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The Perpetual Motion Machine
by [?]

I tried my best, but there was very little that I could find out about Mrs. Barry. No one seemed to know where she came from, and even “Mr. Barry” seemed shrouded in obscurity. I was convinced, however, that she was an adventuress.

One thing, however, I did turn up. She had called on Tresham at his office a number of times, usually late in the afternoon, and he had taken her to dinner and to the theater. Apparently he knew her a great deal better than he had been willing to admit to us. I was not surprised, for, like a good many men of his class, Tresham was better known in the white light district than one might suspect. Mrs. Barry had all the marks of being good company on such an excursion.

On the way uptown, I stopped off in the neighborhood of Longacre Square in the hope of picking up some more gossip at one or another of the clubs. Tresham was a member of several, though as near as I could find out, used them more for business than social reasons. On Broadway it was different, however. There he was known as a liberal spender and lover of night life. Like many others he now and then accumulated quite large bills. I wondered whether Mrs. Barry had not found out and taken advantage of his weakness.

It was, as I have said, comparatively little that I had been able to discover, yet when I met Kennedy again, later in the evening, at his laboratory, he listened eagerly to what I had to report.

“Did anything happen downtown?” I asked when I had finished.

“Nothing much,” he returned. “Of course, listening over the geophone, I couldn’t watch the Bank Building, too. There’s something very queer about Creighton. I could hear him at work in the room upstairs until quite late, making a lot of noise. If I don’t find out anything more definite soon, I shall have to adopt some other measures.”

“You didn’t do anything more about that electrolysis clew?” I queried.

“Nothing,” he replied briefly, “except that I inquired of the electric light company and found out that Creighton, or someone in his building, was using a good deal of power.”

“That looks bad,” I ventured, remembering the claims made for the engine and the comparatively weak batteries that were said to run it.

Kennedy nodded acquiescence, but said nothing more. We walked over in silence to our apartment on the Heights and far into the night Craig sat there, shading his eyes with his hand, apparently studying out the peculiar features of the case and planning some new angle of approach at it tomorrow.

We were surprised the next day to receive an early visit from Miss Laidlaw at the laboratory. She drove up before the Chemistry Building, very much excited, as though her news would not bear repeating even over the telephone.

“What do you think?” she exclaimed, bursting in on us. “Mr. Creighton has disappeared!”

“Disappeared?” repeated Kennedy. “How did you find it out?”

“Mr. Tresham just telephoned me from his office,” she hurried on. “He was going into the Bank Building when he saw a wagon drive off from the place next door. He thought it was strange and instead of going on up to his own office he walked into Creighton’s. When he tried to get in, the place was locked. There’s a sign on it, too, ‘For Rent,’ he says.”

“That’s strange,” considered Kennedy. “I suppose he didn’t notice what kind of wagon it was?”

“Yes, he said it looked like a junk wagon–full of stuff.”

I looked from Miss Laidlaw to Kennedy. Plainly our entrance into the case had been the signal for the flitting of Creighton.

Quickly he reached for the telephone. “You know Mrs. Barry’s number?” he asked.

“Yes, it’s the Prince Edward Hotel.”

He called up, but the conversation was over in a moment. “She didn’t return to the hotel last night,” he announced as he hung up the receiver.