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Tracked To Doom
by [?]

The Duchess had poisoned her.

Then the guests crowd about the piano, gazing with bated breath, and shuddering as they look upon the music rack and observe that the song that Armande came so near singing is “Sweet Marie.”

Twenty minutes later a dark and muffled figure was seen to emerge from a recess in the mullioned wall of the Arc de Triomphe and pass rapidly northward.

It was no other than Tictocq, the detective.

The network of evidence was fast being drawn about the murderer of Marie Cusheau.

. . . . . .

It is midnight on the steeple of the Cathedral of Notadam.

It is also the same time at other given points in the vicinity.

The spire of the Cathedral is 20,000 feet above the pavement, and a casual observer, by making a rapid mathematical calculation, would have readily perceived that this Cathedral is, at least, double the height of others that measure only 10,000 feet.

At the summit of the spire there is a little wooden platform on which there is room for but one man to stand.

Crouching on this precarious footing, which swayed, dizzily with every breeze that blew, was a man closely muffled, and disguised as a wholesale grocer.

Old Francois Beongfallong, the great astronomer, who is studying the sidereal spheres from his attic window in the Rue de Bologny, shudders as he turns his telescope upon the solitary figure upon the spire.

“Sacre Bleu!” he hisses between his new celluloid teeth. “It is Tictocq, the detective. I wonder whom he is following now?”

While Tictocq is watching with lynx-like eyes the hill of Montmartre, he suddenly hears a heavy breathing beside him, and turning, gazes into the ferocious eyes of the Gray Wolf.

Carnaignole Cusheau had put on his W. U. Tel. Co. climbers and climbed the steeple.

“Parbleu, monsieur,” says Tictocq. “To whom am I indebted for the honor of this visit?”

The Gray Wolf smiled softly and depreciatingly.

“You are Tictocq, the detective?” he said.

“I am.”

“Then listen. I am the murderer of Marie Cusheau. She was my wife and she had cold feet and ate onions. What was I to do? Yet life is sweet to me. I do not wish to be guillotined. I have heard that you are on my track. Is it true that the case is in your hands?”

“It is.”

“Thank le bon Dieu, then, I am saved.”

The Gray Wolf carefully adjusts the climbers on his feet and descends the spire.

Tictocq takes out his notebook and writes in it.

“At last,” he says, “I have a clue.”

Monsieur le Compte Carnaignole Cusheau, once known as the Gray Wolf, stands in the magnificent drawing-room of his palace on East 47th Street.

Three days after his confession to Tictocq, he happened to look in the pockets of a discarded pair of pants and found twenty million francs in gold.

Suddenly the door opens and Tictocq, the detective, with a dozen gensd’arme, enters the room.

“You are my prisoner,” says the detective.

“On what charge?”

“The murder of Marie Cusheau on the night of August 17th.”

“Your proofs?”

“I saw you do it, and your own confession on the spire of Notadam.”

The Count laughed and took a paper from his pocket. “Read this,” he said, “here is proof that Marie Cusheau died of heart failure.”

Tictocq looked at the paper.

It was a check for 100,000 francs.

Tictocq dismissed the gensd’arme with a wave of his hand.

“We have made a mistake, monsieurs,” he said, but as he turns to leave the room, Count Carnaignole stops him.

“One moment, monsieur.”

The Count Carnaignole tears from his own face a false beard and reveals the flashing eyes and well-known features of Tictocq, the detective.

Then, springing forward, he snatches a wig and false eyebrows from his visitor, and the Gray Wolf, grinding his teeth in rage, stands before him.

The murderer of Marie Cusheau was never discovered.