ONCE more the fascinating Swami Ram makes his bow to readers of the ALL-STORY CAVALIER. Many of you will remember his first appearance (“Into the Fourth Dimension,ˮ The Cavalier, January 11, 1913) when as a youth of mischievous proclivities, but more because of his love of “a tricking” than from any criminal intent, he robs the ticket wagon of a circus, where he is employed as an animal trainer, of $10,000. Convicted and sentenced to ten years in Danforth prison he makes an incomprehensible escape, digs up the money—which he had buried—and returns to India.
A year later he returns to the United States in order to marry the Princess Indira—then at school at Wellborn Hills, Massachusetts—caste barriers making a marriage impossible in his native land. En route he narrowly escapes death in Mexico, making sport of a company of Constitutionalists and incidentally saving an American from an untimely death at the hands of a ﬁring-squad. (“Swami Ram’s Reincarnation,ˮ The Cavalier, February 7, 1914.)
On his arrival in New England he encounters other remarkable adventures, and owing to the enmity of a powerful Indian noble, Prince Fateh Jang, undergoes a singular and most unpleasant experience in an insane asylum. (‟For Love of the Princess,ˮ ALL-STORY CAVALIER WEEKLY, August 22, 1914.)
He escapes, however, with the princess, and their return to India after the ceremony is followed by fresh misfortunes—partly engineered by Indira’s powerful relatives and partly due to the machinations of the villainous Fateh Jang—which lead indirectly to the death of Swami Ram’s father. With the aid of Kirk Boyer, an American motion-picture photographer, Swami again wins out, and Fateh Jang meets a horrible fate. (“Fate and Fateh Jang,” ALL-STORY CAVALIER WEEKLY, January 23, 1915.)
Because of this and the outbreak of the European war, Swami Ram decides to return to New York with his bride, and they sail accompanied by their new friend Kirk Boyer. The present story begins with the arrival of their steamer in Boston.
“I FORGIVE even the cook,” solemnly announced Kirk Boyer, in stentorian ritualistic accents, as the gangplank of the Italian liner Garibaldi touched the Boston wharf.
“I forgive the captain for bringing us to Boston instead of New York. I forgive the band for murdering ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ for the last twenty minutes. I’m so happy I could kiss all the stokers and bite an ear off the bosun’s mate for a keepsake. And that all goes, my Hindu friend!”
Swami Ram, with his dainty bride clinging fondly, albeit a little weakly, to his arm, smiled with understanding.
It had been a long, hard voyage from Bombay to Boston. With half the people of Europe tearing at each
other’s throats, there had been times when many of their fellow passengers were in positive terror.
The P. and O. liner Exmouth, which had brought them as far as Palermo, had deﬁantly flaunted the British flag, despite the known presence of hawk-eyed German cruisers, which had sunk several merchantmen of that nation along the same route.
The Italian steamship on which they had embarked at Palermo for the balance of the voyage was an overcrowded, decrepit old tub; the stewards were surly; the food was especially unsuited for Indira, and they had faced an ugly westerly gale for six continuous days after leaving Gibraltar.
Therefore, it was with a joy wholly unfeigned that the irresponsible Kirk Boyer proclaimed his state of mind before the three descended to the wharf, where Boyer insisted on greeting the customs officials as if they were relatives.
“Unless your friend Siva sticks me in an astral slung-shot and shoots me out of the U. S. A., in spite of my most desperate and heroic resistance, Mr. Jitendra,” continued Boyer as they entered a cab and started for their hotel, “I hope I get nothing to eat hereafter but iron prunes if I ever leave my beat again! Youʼre coming on with me, aren’t you?”
Swami Ram, who had been avidly reading a New York paper, tore out a small paragraph, threw away the balance, and turned to his bride.
“Beloved, what is your wish?”
She looked up at him with eyes in which a haunting fear seemed to linger, and nestled closer to him.
“It shall be as my lord wills,” said she in a soft whisper, “but I am sometimes troubled in my mind for thy safety.”
“Aw, whoʼd ruffle a feather on either of you turtle-doves in New York?” cut in Boyer. Youʼre perfectly safe unless you blow down to Coney and the tintype men pipe you off. Ever ride the sacred ox in a blue-light bower on the island, Swami?”
It appeared that this delectable experience was one the little Hindu had yet to enjoy. Having said as much, he turned again to Indira, whose troubled eyes still looked imploringly into his own.
“Beloved, what says the ancient wisdom?” murmured Swami Ram in the soft accents of their native tongue. “‘Who may escape that which is fated to come to him?ʼ I shall, therefore, go to New York with the Sahib Boyer.”
Her hand tightened upon his arm. Indira knew every detail of her youthful husband's career, and the thing that troubled her most was his as yet unexpiated sentence of ten years in Danforth prison. That was why she was uneasy at the prospect of his returning to New York.
However, she had an unqualiﬁed faith in her husband, although she very much wished that this sole stain upon his character were removed. Until it was wiped out there would be always the chance that the stern arm of the law might tear him away, a possibility which was not calculated to increase Indira’s peace of mind.
The bond between these two was much stronger than the usual marriage tie in India. This fact and the hardships of the voyage accounted for her depression.
The matter being decided, however, Indira turned her thoughts to other things. The hotel menu was appetizing; the music soothing; the shops they visited together teemed with foibles dear to the feminine heart, and Swami Ram not only had plenty of money, but he likewise spent it freely.
Two days of unalloyed pleasure found Indira much rejuvenated. Swami Ram, in the privacy of their suite, further reassured her that no particular calamity was likely to come to him, although he might be subject to some “annoyings.”
Therefore, when she kissed him good-by in the railway station and entrained for a fortnight’s visit at Wellborn Hills as the guest of Mrs. Adelaide Paget-Morrison, Indira felt no return of her ﬁrst fears, but waved gaily until her Pullman was out of sight.
“Where now, old scout?” queried Boyer as Swami Ram and he strolled aimlessly along the tortuous avenues of the most confusing American city.
