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The Fluoriscine Test
by [?]

Our trip over to the other borough was uneventful except for the toilsome time we had to get to the docks where South and Central American ships were moored. We boarded the Haytien at last and Burke led us along the deck toward a cabin. I looked about curiously. There seemed to be the greatest air of suppressed excitement. Everyone was talking, in French, too, which seemed strange to me in people of their color. Yet everything seemed to be in whispers as if they were in fear.

We entered the cabin after our guide. There in the dim light lay the body of Leon in a bunk. There were several people in the room, already, among them the beautiful Mademoiselle Collette. She pretended not to recognize Kennedy until we were introduced, but I fancied I saw her start at finding him in company with Burke. Yet she did not exhibit anything more than surprise, which was quite natural.

Burke turned the sheet down from the face of the figure in the bunk. Leon had been a fine-looking specimen of his race, with good features, strong, and well groomed. Kennedy bent over and examined the body carefully.

“A very strange case,” remarked the ship’s surgeon, whom Burke beckoned over a moment later.

“Quite,” agreed Craig absently, as he drew the vial and the hypodermic from his pocket, dipped the needle in and shot a dose of the stuff into the side of the body.

“I can’t find out that there is any definite cause of death,” resumed the surgeon.

Before Craig could reply someone else entered the darkened cabin. We turned and saw Collette run over to him and take his hand.

“My guardian, Monsieur Aux Cayes,” she introduced, then turned to him with a voluble explanation of something in French.

Aux Cayes was a rather distinguished looking Haytian, darker than Collette, but evidently of the better class and one who commanded respect among the natives.

“It is quite extraordinary,” he said with a marked accent, taking up the surgeon’s remark. “As for these people–” he threw out his hands in a deprecating gesture–“one cannot blame them for being perplexed when your doctors disagree.”

Kennedy had covered up Leon’s face again and Collette was crying softly.

“Don’t, my dear child,” soothed Aux Cayes, patting her shoulder gently. “Please, try to calm thyself.”

It was evident that he adored his beautiful ward and would have done anything to relieve her grief. Kennedy evidently thought it best to leave the two together, as Aux Cayes continued to talk to her in diminutives and familiar phrases from the French.

“Were there any other people on the boat who might be worth watching?” he asked as we rejoined Burke, who was looking about at the gaping crowd.

Burke indicated a group. “Well, there was an old man, Castine, and the woman he calls his wife,” he replied. “They were the ones who really kept the rest from throwing the body overboard.”

“Oh, yes,” assented Kennedy. “She told me about them. Are they here now?”

Burke moved over to the group and beckoned someone aside toward us. Castine was an old man with gray hair, and a beard which gave him quite an appearance of wisdom, besides being a matter of distinction among those who were beardless. With him was Madame Castine, much younger and not unattractive for a negress.

“You knew Monsieur Leon well?” asked Kennedy.

“We knew him in Port au Prince, like everybody,” replied Castine, without committing himself to undue familiarity.

“Do you know of any enemies of his on the boat?” cut in Burke. “You were present when they were demanding that his body be thrown over, were you not? Who was foremost in that?”

Castine shrugged his shoulders in a deprecatory manner. “I do not speak English very well,” he replied. “It was only those who fear the dead.”

There was evidently nothing to be gained by trying on him any of Burke’s third degree methods. He had always that refuge that he did not understand very well.