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The Voodoo Mystery
by [?]

“Everybody’s crazy, Kennedy. The whole world is going mad!”

Our old friend, Burke, of the Secret Service, scowled at the innocent objects in Craig’s laboratory as he mopped his broad forehead.

“And the Secret Service is as bad as the rest,” he went on, still scowling and not waiting for any comment from us. “Why, what with these European spies and agitators, strikers and dynamiters, we’re nearly dippy. Here, in less than a week I’ve been shifted off war cases to Mexico and now to Hayti. I don’t mean that I’ve been away, of course,–oh, no. You don’t have to go to them. They come to us. Confound it, New York is full of plots and counterplots. I tell you, Kennedy, the whole world is crazy.”

Craig listened with sympathy mixed with amusement. “Can I help you out?” he asked.

“If you don’t I’ll be dippy, too,” returned Burke with a whimsical grimace.

“What’s the trouble with Hayti, then?” encouraged Kennedy seriously.

“Trouble enough,” answered Burke. “Why, here’s that Caribbean liner, Haytien, just in from Port au Prince. She’s full of refugees–government supporters and revolutionists–you never saw such a menagerie since the ark.”

I watched Burke keenly as he cut loose with his often picturesque language. Somehow, it seemed rather fascinating to have the opera bouffe side of the Black Republic presented to us. At least it was different from anything we had had lately–and perhaps not at all opera bouffe, either. Kennedy, at least, did not seem to think so, for although he was very busy at the time, seemed prepared to lay aside his work to aid Burke.

“You haven’t heard about it yet,” continued the Secret Service man, “but on the Haytien was a man–black of course–Guillaume Leon. He was a friend of the United States–at least so he called himself, I believe–wanted a new revolution down there, more American marines landed to bolster up a new government that would clean things up, a new deal all around.”

Burke paused, then added by way of explanation of his own attitude in the matter, “That may be all right, perhaps,–may be just what they need down there, but we can’t let people come here and plot revolutions like that right in New York. They’re sore enough at us without our letting them think in Latin America that we’re taking a hand in their troubles.”

“Quite right,” agreed Kennedy. “About Leon.”

“Yes, Leon,” resumed Burke, getting back to the subject. “Well, I was told by the Chief of the Service to look out for this fellow. And I did. I thought it would make a good beginning to go down the bay on a revenue tug to meet the Haytien at Quarantine. But, by Jingo, no sooner was I over the side of the ship than what do you suppose I ran up against?”

He did not pause long enough to give us a guess, but shot out dramatically, “Leon was dead–yes, dead!”

Kennedy and I had been interested up to this point. Now we were eager to have him go on. “He died on the voyage up,” continued Burke, “just after passing the Gulf Stream, suddenly and from no apparent cause. At least the ship’s surgeon couldn’t find any cause and neither could they down at Quarantine. So after some time they let the ship proceed up the bay and placed the whole thing in the hands of the Secret Service.”

“Is there anyone you suspect?” I asked.

“Suspect?” repeated Burke. “I suspect them all. The Haytien was full of niggers–as superstitious as they make ’em. The ship’s surgeon tells me that after the body of Leon was discovered there was such a scene as he had never witnessed. It was more like bedlam than a group of human beings. Some were for putting the body over into the sea immediately. Others threatened murder if it was done. Most of them didn’t know what it was they wanted. Then, there was a woman there. She seemed to be nearly crazy–“