He was "What
we want to do," said Gatewood over the telephone, "is
to give you a corking little dinner at the Santa Regina. There'll
be Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Kerns, Captain and Mrs. Harren, Mr. and Mrs.
Jack Burke, Mrs. Gatewood, and myself. We want you to set the date
for it, Mr. Keen, and we also wish you to suggest one more deliriously
happy couple whom you have dragged out of misery and flung head-first
into terrestrial paradise."
you young people really care to do this for me?" asked the
course we do. We're crazy about it. We want one more couple, and
you to set the date."
the slightest pause; then the Tracer's voice, with the same undertone
of amusement ringing through it:
would your cousin, Victor Carden, do?"
all right, only he isn't married. We want two people whom you have
joined together after hazard has put them asunder and done stunts
well; Victor Carden and his very lovely wife will be just the people."
Victor married?" demanded Gatewood, astonished.
said the Tracer demurely, "but he will be in time for that
dinner." And he set the date for the end of the week in an
amused voice, and rang off.
Then he glanced
at the clock, touched an electric bell, and again unhooking the
receiver of the telephone, called up the Sherwood Studios and asked
for Mr. Carden.
this Mr. Carden? Oh, good morning, Mr. Carden! This is Mr. Keen,
Tracer of Lost Persons. Could you make it convenient to call—say
in course of half an hour? Thank you. . . . What? . . . Well, speaking
with that caution and reserve which we are obliged to employ in
making any preliminary statements to our clients, I think I may
safely say that you have every reason to feel moderately encouraged."
mean," said Carden's voice, "that you have actually solved
has been a difficult proposition, Mr. Carden; I will not deny that
it has taxed our resources to the uttermost. Over a thousand people,
first and last, have been employed on this case. It has been a slow
and tedious affair, Mr. Carden—tedious for us all. We seldom
have a case continue as long as this has; it is a year ago to-day
since you placed the matter in our hands. . . . What? Well, without
committing myself, I think that I may venture to express a carefully
qualified opinion that the solution of the case is probably practically
in the way of being almost accomplished! . . . Yes, I shall expect
you in half an hour. Good-by!"
of Lost Persons' eyes were twinkling as he hung up the receiver
and turned in his revolving chair to meet the pretty young woman
who had entered in response to his ring.
Carden case, if you please, Miss Smith," he said, smiling to
woman also smiled; the Carden case had become a classic in the office.
Nobody except Mr. Keen had believed that the case could ever be
box 108923!" said Miss Smith softly, pressing a speaking tube
to her red lips. In a few moments there came a hissing thud from
the pneumatic tube; Miss Smith unlocked it and extracted a smooth,
combination for that cylinder is A-4-44-11-X," observed the
Tracer, consulting a cipher code, "which, translated,"
he added, "gives us the setting combination, One, D, R-R,-J-'24."
turned the movable disks at the end of the cylinder until the required
combination appeared. Then she unscrewed the cylinder head and dumped
out the documents in the famous Carden case.
Mr. Carden will be here in half an hour or so I think we had better
run over the case briefly," nodded the Tracer, leaning back
in his chair and composing himself to listen. "Begin with my
preliminary memorandum, Miss Smith."
108923," began the girl. Then she read the date, Carden's full
name, Victor Carden, a terse biography of the same gentleman, and
added: "Case accepted. Contingent fee, $5,000."
so," said Mr. Keen; "now, run through the minutes of the
Smith unrolled a typewritten scroll and read:
Carden, Esquire, the well-known artist, called this evening at 6.30.
Tall, well-bred, good appearance, very handsome; very much embarrassed.
Questioned by Mr. Keen he turned pink, and looked timidly at the
stenographer (Miss Colt). Asked if he might not see Mr. Keen alone,
Miss Colt retired. Mr. Keen set the recording phonograph in motion
by dropping his elbow on his desk."
A brief résumé
of the cylinder records followed:
Carden asked Mr. Keen if he (Mr. Keen) knew who he (Mr. Carden)
was. Mr. Keen replied that everybody knew Mr. Carden, the celebrated
painter and illustrator who had created the popular type of beauty
known as the 'Carden Girl.' Mr. Carden blushed and fidgeted. (Notes
from. Mr. Keen's Observation Book, pp. 291-297.) Admitted that he
was the creator of the 'Carden Girl.' Admitted he had drawn and
painted that particular type of feminine beauty many times. Fidgeted
some more. (Keen's O.B., pp. 298-299.) Volunteered the statement
that this type of beauty, known as the 'Carden Girl,' was the cause
of great unhappiness to himself. Questioned, turned pinker and fidgeted.
