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The Gray Mask   By: (1879-1936)

Book cover

First Page:

THE GRAY MASK

by

WADSWORTH CAMP

Author of "The Abandoned Room" "The House of Fear," Etc.

Frontispiece by Walter De Maris

Garden City, New York Doubleday, Page & Company 1920

Copyright, 1920, by Doubleday, Page & Company All Rights Reserved, Including That of Translation into Foreign Languages, Including the Scandinavian

Copyright, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, by P. F. Collier & Sons, Inc., in the United States, Great Britain and Canada

[Illustration: " 'Even if you had croaked him you wouldn't dare acknowledge it here. Why, George, you're kneeling where he lay' "]

CONTENTS

I. GARTH IS SHOWN A GRAY MASK

II. IT OPENS NORA'S EYES

III. IN THE STEEL ROOM

IV. GARTH BUYS A BOUTONNIÈRE

V. WHAT HAPPENED AT ELMFORD

VI. A CRYING THROUGH THE SILENCE

VII. NORA FEARS FOR GARTH

VIII. THROUGH THE DARK

IX. THE PHANTOM ARMY

X. THE COINS AND THE CHINAMAN

XI. NORA DISAPPEARS IN AN EMPTY HOUSE

XII. THE HIDDEN DOOR

XIII. ALSOP'S INCREDIBLE VISITOR

XIV. THE LEVANTINE WHO GUARDED A CURTAIN

XV. THE VEILED WOMAN

XVI. A NOTE FROM THE DEAD

XVII. THE KNIFE BY THE LIFELESS HAND

XVIII. THE STAINED ROBE

XIX. PAYMENT IS DEMANDED FOR THE GRAY MASK

XX. THE BLACK CAP

XXI. THE ANTICS OF A TRAIN

THE GRAY MASK

CHAPTER I

GARTH IS SHOWN A GRAY MASK

Garth, in response to the unforeseen summons, hurried along the hallway and opened the inspector's door. As he faced the rugged figure behind the desk, and gazed into those eyes whose somnolence concealed a perpetual vigil, his heart quickened.

He had been assigned to the detective bureau less than six months. That brief period, however, had revealed a thousand eccentricities of his chief. The pudgy hand beating a tattoo on the table desk, the lips working at each other thirstily, the doubt that slipped from behind the veil of the sleepy eyes, were all like largely printed letters to Garth letters that spelled delicate work for him, possibly an exceptional danger.

"Where were you going, Garth?"

"Home. That is "

Garth hesitated and cleared his throat.

"First I thought I might drop in on Nora for a minute."

With a quick gesture the inspector brushed the mention of his daughter aside. Abruptly he verified Garth's hazard.

"How much do you love your life?"

The inspector's voice possessed the growling quality of an animal. A warning rather than an aggressive roar, it issued from a throat remotely surviving behind great masses of flesh. Garth had rarely heard it raised, nor, for that matter, had it ever deceived him as to the other's amiability and gentleness of soul. Its present tone of apologetic regret startled him.

"On the whole I value my life rather highly just now," he answered, trying to smile.

"Then turn this down and nothing said," the inspector went on. "It's volunteer's work. No gilt edged prophecies. It's touch and go whether whoever tackles it eats bacon and eggs to morrow morning."

"What's the job?" Garth asked.

The inspector glanced up.

"You've heard of that fellow without a face?"

Garth stared until he thought he understood.

"One of those Bellevue cases? Awful burns?"

The heavy head shook impatiently.

"No. This fellow Simmons in Chicago several years ago now experimenting with some new explosive in a laboratory. He got his arm up in time to save his eyes."

"Seems to me I remember," Garth began.

"Worn a gray mask ever since," the inspector said.

He drew a telegram from a pile of papers at his elbow, spread it on the writing pad, and tapped it with his thick forefinger. Garth wondered what was coming. A feeling of uneasiness compelled him to lower his eyes before the other's steady gaze. There was something uncanny about this thought of a mask, worn always to hide a horror.

The inspector's tapping quickened to an expression of anger. His voice exposed a cherished resentment.

"No doubt about your having heard of our friend Hennion?"

Garth started forward, resting his closed fists on the desk top... Continue reading book >>




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