“It is as Siva wills,” replied the little Hindu.
“If that octopus-handed female divinity should show her and carry a map in every ﬁst, she’d be nutty before sheʼd gone a block,” retorted Boyer. “Take it from me, Jitendra—Siva’d be off her beat here in Beantown, worse than I was in Haidarabad.”
The pair made a ludicrous appearance as they ambled along. Boyer—tall, slender, auburn-haired—carried himself with a certain semiaggressive manner which was entirely natural.
Swami Ram, placid of countenance, turbaned, and soft-eyed, and so much shorter that the disparity of stature heightened the sense of the incongruous they created, was as reticent as Boyer was discursive.
Always jesting, sometimes acid, but never unkind, Boyer had warmed to the little Hindu on their ﬁrst meeting. On his part, Swami Ram had been as much impressed with the volatile, energetic young American, and especially with the sturdy fashion Kirk had stood by him through good or ill report.
The little Hinduʼs eyes sparkled with a sense of expectancy as they turned a corner. Further along a small crowd of people were peering into the window of a Boylston Street store.
“Well, if it be Sivaʼs holy will, what do you say we beat it over there and see what agitates our dear Boston cousins,” scoffed Boyer. “If itʼs Siva herself Iʼll bet a Boston bull-terrier against a Lawson pink; sheʼs either pinched or is yodeling for the Salvation Army.”
Swami Ramʼs solemn manner did not alter.
“Who knows?” he cryptically replied as he followed his friend toward the crowd, and Boyer, in spite of his own frivolous remarks, fancied there was an undercurrent of pregnant mystery in the two quietly spoken words.
THEY edged through the mass and paused before the window.
Within a trig young lady was marching up and down a strip of bright-green carpet, deftly manipulating the handle of a small vacuum cleaner which gobbled up sawdust, sand, feathers, burned matches, and other débris as fast as she sprinkled it on the carpet.
Kirk Boyerʼs features wreathed in disgust.
“For Heaven’s sake,” he whispered as the crowd around them grew rapidly larger, attracted by the no less novel spectacle of a stoical-faced Hindu wearing a spotless turban than the demonstration going on in the window, “donʼt freeze your feet to the sidewalk or theyʼll think we live in Boston, too.”
Swami Ram did not move, however.
“The jinn in the bright tube hath a strong breath,” he observed judicially. “Also he devoureth the dirt with ease.”
“That’s the only excuse the jigger’s got to be on dress-parade,” muttered Boyer sourly. “You couldnʼt wear an outﬁt like that for a scarf-pin, could you?”
The little Hinduʼs face wore a dreamy, introspective expression.
“I was thinking,” said he at last, as he noted Boyer’s growing irritation. “Sahib, if one wished to make cleanings-up of a thing, think you
this”—he waved toward the demonstration—“would make servings of his purpose?”
“That depends, old scout,” returned Boyer semisarcastically.
The naive inquiry gave him an opening. For all of Swami Ram's strange mixture of ingenuousness and subtlety, Boyer rarely overlooked a chance to “kid” him in true American fashion.
“Upon what does it make dependings, sahib?”
“Upon the kind of a clean-up you aim to make. Iʼve seen a perfectly good Green Mountain savings-bank president, with a side line of side whiskers that made him a perpetual candidate for the best job in the Bellows Falls prayer-meeting, get cleaned with a much smaller thing than that.”
Swami Ram looked his perplexity.
“With just a plain, ordinary brass brick,” went on Boyer, “tinted to look like something else. He paid twenty thousand dollars for it. Afterward I heard one yip out of him that indicated that heʼd been cleaned so well heʼd be immaculate the balance of his life.”
“Sahib, I shall go and look at this jinn in the large tube,” firmly replied Swami Ram.
“There you go,” wailed Boyer, “leaving me alone in Boston after me wasting a seventy-ﬁve-centimeter joke on you. All right, pal. Iʼm going down street and snag a few rolls of movie film for the camera. I donʼt need any vacuum cleaners in mine—Iʼm almost clean already, so far as coin goes.”
“But I have still many rupees, Sahib Boyer.”
“Can that,” retorted the other with a ﬂush of annoyance. “A swift touch was all right when I was thirteen thousand miles off me beat—but now Iʼm only ﬁve hours from the grandest little village on the globe.
“If I canʼt harpoon Plymouth Rock for a Pullman seat home, Iʼm going right over to Concord or Lexington and make a noise like a seventeen-seventy-six minute-man. Believe me, Iʼll be heard round the world every minute. See you at the hotel. Beware of Aphrodite and her vacuum cleaner, old pal. You ainʼt in Haidarabad now.”
Swami Ram entered the store. The demonstrator turned upon him a pair of lustrous Venus eyes. She was very good to look upon and besides she made a liberal commission on each sale.
“I wish to make a cleanings-up,” he announced.
So did the demonstrator, to judge by her method of attack. Bostonese shrapnel riddled Swami Ramʼs eardrums.
“It is, as you see, only one-third the size of the usual mechanism of similar capacity. You can carry it in an ordinary traveling bag, the ﬂexible tubes are easily detached, thus enabling one to obtain the maximum of compactness. It may be operated by direct or alternating electric current obtainable from an ordinary light socket. It insures freedom—”
“Freedom?” echoed Swami Ram.
“—from disease germs of every character. They are omnipresent in the dust you know. We have a certiﬁcate testifying to its germicidal qualities from Professor Younghusband, of Radcliffe, in which he recommends it without reserve.”
Swami was a young husband himself. Perhaps it was the mention of the distinguished gentleman's name which killed his last doubt. Anyway, he bought and paid for the vacuum cleaner without further bombardment.
An Occidental would have treasured the smile the fair demonstrator bent upon him. Swami Ram, however, was thinking of other things.
“Well, you fell, did you?” inquired Boyer on his return. “I feared as much. My Hindu friend, youʼve wasted your money. I located a place where thereʼs plenty of gin with a stronger breath than the one you bought—genuine stuff distilled from rare old turpentine and put up in square bottles. Also I saw at least one
gentleman whom this particular gin had cleaned up to a fare-you-well. He was steering by the stars for the nearest police station, and he found it without any difficulty at all before heʼd tacked half a block.”