(K.O.B., page 300.) Denied that his present trouble was caused by
the model who had posed for the 'Carden Girl.' Explained that a
number of assorted models had posed for that type of beauty. Further
explained that none of them resembled the type; that the type was
his own creation; that he used models merely for the anatomy, and
that he always idealized form and features.
again, admitted that the features of the 'Carden Girl' were his
ideal of the highest and loveliest type of feminine beauty. Did
not deny that he had fallen in love with his own creation. Turned
red and tried to smoke. (K.O.B., page 303.) Admitted he had been
fascinated himself with his own rendering of a type of beauty which
he had never seen anywhere except as rendered by his own pencil
on paper or on canvas. Fidgeted. (K.O.B., page 304.) Admitted that
he could easily fall in love with a woman who resembled the 'Carden
Girl.' Didn't believe she ever really existed. Confessed he had
hoped for years to encounter her, but had begun to despair. Admitted
that he had ventured to think that Mr. Keen might trace such a girl
for him. Doubted Mr. Keen's success. Fidgeted (K.O.B., page 306),
and asked Mr. Keen to take the case. Promised to send to Mr. Keen
a painting in oil which embodied his loftiest ideal of the type
known as the 'Carden Girl.' (Portrait received; lithographs made
and distributed to our agents according to routine, from Canada
to Mexico and from the Atlantic to the Pacific.)
Keen terminated the interview with characteristic tact, accepting
the case on the contingent fee of $5,000."
well," said the Tracer, as Miss Smith rolled up the scroll
and looked at him for further instructions. "Now, perhaps you
had better run over the short summary of proceedings to date. I
mean the digest which you will find attached to the completed records."
found the paper, unrolled it, and read:
the twelve months' investigation and search (in re Carden) seven
hundred and nine young women were discovered who resembled very
closely the type sought for. By process of elimination, owing to
defects in figure, features, speech, breeding, etc., etc., this
list was cut down to three. One of these occasionally chewed gum,
but otherwise resembled the type. The second married before the
investigation of her habits could be completed. The third is apparently
a flawless replica of Mr. Carden's original in face, figure, breeding,
education, moral and mental habits. (See Document 23, A.)"
Document 23, A," nodded Mr. Keen.
ROSALIND HOLLIS, M.D.
Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Height . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 feet 9 inches
Weight . . . . . . . . . . . . 160 pounds
Hair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . golden, and inclined
Teeth . . . . . . . . . . . . . Perfect
Eyes . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Dark violet-blue
Mouth . . . . . . . . . . . . Perfect
Color . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fair. An ivory-tinted
Figure . . . . . . . . . . . . .Perfect
Health . . . . . . . . . . . . .Perfect
Temper . . . . . . . . . . . Feminine
Habits . . . . . . . . . . . . .resolutely suppressed
Business . . . . . . . . . . . None
Profession . . . . . . . . . Physician
Mania . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Mission
"NOTE.—Dr. Rosalind Hollis was
presented to society in her eighteenth year. At the end of her second
season she withdrew from society with the determination to devote
her entire life to charity. Settlement work and the study of medicine
have occupied her constantly. Recently admitted to practice, she
spends her mornings in visiting the poor, whom she treats free of
all charge; her afternoons and evenings are devoted to what she
expects is to be her specialty: the study of the rare malady known
as Lamour's Disease. (See note on second page.)
is understood that Dr. Hollis has abjured the society of all men
other than her patients and such of her professional confrères
as she is obliged to consult or work with. Her theory is that of
the beehive: drones for mates, workers for work. She adds, very
decidedly, that she belongs to the latter division, and means to
remain there permanently.
(Mr. Keen's O.B., pp. 916-18).—Her eccentricity is probably
the result of a fine, wholesome, highly strung young girl taking
life and herself too seriously. The remedy will be the Right Man."
nodded Mr. Keen, joining the tips of his thin fingers and partly
closing his eyes. "Now, Miss Smith, the disease which Dr. Hollis
intends to make her specialty—have you any notes on that?"
they are," said Miss Smith; and she read: "Lamour's Disease;
the rarest of all known diseases; first discovered and described
by Ero S. Lamour, M.D., M.S., F.B.A., M.F.H., in 1861. Only a single
case has ever been observed. This case is fully described in Dr.
Lamour's superb and monumental work in sixteen volumes. Briefly,
the disease appears without any known cause, and is ultimately supposed
to result fatally. The first symptom is the appearance of a faintly
bluish circle under the eyes, as though the patient was accustomed
to using the eyes too steadily at times. Sometimes a slight degree
of fever accompanies this manifestation; pulse and temperature vary.
