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The Diamond Of Kali
by [?]

The original news item concerning the diamond of the goddess Kali was handed in to the city editor. He smiled and held it for a moment above the wastebasket. Then he laid it back on his desk and said: “Try the Sunday people; they might work something out of it.”

The Sunday editor glanced the item over and said: “H’m!” Afterward he sent for a reporter and expanded his comment.

“You might see General Ludlow,” he said, “and make a story out of this if you can. Diamond stories are a drug; but this one is big enough to be found by a scrubwoman wrapped up in a piece of newspaper and tucked under the corner of the hall linoleum. Find out first if the General has a daughter who intends to go on the stage. If not, you can go ahead with the story. Run cuts of the Kohinoor and J. P. Morgan’s collection, and work in pictures of the Kimberley mines and Barney Barnato. Fill in with a tabulated comparison of the values of diamonds, radium, and veal cutlets since the meat strike; and let it run to a half page.”

On the following day the reporter turned in his story. The Sunday editor let his eye sprint along its lines. “H’m!” he said again. This time the copy went into the waste-basket with scarcely a flutter.

The reporter stiffened a little around the lips; but he was whistling softly and contentedly between his teeth when I went over to talk with him about it an hour later.

“I don’t blame the ‘old man’,” said he, magnanimously, “for cutting it out. It did sound like funny business; but it happened exactly as I wrote it. Say, why don’t you fish that story out of the w.-b. and use it? Seems to me it’s as good as the tommyrot you write.”

I accepted the tip, and if you read further you will learn the facts about the diamond of the goddess Kali as vouched for by one of the most reliable reporters on the staff.

Gen. Marcellus B. Ludlow lives in one of those decaying but venerated old red-brick mansions in the West Twenties. The General is a member of an old New York family that does not advertise. He is a globe-trotter by birth, a gentleman by predilection, a millionaire by the mercy of Heaven, and a connoisseur of precious stones by occupation.

The reporter was admitted promptly when he made himself known at the General’s residence at about eight thirty on the evening that he received the assignment. In the magnificent library he was greeted by the distinguished traveller and connoisseur, a tall, erect gentleman in the early fifties, with a nearly white moustache, and a bearing so soldierly that one perceived in him scarcely a trace of the National Guardsman. His weather-beaten countenance lit up with a charming smile of interest when the reporter made known his errand.

“Ah, you have heard of my latest find. I shall be glad to show you what I conceive to be one of the six most valuable blue diamonds in existence.”

The General opened a small safe in a corner of the library and brought forth a plush-covered box. Opening this, he exposed to the reporter’s bewildered gaze a huge and brilliant diamond — nearly as large as a hailstone.

“This stone,” said the General, “is something more than a mere jewel. It once formed the central eye of the three-eyed goddess Kali, who is worshipped by one of the fiercest and most fanatical tribes of India. If you will arrange yourself comfortably I will give you a brief history of it for your paper.

General Ludlow brought a decanter of whiskey and glasses from a cabinet, and set a comfortable armchair for the lucky scribe.