“Your speech,” said Swami Ram, with a gravity that belied offense, “makes recalling to me of the rapid-ﬁre guns of the British soldiers. Also, you are like the guns in other ways.”
“In what other ways?” grinned Boyer, pleased at the come-back.
“When you make recoilings at each discharge you make loadings for another.”
“Automatic, eh? Well, kid, I gotta hand it right hack to you on the same plate. You're as crisp as one of these new Federal Reserve notes. Who you going to clean up with that jigger?”
A sterner light crept into Swami Ramʼs eyes.
“Sahib, that is as Siva ordains.”
Boyer turned away. The thought of a many-armed stone idol leaving her resting-place in some grotto in far-off India to grip the neat handle of a vacuum cleaner was too much even for him. The more he thought of it the more Boyer wanted to laugh aloud.
“Cleanings-up is good!” said he ﬁnally. “Well, old pal, we’ll be back on our beat to-morrow night. Oh, I had almost forgot—here comes my auto—get in. Weʼre going out to the Fore River shipyards this afternoon. They’re going to launch a new cruiser, the Albany. The biggest politicians in New York will he there, and little Kirkie is going to mug the whole bunch in the movies if he has to pay his way into the enclosure with genuine champagne corks.”
TO the convicts behind the grim, desolate walls of Danforth he had been only “Dirty Jack.” On the register of prison employees he had been Guard John Delahunty—until Swami Ram escaped.
Thereafter he had become John Delahunty, private citizen, Warden Dwyer having dismissed him for manifest incompetence and the loss of a ten-year man.
But if fate had been kind to the little Hindu who was the undoing of Dirty Jack then, it was no less kind to Delahunty now—two years after.
A whirl in politics had brought one of Dirty Jack’s political sponsors into power in New York City, and his satellite, after a short period of pounding the pavement as a “harness-bull” had been made a second-grade detective.
So here was Dirty Jack, his face set in the same cruel lines, eyes wandering reflectively over the audience of an East Side movie theater. In his side coat-pocket his itching ﬁngers toyed with a murderous automatic pistol.
Delahuntyʼs previous occupation served him well in his new ﬁeld. Years of service as a prison-keeper had made him familiar with the names, records, and physical appearance of hundreds of criminals.
In this respect he had many older detectives in the department at a disadvantage, especially as to former convicts. His fellow sleuths had access to photographs, Bertillon descriptions, and facsimile thumb-prints; Delahunty had all of these besides a personal knowledge of the men themselves.
This had gained him another and more acceptable nickname—he was now “Ferret-Eye” Delahunty to his departmental superiors—and more Dirty Jack than ever to former convicts who were unfortunate enough to come within range of his vision.
As the quasi-opaque light of the little theater lost some of its semiobscurity and the “One-Minute-Please” slide faded out on the curtain, Ferret-Eye nudged his buddy, Ed Boyer, and whispered:
“Thereʼs Paddy the Piper over there. Do you know the gun that’s with him?”
“No,” said Boyer, after a prolonged scrutiny. “I don’t know either of them personally, but I know Paddyʼs mug. Heʼs an old-time peter-man.”
“He was in the stone-gang at Danforth—did ﬁve years on his last stretch. Say, Ed?”
“What is it?”
“Wonder if Paddy could tell us anything about that Chatham Square pawn-shop job?”
“He wouldn’t if he could,” observed Boyer none too genially. “Paddyʼs no stool.”
Delahunty squinted his porcine eyes more sharply at the two men. “Oh, I donʼt know,” he loftily returned. “Paddy might come through with a tip—it all depends. Heʼs been in stir six times, and heʼs getting old. If we was to take him over to the office and put him across the jumps mebbe heʼd squeal.”
“I donʼt agree with you, Jack. We got nothing on him—at least I ainʼt—and his name ain’t been read out at roll-call. I think our chances are better to tail him when he goes out. Maybe we can wise up to his ﬂat or his moll and then frisk his place some day.”
Delahunty, for all his effervescent desire to gratify the hunting lust within, and despite the secret feeling that his detectorial brilliancy far outshone this more experienced but less self-complacent officer, was discreet enough to assent to the idea.
In the shadows of the house along the “lodge entrance,” as the incandescents again faded to a dull, cherry red, the two walked to the rear to wait for Paddy and his companion to leave the theater.
Another picture was ﬂashing across the screen. Also the orchestra was playing a peculiar air, something indeﬁnably strange and altogether weird for that class of house, whose patrons average a nickel admission.
As Delahunty settled himself comfortably with his huge arms resting on the rail last of the back row of seats, he glanced toward the curtain. Suddenly he gripped Boyerʼs arm.
“Look, Ed!” he growled.
A little girl was stepping forward to the prow of a huge boat, grasping a bottle of champagne decorated with ribbons. The hull towered far, far above her. In the rear was a sea of faces, and a band was playing.
The great mass on the ways quivered as the bottle was smashed against its side, and then lunged suddenly down the incline.
The girl started back.
She was a fraction of a second too late.
The temporary platform on which she stood gave way, and a groan of despair welled up from the throats of the horriﬁed spectators in the theater as the diminutive ﬁgure vanished in the wreckage.
The next instant the two sleuths were gazing at a turbulent, foam-flecked mass of water: the stern of the boat was receding from the range of the camera.
Directly in front of them, however, stood the undersized ﬁgure of a man. His individuality threw him into a bas-relief effect against the mass of ordinarily attired people from among whom he had leaped.
Delahunty gave a gasp.
Boyer had just time to note that the small but agile fellow wore a turban, to get a glimpse of a calm, inscrutable face, then, with a headlong plunge, the chap was in the water.
The police were frantically ﬁghting back the crowd who pressed forward. Among them a tall, austere-faced gentleman in a frock coat and silk hat struggled excitedly.
