you ever see her nose, old man?” asked Murray, solemnly.

“But, listen to reason, Jerry. Miss Vanderhurst is an heiress, and”- –

“Did you ever see it?”

“Yes, I admit that her nose isn’t”–

“Good night!” said Murray. “My friend is waiting for me. I am quoting him when I authorize you to report that there is `nothing doing.’ Good night.”

A wriggling line of waiting men extended from a door in Tenth street far up Broadway, on the outer edge of the pavement. The Captain and Murray fell in at the tail of the quivering millipede.

“Twenty feet longer than it was last night,” said Murray, looking up at his measuring angle of Grace Church.

“Half an hour,” growled the Captain, “before we get our punk.”

The city clocks began to strike 12; the Bread Line moved forward slowly, its leathern feet sliding on the stones with the sound of a hissing serpent, as they who had lived according to their lights closed up in the rear.