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The Big-Town Round-Up by William MacLeod Raine

They've rebuilt this partition


He

stopped, struck by an odd expression on the face of his daughter. She had stooped and picked up a small fragment of shaving from the floor. Her eyes went from it to a plank in the partition and then back to the thin crisp of wood.

"What is it, honey?" asked Whitford.

The girl turned to Muldoon, alert in every quivering muscle. "That express wagon--the one leaving the house as we drove up--Did you notice it?"

"Number 714," answered Tim promptly.

"Can you have it stopped and the man arrested? Don't you see? They've rebuilt this partition. They were taking away in that wagon the planks with the bullet holes."

Muldoon was out of the room and going down the stairs before she had finished speaking. It was a quarter of an hour later when he returned. Beatrice and her father were not to be seen.

From back of the partition came an eager, vibrant voice. "Is that you, Mr. Muldoon? Come here quick. We've found one of the bullets in the wall."

The policeman passed out of the door through which Bromfield had made his escape and found another small door opening from the passage. It took him into the cubby-hole of a room in which were the wires and instruments used to receive news of the races.

"What about the

express wagon?" asked Whitford.

"We'll get it. Word is out for those on duty to keep an eye open for it. Where's the bullet?"

Beatrice pointed it out to him. There it was, safely embedded in the plaster, about five feet from the ground.

"Durand wasn't thorough enough. He quit too soon," said the officer with a grin. "Crooks most always do slip up somewhere and leave evidence behind them. Yuh'd think Jerry would have remembered the bullet as well as the bullet hole."

They found the mark of the second bullet too. It had struck a telephone receiver and taken a chip out of it.

They measured with a tape-line the distance from the floor and the side walls to the place where each bullet struck. Tim dug out the bullet they had found.

They were back in the front room again when a huge figure appeared in the doorway and stood there blocking it.

"Whatta youse doin' here?" demanded a husky voice.

Muldoon nodded a greeting. "'Lo, Dave. Just lookin' around to see the scene of the scrap. How about yuh?"

"Beat it," ordered Gorilla Dave, his head thrust forward in a threat. "Youse got no business here."

"Friends av mine." The officer indicated the young woman and her father. "They wanted to see where 'Slim' was knocked out. So I showed 'em. No harm done."

Dave moved to one side. "Beat it," he ordered again.

In the pocket of Muldoon was a request of the district attorney for admission to the house for the party, with an O.K. by the captain of police in the precinct, but Tim did not show it. He preferred to let Dave think that he had been breaking the rules of the force for the sake of a little private graft. There was no reason whatever for warning Durand that they were aware of the clever trick he had pulled off in regard to the partition.


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