“The Rescue,” ﬂamed a glaring title at the next instant, and then Ferret-Eye Delahunty was cursing volubly and semiaudibly in his astounded partnerʼs ear, as the succeeding scene showed the little girl in the arms of the dripping Hindu being
dragged to safety by two sturdy patrolmen at the end of a long rope.
‟What's the matter?ˮ queried Boyer, scanning his partnerʼs face in perplexed fashion as he stumbled into the lobby.
‟Matter?ˮ echoed the other savagely, as he dived into his breast-pocket and brought forth a scrap of paper. “Did you see that ginkʼs face?ˮ
“How could I help it?ˮ
‟Well, said Delahunty, suddenly unfolding the paper in his hand and thrusting it toward the other, tell me, Ed, is that the same feller—or ainʼt it?
Staring up at him was a front-face and a proﬁle-view of a Hindu wearing a turban—a counterpart of the man who had leaped after the child, and beneath it was the legend:
ARREST AND HOLD SWAMI RAM
$50.00 reward will be paid for the arrest of this convict. Notify warden of Danforth Prison, from which he escaped in the spring of 1912, while serving a ten-year sentence: Description:
“That,” gritted Ferret-Eye Delahunty, as he replaced the paper carefully in his wallet, “is the chocolate-colored crook who cost me my job two years ago when he jumped into the fourth dimension on me one night, faded away, and didnʼt even use smoke, like he sometimes does.
“Laugh, you—ˮ he went on bitterly as Boyerʼs face settled into an expansive grin—“but, Ed, let me tell you one thing—you wouldnʼt ’aʼ laughed if youʼd been there.”
“Youʼre stringinʼ me, Jack,ˮ returned his partner.
Delahunty assumed his most sententious expression.
‟Am I? Well, Ed, let me tell you one thing—I knew this Swami Ram was going to pull this getaway. The whole prison knew it. Paddy Moran, Charlie Hovey, Billy Edwards, Hank Dobie—they all talked it over one day in the guard-room when we was on reserve.
“I thought they was stringing me then. Iʼd never heard of this fourth dimension, and I didnʼt believe there was no such place. But there is. Old man Burston, the Dutch P. K.—you heard of him and how he went crazy, didn’t you?ˮ
“It seems to me I did.ˮ
“Heʼs in Utica now. He had a book about this here fourth dimension. Well, when this Swami Ram made his getaway. Burston went offen his nut tryinʼ to tell the warden what it was all about, and heʼs been offen it ever since.
“This Swami Ram went right out of a locked cell into the fourth dimension. How he got there, I dunno. But he got there all right. Afterward we frisked that jug from stem to gudgeon—a cockroach couldnʼt ʼaʼ hid out on us.
‟Then, one night, after Iʼd wore me feet off running through the woods I went into the east hall to stand a watch, and this here son of a gun jumps right back from the fourth dimension blam quicker ’n you could bat your eye. I was that plumb paralyzed I couldn’t move. Then he tied me up—ˮ
Delahunty’s choleric voice choked at the recollection. Boyer remained discreetly silent.
‟—and the next thing we heard of him was in Bombay, India. Ed, you're pretty wise, ainʼt you? Then tell me how a feller can ﬂoat through stone walls and iron bars into nowhere—and float back again?”
‟Wasnʼt there any explanation?”
“Sure; there always is,ˮ heatedly continued Delahunty. “The warden had to cover up somehow, didn’t he? Oh, yes, he explained it and he was perfectly satisﬁed. But he didnʼt explain the thing to satisfy me.
‟Somebody had to be the goat, so they passed me the buck for letting him get away, and for the last two years now, since I was canned, Iʼve
been a watching for some trace of that little devil. I donʼt believe he ever went to Bombay at all—I never did. And donʼt that picture prove Iʼm right?
“Would any crook with a ten-year hit starinʼ him in the face—a crook that you or I could pick out of a thousand in a crowd with that turban alone—I say, would he come back to New York and join a moving-picture company, where everybody could see him, lessen he knew what he was doing?ˮ
There was a certain logic in the way Delahunty voiced the question. Boyer knew that, of all things. a crook fears publicity most. As to Delahuntyʼs sincerity there could be no doubt, and he was justifying his sobriquet of Ferret-Eye.
Moreover, he had a grievance against this particular individual which would never be allayed unless Ferret-Eye succeeded in sending him back to Danforth.
The crowd began streaming out of the theater. Boyer clutched Delahunty’s arm.
‟There goes Paddy and his friend,” he whispered.
‟To hell with ’em!ˮ succinctly returned Ferret-Eye, as he walked over toward the theater-ofﬁce. “I want this Swami Ram, and if I get him heʼll have to jump into the fifth dimension to get away from me this time. Letʼs see what company made this film, Ed.ˮ
DELAHUNTY experienced his ﬁrst disappointment in the box-office. The ﬁlm was not, as he had supposed, a ‟madeˮ drama. It was part of a motion-picture news service, although he had been too excited to notice it at the time.
The mere sight of Swami Ram's face was quite sufficient to drive Delahunty into a frenzied brain-storm. His peremptory manner of addressing the theater proprietor did not meet with that worthy’s approval, and not until Delahunty displayed his purple-and-gold shield was his stubborn attitude dispelled.
“I guess yon can ﬁnd out vair dot thing happened over by de studio,” grudgingly replied the offended owner as Delahunty insisted. ‟Vot for you ask me? I donʼt make any of dose vilms; I only shows ’em!ˮ
Delahunty noted the name of the ﬁlm company from the flaring lithographs, and started hot-foot for Fort Lee, where it had been made. Here again he was disappointed.
“I would really like to be of service to you, gentlemen,ˮ said the suave man in charge of the studio after an inspection of his records: “but the fact is that this particular bit of news-ﬁlm was sold to us by a fellow who works independently. I donʼt know his name, and he was never here before.ˮ
“How independently?ˮ blurted out Delahunty.