The patient is apparently in excellent health, but liable to loss
of appetite, restlessness, and a sudden flushing of the face. These
symptoms are followed by others unmistakable: the patient becomes
silent at times; at times evinces a weakness for sentimental expressions;
flushes easily; is easily depressed; will sit for hours looking
at one person; and, if not checked, will exhibit impulsive symptoms
of affection for the opposite sex. The strangest symptom of all,
however, is the physical change in the patient, whose features and
figure, under the trained eye of the observer, gradually from day
to day assume the symmetry and charm of a beauty almost unearthly,
sometimes accompanied by a spiritual pallor which is unmistakable
in confirming the diagnosis, and which, Dr. Lamour believes, presages
the inexorable approach of immortality.
is no known remedy for Lamour's Disease. The only case on record
is the case of the young lady described by Dr. Lamour, who watched
her for years with unexampled patience and enthusiasm; finally,
in the interest of science, marrying his patient in order to devote
his life to a study of her symptoms. Unfortunately, some of these
disappeared early—within a week—but the curious manifestation
of physical beauty remained, and continued to increase daily to
a dazzling radiance, with no apparent injury to the patient. Dr.
Lamour, unfortunately, died before his investigations, covering
over forty years, could be completed; his widow survived him for
a day or two only, leaving sixteen children.
is a wide and unknown field for medical men to investigate. It is
safe to say that the physician who first discovers the bacillus
of Lamour's Disease and the proper remedy to combat it will reap
as his reward a glory and renown imperishable. Lamour's Disease
is a disease not yet understood—a disease whose termination
is believed to be fatal—a strange disease which seems to render
radiant and beautiful the features of the patient, brightening them
with the forewarning of impending death and the splendid resurrection
of Lost Persons caressed his chin reflectively. "Exactly, Miss
Smith. So this is the disease which Dr. Hollis has chosen for her
specialty. And only one case on record. Exactly. Thank you."
replaced the papers in the steel cylinder, slipped it into the pneumatic
tube, sent it whizzing below to the safe-deposit vaults, and, saluting
Mr. Keen with a pleasant inclination of her head, went out of the
turned in his chair, picked up the daily detective report, and scanned
it until he came to the name Hollis. It appeared that the daily
routine of Rosalind Hollis had not varied during the past three
weeks. In the mornings she was good to the poor with bottles and
pills; in the afternoons she tucked one of Lamour's famous sixteen
volumes under her arm and walked to Central Park, where, with democratic
simplicity, she sat on a secluded bench and pored over the symptoms
of Lamour's Disease. About five she retired to her severely simple
apartments in the big brownstone office building devoted to physicians,
corner of Fifty-eighth Street and Madison Avenue. Here she took
tea, read a little, dined all alone, and retired about nine. This
was the guileless but determined existence of Rosalind Hollis, M.D.,
according to McConnell, the detective assigned to observe her.
refolded the report of his chief of detectives and pigeonholed it
just as the door opened and a tall, well-built, attractive young
written all over him; he offered his hand to Mr. Keen with an embarrassed
air and seated himself at that gentleman's invitation.
almost sorry I ever began this sort of thing," he blurted out,
like a big schoolboy appalled at his own misdemeanors. "The
truth is, Mr. Keen, that the prospect of actually seeing a 'Carden
Girl' alive has scared me through and through. I've a notion that
my business with that sort of a girl ends when I've drawn her picture."
surely," said the Tracer mildly, "you have some natural
curiosity to see the living copy of your charming but inanimate
originals, haven't you, Mr. Carden?"
certainly. I'd like to see one of them alive—say out of a
window, or from a cab. I should not care to be too close to her."
merely seeing her does not commit you," interposed Mr. Keen,
smiling. "She is far too busy, too much absorbed in her own
affairs to take any notice of you. I understand that she has something
of an aversion for men."
she excludes them as unnecessary to her existence."
she has a mission in life," said Mr. Keen gravely.
out of the window. It was pleasant weather—June in all its
early loveliness—the fifth day of June. The sixth was his
simply got to marry somebody before the day after to-morrow,"
he said aloud—"that is, if I want my legacy."
demanded the Tracer sharply.
pink and guilty. "I didn't tell you all the circumstances of
my case," he said. "I suppose I ought to have done so."
said the Tracer severely. "Why is it necessary that you marry
somebody before the day after to-morrow?"
it's my twenty-fifth birthday—"
has left you money on condition that you marry before your twenty-fifth
birthday? Is that it, Mr. Carden? An uncle? An imbecile grandfather?
A sentimental aunt?"
Aunt Tabby Van Beekman."
Trinity churchyard. It's too late to expostulate with her, you see.
Besides, it wouldn't have done any good when she was alive."
knitted his brows, musing, the points of his slim fingers joined.
was very proud, very autocratic," said Carden. "I am the
last of my race and my aunt was determined that the race should
not die out with me. I don't want to marry and increase, but she's
trying to make me. At all events, I am not going to marry any woman
inferior to the type I have created with my pencil—what the
public calls the 'Carden Girl.' And now you see that your discovery
of this living type comes rather late. In two days I must be legally
married if I want my Aunt Tabby's legacy; and to-day for the first
time I hear of a girl who, you assure me, compares favorably to
my copyrighted type, but who has a mission and an aversion to men.
