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The Toxin Of Fatigue
by [?]

He gave me no time for questions, and I had no ability to reconstruct my own theory of the case as we hustled into our clothes to catch the early morning train.

“Broadhurst is at the Idlewild Hotel,” Kennedy said, as we left the apartment, “and I think we can make it quicker by railway than by motor.”

The turfman met us at the station.

“Tell me just what happened,” asked Kennedy.

“No one seems to understand just what it was,” Broadhurst explained, “but, as nearly as I remember, Murchie was the lion of the Idlewild grillroom all the evening. He had ‘come back.’ Once, I recall, he was paged, and the boy told him someone was waiting outside. He went out, and returned, considerably flushed and excited.

“‘By George,’ he said, ‘a man never raises his head above the crowd but that there’s somebody there to take a crack at it! There must have been some crank outside, for before I could get a look in the dark, I was seized. I managed to get away. I got a little scratch with a knife or a pin, though,’ he said, dabbing at a cut on his neck.”

“What then?” prompted Kennedy.

“None of us paid much attention to it,” resumed Broadhurst, “until just as another toast was proposed to Lady Lee and someone suggested that Murchie respond to it, we turned to find him huddled up in his chair, absolutely unconscious. The house physician could find nothing wrong apparently–in fact, said it was entirely a case of heart failure. I don’t think any of us would question his opinion if it had not been for Murchie’s peculiar actions when he came back to the room that time.”

Murchie’s body had been removed to the local undertaking establishment. As Broadhurst drove up there and we entered, Kennedy seemed interested only in the little jab and a sort of swelling upon the neck of the dead man. Quickly he made a little incision beside it, and about ten or a dozen drops of what looked like blood-serum oozed out on a piece of gauze which Craig held.

As we turned to leave the undertaker’s, a striking, dark-haired girl, with the color gone from her cheeks, hurried past us and fell on her knees beside Murchie’s body. It was the woman who had congratulated him the day before, the woman of the panel–Amelie Guernsey.

I had not noticed, up to this point, another woman who was standing apart in the crowd, but now I happened to catch her eye. It was the woman whose picture with the two children hung in Murchie’s apartment. Kennedy drew me back into the crowd, and there we watched the strange tragedy of the wife that was and the wife that was to have been.

Craig hurried back to the city after that, and, as we pushed our way up the ramp from the station, he looked hastily at his watch.

“Walter,” he said, “I want you to locate Cecilie Safford and let me know at the laboratory the moment you find her. And perhaps it would be well to start at the police station.”

It seemed to me as though the girl whom we had found so easily the evening before had now utterly disappeared. At the police station she had not been held, but had given an address which had proved fictitious. At the cabaret saloon no one had seen her since the incident of the fight.

As I left the place, I ran into Donovan, of the Tenderloin squad, and put the case to him. He merely laughed.

“Of course I could find her any time I wanted to,” he said. “I knew that was a fake address.”

He gave me the real address, and I hurried to the nearest telephone to call up Craig.

“Have Donovan bring her over here as soon as he can find her,” he called back.