“Well, thereʼs a lot of free-lance chaps who have their own cameras. They keep a close watch on coming news events, and-hop all around for what we call ‘pick-ups.’ When they get a really interesting negative like this launching of a battle-ship—which, by the way, happened over near Boston at some ship-building yards—they develop their stuff and shoot it to us.
“We bought ﬁve hundred feet of that ﬁlm, and we paid that fellow ﬁfteen cents a foot for the negative. It was mighty good stuff, especially the unexpected way this here cameraman got that rescue.ˮ
‟In Boston?ˮ dully reiterated Ferret-Eye. Boston was far from the scene of his authority.
“Yes, the launching of the battle-ship Albany,” said the manager. ‟Is there anything more I can do for you, gentlemen? If not, I will ask you to excuse me; Iʼm very busy.ˮ
Crossing the ferry back to Manhat-
tan, Boyer tried to console his partner.
“Anyway, Jack,ˮ he observed, ‟youʼve got a clue after two years’ waiting, which ainʼt so bad. And it ainʼt a cold one either—that negative was made only three days ago. Why donʼt you get twenty-four hours’ leave and jump over to Beantown and have a look around the hooks?ˮ
“And have that little yellow devil pipe me off from his fourth dimension and jump back here in twenty-four seconds?” scoffed Ferret-Eye. “Nix, Ed. What I want to do is to get my hooks on that gink anywhere in this State—and then—ˮ
He lapsed into sullen silence, but from the hard, vicious look of his face Ed Boyer needed no prescience of an occult nature to divine what would happen to Swami Ram. There are some natures which are singularly revengeful—and Delahunty’s was one.
“Tell me some more about this dimension stuff, Jack,ˮ said Boyer as they entered a subway express. ‟I never heard of anything that had more than three dimensions before.”
A little ﬂattered by the otherʼs tone Delahunty permitted himself to be mollified.
‟You can search me, Ed. But itʼs there—they write books about it. I know thereʼs three dimensions—some folks know thereʼs four.”
Boyer studied him for a moment in silence.
“Didnʼt you mention a ﬁfth back in the theater?ˮ
“I might have. Do you suppose there is one?ˮ
“How should I know, Jack? lf thereʼs three—and everybody knows that—there might be four, and according to you, Burston knew there was, because heʼd studied the thing. What I was thinking of was this: If thereʼs four—why ainʼt there five—or six or seven?”
‟Aw, if you go on like that, Ed, there ainʼt no limit. But how you going to prove it?ˮ
‟I ainʼt got brains enough to do it, Jack,ˮ candidly replied the other detective. ‟Itʼs about as much as I can do to get away with my work now. But itʼs mighty interesting—from what youʼve been telling me.
‟I admit thereʼs lots of things that the police ainʼt wised up to, and when a crook, like this Swami Ram is wise to them, why, heʼs got it on us—thatʼs all. Iʼd like to meet up with him and see if I couldnʼt pump him about it. Did you ever talk it over with him?ˮ
‟A little,” admitted Delahunty.
“What kind of dope did he hand out on it? "
“Well, Ed, that was two years ago, remember. It started thisaway: Hank Dobie said heʼd seen him climb up a rope in Vancouver and disappear—just fade away. Paddy Moran backed Hank up.
“He said wunst in Butte heʼd seen him put a Hindu girl in a basket on the table—and Hank under the table—and she yelled when they stuck a sword through it—and was gone when they opened the basket.
‟Charlie Hovey said this Swami Ram believed in transmogration—whatever that is. Billy Edwards, he said they used smoke sometimes before the blow-off.ˮ
Delahunty removed his hat and wiped his forehead as he went on. It was evident that he was disturbed at the recollection of his past experience. Encouraged by Boyerʼs interest, he resumed:
“As I said a while ago, I thought it was all rot. But I made up my mind to watch this feller when I had the night-trick in the east hall. We worked twelve-hour shifts. I was on from twelve to seven in the morning the last half of each month.
‟One night I thought I seen smoke coming out of Swami Ramʼs cell. I went after him. He said he didnʼt smoke. So I gentled him along, intending to make him suck wind when I got him right.
“I couldnʼt make head or tail outa
what he said, except I do remember he said he was a son of somebody or other, he didnʼt have to work lessʼn he wanted to, and that he could climb higher and faster than anybody else, could git anything he wanted, and he mentioned a coupla towns.ˮ
Boyer Waited patiently, suppressing his inclination to laugh.
“Narak—that was one of ’em,ˮ went on Delahunty after a prolonged effort. “Now, what was the name of that other place—Swam? No, it wasnʼt that. Thatʼs his name. It was something like his name—itʼll come to me in a minute or so.ˮ
“Well, here we are at Grand Central,ˮ announced Boyer as the train ground to a stop.
They emerged on the street, Delahunty still thinking hard. They crossed Broadway and were walking west along Forty-Second Street, when Ferret-Eyeʼs face relaxed.
“Iʼve got it now, Ed. Swarga, thatʼs the name of the other town. He said Narak had three gates, but to pass ʼem up and play this town Swarga for straight, place, and show.ˮ
Boyer shook his head.
“Theyʼre new burgs to me, Jack, and Iʼve been around quite some for a copper. Did you ever look ʼem up?ˮ
Delahunty smiled—a slow, superior smile.
“Theyʽre fourth dimension towns, Ed. Leastwise, they ainʼt on any map. I guess we better go back to headquarters and see whatʼs doing. But Iʼm going to keep an eye out for this gink—take it from me.ˮ
Stirred by the suddenly aroused, long-dormant hope that he would eventually lay hands on the elusive Hindu whom he so heartily hated, Ferret-Eye, followed by Boyer, climbed a Ninth Avenue Elevated station and entered the train. It was a little nearer to their destination, now that the detective bureau had been separated from the regular police stations under the new regime.
Boyer dropped into a cross-seat, with Delahunty next the window. The recondite expression on the other detective’s face accorded well with his own thoughts.