So you see, Mr. Keen, that the matter is perfectly hopeless."
see anything of the kind," said Mr. Keen firmly.
you believe there is any chance—"
your falling in love within the next hour or so? Yes, I do. I think
there is every chance of it. I am sure of it. But that is not the
difficulty. The problem is far more complicated."
how to marry that girl before day after to-morrow. That's the problem,
Mr. Carden!—not whether you are capable of falling in love
with her. I have seen her; I know you can't avoid falling in love
with her. Nobody could. I myself am on the verge of it; and I am
fifty: you can't avoid loving her."
that were so," said Carden gravely; "if I were really
going to fall in love with her—I would not care a rap about
my Aunt Tabby and her money—"
ought to care about it for this young girl's sake. That legacy is
virtually hers, not yours. She has a right to it. No man can ever
give enough to the woman he loves; no man has ever done so. What
she gives and what he gives are never a fair exchange. If you can
balance the account in any measure, it is your duty to do it. Mr.
Carden, if she comes to love you she may think it very fine that
you bring to her your love, yourself, your fame, your talents, your
success, your position, your gratifying income. But I tell you it's
not enough to balance the account. It is never enough—no,
not all your devotion to her included! You can never balance the
account on earth—all you can do is to try to balance it materially
and spiritually. Therefore I say, endow her with all your earthly
goods. Give all you can in every way to lighten as much as possible
man's hopeless debt to all women who have ever loved."
talk about it as though I were already committed," said Carden,
are, morally. For a month I have, without her knowledge, it is true,
invaded the privacy of a very lovely young girl—studied her
minutely, possessed myself of her history, informed myself of her
habits. What excuse had I for this unless I desired her happiness
and yours? Nobody could offer me any inducement to engage in such
a practice unless I believed that the means might justify a moral
conclusion. And the moral conclusion of this investigation is your
marriage to her."
said Carden uneasily, "but how are we going to accomplish it
by to-morrow? How is it going to be accomplished at all?"
of Lost Persons rose and began to pace the long rug, clasping his
hands behind his back. Minute after minute sped; Carden stared alternately
at Mr. Keen and at the blue sky through the open window.
is seldom," said Mr. Keen with evident annoyance, "that
I personally take any spectacular part in the actual and concrete
demonstrations necessary to a successful conclusion of a client's
case. But I've got to do it this time."
He went to
a cupboard, picked out a gray wig and gray side whiskers and deliberately
waved them at Carden.
see what these look like?" he demanded.
well. It is now noon. Do you know the Park? Do you happen to recollect
a shady turn in the path after you cross the bridge over the swan
lake? Here; I'll draw it for you. Now, here is the lake; here's
the esplanade and fountain, you see. Here's the path. You follow
it—so!—around the lake, across the bridge, then following
the lake to the right—so!—then up the wooded slope to
the left—so! Now, here is a bench. I mark it Number One. She
sits there with her book—there she is!"
she looks like that—" began Carden. And they both laughed
with the slightest trace of excitement.
is Bench Number Two!" resumed the Tracer. "Here you sit—and
there you are!"
MR. KEEN'S SKETCH OF THE RENDEZVOUS
"Thanks," said Carden, laughing
continued the Tracer, "you must be there at one o'clock. She
will be there at one-thirty, or earlier perhaps. A little later
I will become benignly visible. Your part is merely a thinking part;
you are to do nothing, say nothing, unless spoken to. And when you
are spoken to you are to acquiesce in whatever anybody says to you,
and you are to do whatever anybody requests you to do. And, above
all, don't be surprised at anything that may happen. You'll be nervous
enough; I expect that. You'll probably color up and flush and fidget;
I expect that; I count on that. But don't lose your nerve entirely;
and don't think of attempting to escape."
From what? From whom?"
you going to follow my instructions?" demanded the Tracer of
well, then, I am going to rub some of this under your eyes."
And Mr. Keen produced a make-up box and, walking over to Carden,
calmly darkened the skin under his eyes.
as though I had been on a bat!" exclaimed Carden, surveying
himself in a mirror. "Do you think any girl could find any
attraction in such a countenance?"
will," observed the Tracer meaningly. "Now, Mr. Carden,
one last word: The moment you find yourself in love with her, and
the first moment you have the chance to do so decently, make love
to her. She won't dismiss you; she will repulse you, of course,
but she won't let you go. I know what I am saying; all I ask of
you is to promise on your honor to carry out these instructions.
Do you promise?"
here is the map of the rendezvous which I have drawn. Be there promptly.