Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
II As Seen By Detective Sweetwater Anna Katharine Green

XVII In Which A Book Plays Leading Part

Page 4 of 8

Table Of Contents: Initials Only

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

"Yes," agreed the other, "it's no way to live. But you're alone. Upstairs there's a whole family huddled into a room just like this. Two of the kids sleep in the closet. It's things like that which have made me the friend of the poor, and the mortal enemy of men and women who spread themselves over a dozen big rooms and think themselves ill-used if the gas burns poorly or a fireplace smokes. I'm off for the evening; anything I can do for you?"

"Show me how I can win my way into such rooms as you've just talked about. Nothing less will make me look up. I'd like to sleep in one to-night. In the best bedroom, sir. I'm ambitious; I am."

A poor joke, though they both laughed. There Mr. Brotherson passed on, and Sweetwater listened till he was sure that his too attentive neighbour had really gone down the three flights between him and the street. Then he took up his auger again and shut himself up in his closet.

There was nothing peculiar about this closet. It was just an ordinary one with drawers and shelves on one side, and an open space on the other for the hanging up of clothes. Very few clothes hung there at present; but it was in this portion of the closet that he stopped and began to try the wall of Brotherson's room, with the butt end of the tool he carried.

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

The sound seemed to satisfy him, for very soon he was boring a hole at a point exactly level with his ear; but not without frequent pauses and much attention given to the possible return of those departed foot-steps. He remembered that Mr. Brotherson had a way of coming back on unexpected errands after giving out his intention of being absent for hours.

Sweetwater did not want to be caught in any such trap as that; so he carefully followed every sound that reached him from the noisy halls. But he did not forsake his post; he did not have to. Mr. Brotherson had been sincere in his good-bye, and the auger finished its job and was withdrawn without any interruption from the man whose premises had been thus audaciously invaded.

"Neat as well as useful," was the gay comment with which Sweetwater surveyed his work, then laid his ear to the hole. Whereas previously he could barely hear the rattling of coals from the coal-scuttle, he was now able to catch the sound of an ash falling into the ash-pit.

His next move was to test the depth of the partition by inserting his finger in the hole he had made. He found it stopped by some obstacle before it had reached half its length, and anxious to satisfy himself of the nature of this obstacle, he gently moved the tip of his finger to and fro over what was certainly the edge of a book.

This proved that his calculations had been correct and that the opening so accessible on his side, was completely veiled on the other by the books he had seen packed on the shelves. As these shelves had no other backing than the wall, he had feared striking a spot not covered by a book. But he had not undertaken so risky a piece of work without first noting how nearly the tops of the books approached the line of the shelf above them, and the consequent unlikelihood of his striking the space between, at the height he planned the hole. He had even been careful to assure himself that all the volumes at this exact point stood far enough forward to afford room behind them for the chips and plaster he must necessarily push through with his auger, and also - important consideration - for the free passage of the sounds by which he hoped to profit.

Page 4 of 8 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Initials Only
Anna Katharine Green

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004