Boyer was painstaking, intelligent, and only needed some spectacular arrest to aid him to a ﬁrst-grade detective-sergeantʼs job. He hoped Delahunty would come across Swami Ram. New York is large, but stranger coincidences happen in police business.
Many a badly wanted criminal has been brought in to headquarters on the sheerest chance meeting, and many a detective has enjoyed a reputation for pertinacity and perspicacity which is entirely undeserved because of the prestige thus attained.
Boyerʼs past record was such that if he could participate in the capture of an escaped convict, specially one with Swami Ramʼs slippery reputation, he would certainly get ‟press-stuffˮ galore.
He could almost see the big, hand-drawn head-lines and the nifty black-and-white cuts of the feature story which some avid editor would unerringly pick out of the maze of police news with which to regale millions on Sunday.
A snorting howl from Delahunty brought him out of his reverie. Boyer looked at him. Ferret-Eye was almost apoplectic. The veins on his forehead stood out, his eyes bulged, and his features were positively tigerish.
“Let me out!ˮ gasped Delahunty, pawing frantically toward the door as the train drew up at a station.
“Did you see him?” he demanded hoarsely as they emerged.
“Well, I did—he was on that express that just passed us. Hurry up! It stops at Fifty-Ninth Street; maybe we can get him when he gets out. If we canʼt he may keep on to the next stop at a Hundred and Fourth.”
The two dashed wildly down the stairs, and Delahunty bolted for a telephone.
THAT maddening dilatoriness which sometimes occurs in the best-regulated telephone exchanges made it impossible for Delahunty to get a police officer to the Fifty-Ninth Street Elevated station until long after the train had gone. At One Hundred and Fourth he was more successful, but no Swami Ram either left the train or remained on it.
The baffled detective emerged from the booth livid with rage. Boyer's sympathy only increased his spleen. While making every allowance for his partner's mood, Boyer, nevertheless. felt hurt.
He dissembled his feelings, however, and phoned in to headquarters, explaining their prolonged absence. Both received permission to go to their homes.
“See you to-morrow,” growled Delahunty as he shambled away.
Boyer, recalling some purchases with which his wife had charged him, delayed his home-going until the shopping was completed. It was almost eight oʼclock when he reached his apartment in West Sixty-Third Street.
“Oh, Ed!” cried his wife as he opened the door, “guess whoʼs here!”
“Too tired, Anna.”
The detectiveʼs brother came out of the parlor at the words. The men had not met in more than a year.
After greetings they sat down to a cozy supper.
“How do you like Asia?” inquired Ed.
“Me no likee much,” grinned his brother. “I'll take all my Orient hereafter in nice little literary capsules. You wonʼt believe it, Ed—but after my Chinese magician and I got to Shanghai I fought lice as big as little ink-stands; had to-chase a goat four miles every morning to get milk for breakfast, and ate so much rice that it still runs out of my ears when I tip my head sidewise.”
“Humph!” grunted the detective. “What are you going to do now?”
“Oh, seeinʼs I ainʼt a cop, I suppose I'ʼll have to cook up a new way to slip somebody the raw end of things and take my chances,” cheerily responded Kirk. “I got in four days ago from Boston, but Iʼve been hopping around picking up some films. Was in Boston about a week and grabbed off a little coin. Howʼs tricks in your trade?”
“No sugar any more?”
“If there is, I ainʼt getting any of it.”
“Well, I hope you get that ﬁrst-grade boost some-day. Seven hundred and ﬁfty bones raise will buy quite a few more soft-shell crabs. Any time I can help shove the little red wagon out of the mire—sound your horn.”
“Thanks. Iʼm glad youʼre back. Any excitement over there?”
“A little in Haidarabad. It was this way: One day I was out in front of Mr. Mohammed Ghousʼs hoose-gow and a gink was slamming an iron spool up in the air.
“Of course I took a shot at him, and was doin’ ﬁne when a dozen whirling dervishes that couldnʼt spell soap in a thousand years started to give me the Norwalk rause with home-grown stilettos. I was sardined into the bunch and couldnʼt even squirm.
“I thought it was curtains for a minute—then a holy man gave a howl up in the second balcony and everybody began to pray.
“A little fellow with a complexion like an overroasted peanut came along and helped me get my camera away. I got to know him pretty well. and we wound up by coming into Haidarabad one afternoon riding a ﬂock of elephants that would make Ringling Brothers jealous enough to throw a ﬁt.
“I sold some war films, and we beat it back here together. He was here not over an hour ago—sorry you missed him.”
“Some swift time,” commented his brother. “What was his name?”
A prolonged telephone ring interrupted the reply and the detective answered it.
“Yes, this is Ed Boyer. Whatʼs that? Another bomb? All right—tell the inspector Iʼll be right down.”
“Oh, Ed!” wailed his wife as the headquarters man reached for his hat.
“It ainʼt anything, Anna. No danger at all. But the old manʼs ordered out the whole squad. Donʼt blame him—the newspapers are handing it to the department for not landing these guineas that are planting ’em. I’ll phone in when I get a chance.”
He was gone, and Kirk consoled his brotherʼs wife with a few characteristic observations until her fears were somewhat allayed.
“Was that your friend that was here just before Ed came?” she asked.
“Thatʼs me pal. What do you think of him?”
“He understands English pretty well, doesn't he?”
“And then some. Heʼs the wisest, smoothest little bundle I ever met up with. By the way, heʼs sent a letter to my address here in his name—Jalisingrao Jitendra—that’s what he came here for. Look out for it and give it to me, if one comes, will you?”
Mrs. Boyer promised, and Kirk went down-town to hunt up his old friends.
On leaving the house Swami Ram had intimated to Kirk Boyer, in his own peculiar fashion, that he would be busy for a few days. Knowing the Oriental idiosyncrasy of secretiveness, Boyer respected his diminutive friendʼs wishes and asked him no questions. He recalled, however, that Swami Ram had not left him any address.
Kirk Boyer would have enlarged his knowledge of the East Indian character—in regard to the man of whom he was just then thinking—could he have looked into a room on the fourteenth floor of the Hotel Paddington.
