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The Germ Of Anthrax
by [?]

It was not until the middle of the afternoon that there came a sudden, brief message from the Secret Service in Washington:

Mr. Craig Kennedy,
New York.

I have located the Baroness Von Dorf in a private sanitarium
here and will have her in New York tonight by eight o’clock.


“In a private sanitarium–will have her in New York tonight,” reread Craig, studying the message. “Then it wouldn’t seem that there could be much the matter with her.”

For a few moments he paced the laboratory floor, alternately studying the boards and the yellow telegram. At last, his face seemed to light up as if he had reasoned something out to his satisfaction. Quickly he reached for the telephone and called Dr. Leslie.

“I shall have the Baroness here tonight at eight, Leslie,” I heard him say. “Don’t tell a soul about it. But I’d like to have you make all the arrangements to secure the attendance of Haynes, Ames, and Madame Dupres here just a bit ahead of that time.”

There was nothing that I could do to aid Craig more in the hours that remained than to efface myself, and I did it in the most effectual way I could think of, compatible with my interest in the case. I rode down to Dr. Leslie’s office and dined hurriedly with him. The only new information I gleaned was that Haynes had visited him during the afternoon and had outlined his theory of cyanogen, which certainly seemed to me to fit in quite readily with the facts.

When we reached the laboratory, early, Kennedy was still absorbed in studying his microscope. He said nothing, but apparently had gained an air of confidence which he lacked the night before.

The Baroness had not yet arrived, but a few minutes after us came Ashby Ames, still complaining about the closing of his apartment and the inconvenience the whole affair had put him to. Haynes arrived and Ames cut short his tirade, glancing resentfully at the veterinary as though in some way he were responsible for his troubles. Madame Dupres arrived shortly, and I could not help noticing that Haynes was patently jealous of even the nod of recognition she gave to Ames.

“I don’t think I need say that this is one of the most baffling cases that we have ever had,” began Kennedy, with a glance at Dr. Leslie.

“It certainly is,” chimed in the coroner, as though he had been appealed to for corroboration.

“In the first place,” resumed Kennedy, “I discovered in the air up there in Delaney’s room just a trace of cyanogen.”

Haynes nodded approvingly, glancing from one to the other of us.

“But,” added Craig, as if he had built up a house of cards merely to demolish it, “I don’t think that cyanogen was the cause of Delaney’s death–although it furnished the clew.”

“What could it have been, then?” demanded Haynes, his face clouding.

Kennedy looked at him calmly. “You’ve heard of anthrax?” he asked simply.

“Y-yes,” replied Haynes, meeting his eye fixedly. “Murrain–the cattle disease.”

“That is so deadly to human beings sometimes,” added Craig. “Well, I’ve found something very much like anthrax germs in the sweepings that I took up with the vacuum cleaner up there.”

Dr. Leslie was listening intently.

“I can’t see how it could have been anthrax,” he put in, slowly shaking his head. “Why, Kennedy, the symptoms were entirely different.”

“No, this was a poisoning of some kind,” added Dr. Haynes. “Dr. Leslie himself tells me that you found traces of cyanogen in the air–and you have just said so, too.”

Kennedy indicated the microscope. “Take a look at that slide under the lens,” he said simply.

I was nearest and as he evidently meant each of us to look, I did so. Under the high-power lens I could see some little roundish dots moving slowly through the field.

Haynes looked next. “But, Professor Kennedy,” he objected, almost as soon as he had time for a good look, “the bacilli of anthrax have normally the form of straight bars strung together in a row.”