Swami Ram was scrutinizing in a preoccupied way the interior of the small bedroom and bath he had lately engaged. Three large windows opened on Broadway.
On their ledges were boxes which, in summer, held flowers, but were now filled with rather withered coleus, whose frost-bitten edges proclaimed the coming winter.
In one corner Swami had his wardrobe trunk—one of the sixty-inch size.
In another reposed the shining metal cylinder with which Swami Ram had avowed his intention of making “a cleanings up.” The accessories were not attached. The coil of wire and socket to ﬁt on the chandelier was wound neatly around the flexible tube to which were attached the different styles of nozzles. A neat and obviously new traveling bag was on the floor by the bed.
The Paddington was a very fashionable hotel, and this room with bath, although small, was expensive. Expense mattered nothing to Swami Ram, however. In a package in the hotel safe he had left a small fortune in money and jewels.
It was not of his financial condition that he was thinking. His mind went back to the time when he had left Danforth; of his recovery of the loot from the circus-wagon; of his ﬁrst return to India.
It had all seemed to be quite right and proper at the time.
Before reaching Boston, however, and many times during the last voyage, he realized that the impulsive act would overshadow his whole future.
Ten thousand dollars had been wealth beyond the dreams of avarice to Swami Ram, the animal trainer. Now it was a mere bagatelle and with a view of undoing, so far as he might, the consequences of his imprudence three years before, the little Hindu had sent a draft from Boston, two days before leaving, to the winter quarters
of the circus to cover the sum with interest, and a note of explanation, reading:
As a boy I was given to foolishings. By a tricking I despoiled your ticket-wagon of many rupees. For this was I sent to a strong prison for ten years. In this place I prayed to Brahma who made deliverings of me. Here are your lost rupees and I have added to them for their use. Please to make kindly thinkings, in various days, of me and send receiptings to my kinsman in envelope I make placings within. May Siva preserve you, honorable sahibs.
That had been three days previously. The letter with the bank draft must have reached its destination in twenty-four hours. The reply should have been sent to Jalisingrao Jitendra, in care of Kirk Boyer, No.——West Sixty-Third Street, that day, and, with a view of securing it, Swami Ram had taken a rather long chance and gone to Kirkʼs home.
He had taken the Ninth Avenue express, passing the down-town train on which Delahunty and Boyer were returning after their unsuccessful visit to the Fort Lee studio to locate the Hindu, after seeing his thrilling rescue of a little girl at the launching of the Albany.
Swami Ram had not seen Delahunty nor, much to his chagrin, had he found the expected letter. His disappointment deepened into a keen presentiment of impending evil. So, with characteristic Oriental cunning, he sought of the stars an answer to the riddle. Long and earnestly he scanned the figure for the question he asked. His father had taught him that the birth of a question is in many ways like to the nativity of an individual. What would have been rank superstition to most Caucasians was to him the veriest truth.
He mused over the quaint characters.
“Mercury in Cancer in the third house, which governs letters and papers; and Mars soon makes ingress to Cancer, showing that annoyings shall come to me by reason of a letter. Also as Mars is in square to Saturn, this Mars man, who makes comings soon, makes unseen carrying of weapons on his person and, being in Cancer, it would seem that he is a servant but in authority, and who has unkind thinkings of me.”
Swami Ramʼs face suddenly brightened. He reached into his pocket and ﬁshed out the scrap of paper he had torn from the New York daily on landing in Boston.
For all his familiarity with the occult, the uncanny way the stars were conﬁrmed by subsequent events invariably caused a little ripple of awe to creep over him.
He had tried to best the stars when his fatherʼs life had been threatened—yet he had, as foretold, killed his revered progenitor with his own hand, although unwittingly.
Therefore he again went carefully over the horary ﬁgure. The Mars man he had no difficulty in identifying. What else remained to consider?
“Jupiter and Herschel are in the tenth house, which is the house of my honor, also signifying the government. That is better. This Jupiter man is most powerful and it would seem, as Jupiter is in trine to Mercury, that I shall have unexpected honor or favor at his hands.”
This was something, however, which he could not confirm by any fact he already knew, so he again turned his attention to the “Mars man who makes comings soon.”
“Mars is not strong in Cancer, therefore his designs against me will fail if I be prudent,” was his next deduction. “Mercury in Scorpio at my birth makes me do trickings. Gemini, the sign of the twins, rising at my birth, makes impelling for me to do trickings two times. This Mars man—yes, I have made meeting with him before. Therefore will he be wary.”
For an entire hour Swami Ram did not move. His suspicions regarding the Mars man were so strongly fortiﬁed, however, by the bit of paper he
replaced in his pocket, that he knew he must employ some new and altogether extraordinary means of evading the “annoyings” which the stars decreed that the Mars man would attempt.
At last the little Hindu looked over at the new traveling bag and glanced from it to the vacuum apparatus he had purchased in Boston. A slow smile wreathed his usually inscrutable face.
“Truly Siva has me in her holy keeping,” he said, half-aloud, “else had I not found this jinn with the strong breath with which to make cleanings-up.”
Thereafter, for some hours, Swami Ram worked unremittingly. Also he toyed long with the vacuum cylinder before concluding his labors.
MRS. ED BOYER, ready for marketing, met the postman at the door early the following forenoon. Kirk was out and her husband was just waking up. His efforts of the day before had made him sleep soundly.
The postman handed her a letter.
She stepped inside to hand it to her husband.
“Itʼs for Kirkʼs friend,” she explained. “See that he gets it, will you? He seemed disappointed yesterday when he didnʼt ﬁnd it, so I guess it is important.”
Boyer took the missive. It read:
MR. JALISINGRAO JITENDRA,
Care Kirk Boyer,
No. —— West 63rd Street,
New York City, N. Y.
“Thatʼs sure a mouthful of a name,” he observed derisively as his wife stepped back into the hall.
“Kirk told me he sometimes calls himself Swami Ram,” Mrs. Boyer flung back over her shoulder.
Boyer stared stupidly at the letter.
“Hey, Anna!” he called. But his wife was already out of the front door, and her husband could only turn the missive over and over in his hands in a dazed way.
“Swami Ram!” he incredulously repeated. “Why, thatʼs the same gink that Ferret-Eye mugged on the screen yesterday—and he had his mush in his pocket. Well, Iʼll be hanged!”
The astounding nature of the coincidence grew upon him.
“Anna said he was here last night just before I came. What a nerve that dago gun has got—and him wanted for crushing out of Danforth!”
Visions of the coveted promotion, so far away the night before, rose up in renewed splendor. As a second-grade detective, Boyer was getting the same salary as a ﬁrst-class patrolman. As a detective-sergeant, his income would be increased one-half more.
And here, right in his hand, was the plum. He had only to wait for Swami Ramʼs arrival—if it was the some Swami Ram—to place him under arrest, gain all the glory, and win the promotion which meant so much to him.
Then the disturbing thought came to him that there might be two Swami Rams. It was disquieting. In that event he would only make himself appear ridiculous and bring fresh reproach on the department, possibly a severe reprimand from his superiors.
“I’ve never seen this guinea,” Boyer told himself as he started to dress, “but Ferret-Eye showed me his mug yesterday. Now, if he should show before I have to go down-town, I guess I could ‘make him’ without any trouble—if it is him.”
His mind was still undecided just what to do when he swallowed coffee and was face to face with the necessity of reporting to headquarters—or taking a long chance and waiting.
425A new idea smote him.
“I ainʼt giving Ferret-Eye a fair shake if I grab this gun, even if Iʼm right,” he told himself with a spasm of remorse. “Ferret-Eye was, on the level with me, and I gotta give him his chance. Heʼs been trying to get this Hindu ever since he jumped into the fourth dimension—”
The fourth dimension!
Boyer suddenly recalled that his knowledge of dimensions was only that of the average man. He was sure there were three. Ferret-Eye Delahunty had assured him that there undoubtedly was a fourth—that Burston, the P. K. at Danforth, had gone crazy trying to describe it.
‟Ferret-Eye said he could jump back from Boston through this here fourth dimension in twenty-four seconds—or might. That was why he wouldnʼt get leave to go there and pick him up.
“Letʼs see—what was it he. said about a fifth dimension? Oh. I remember—he didnʼt know, but it was me that said there might be five or six or seven of ’em, perhaps.”
The headquarters man caught a glimpse of his doubtful face in the mirror and flushed.
“I guess I don’t want to meet no alienist while Iʼm feeling this way, or Iʼd probably go up to lock-in with poor old Burston. Anyway, a gun’s a gun, dimensions or no dimensions. The only dimensions that any gunʼs that crushed out of stir has any legal right to are in pie Bertillion records. I wonder whatʼs in this letter.”
Right there Boyer found some tangible footing.
Detectives with microscopes, with diagrams, with acids, with superhuman endowment, were all right inside the covers of a book. They work marvels and entertain people.
But in the cold, prosaic and matter-of-fact world in which a real headquarters man operates, any clue must be run to earth with all possible speed.
Had Kirk been there his brother would have put the whole matter bluntly up to him—asked him why he brought an ex-convict into his home, particularly one who had the unsavory record of breaking jail and who had nearly ten years of unexpired time to serve.
But Kirk was not there. therefore Detective Boyer, mindful of the exigencies of police business and hungering for the coveted promotion, speedily and artistically steamed the ﬂap of the letter addressed to “Jalisingrao Jitendra” over the family teakettle.
All doubt as to the ethics of his conduct vanished as he began to read:
We beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter from Boston, inclosing New York draft to our order for $11,800, the same being in the nature of a restitution of money stolen from our ticket-wagon by you three years ago. Your letter left us flat with surprise, and we note that the $1,800 is interest at the rate of six per cent per annum for the entire time this money has been out of our hands. We also note reference to your subsequent conviction, sentence and imprisonment for a period of ten years. With that, of course, we have nothing to do, beyond feeling that your honorable treatment of us in this matter certainly merits our supporting any application that you may make to the authorities for a reduction of your sentence or parole. If we can serve you in this matter, please feel assured that it will give us great pleasure to do so at any time. We bear you no malice and can quite understand how a young man of your antecedents was tempted and committed a crime for which he is afterward sincerely sorry. Speaking for ourselves, we feel that you have been punished quite enough. We are sending this receipt, as you requested, to the address given in your letter. The delay was due to our forwarding the draft to New York for collection, as we feared, at first, that some one was playing a joke on us. It was paid, however, in full to-day.
Very truly yours,
MOON BROTHERS CONSOLIDATED SHOWS,
Per John Bates, Treasurer.
Ed Boyer resealed the letter, laid it on the parlor table, and started down-town, more dubious than ever regarding his course of conduct. The sight of Delahuntyʼs bitter face was not particularly conducive to confi-
dences, and the surly nod in response to his greeting did not especially improve matters.
The two went out on the difficult and dangerous quest for the bomb-throwers, and penetrated places where death might lurk behind any dirty curtain or dank cellar. They arrested several suspects, sent them in to headquarters in the wagon, and plodded steadily through the mazes of Little Italy until noon.
By degrees Boyerʼs resentment toward Ferret-Eye Delahunty abated.
After all, their calling was a desperate one, the pay miserably poor for the risks they run, the chances of promotion mighty slender. They came at last to a squalid tenement.
It was here, less than a year before, that one of their fellow officers had been shot to death.
Both men hesitated.
Delahunty turned to Boyer. The former prison-keeperʼs face was pale, but his nerve was superb.
“Ed, Iʼm going up to have a look through this dump. Suppose you stay down here. If anything happens they won't get us both, and you may get the fellow that gets me.”
‟If anything happens, Jack,” quietly returned Boyer, “theyʼve got to get us both. Whatʼs good enough for you is good enough for me.”
They ascended the stairs together. The place was untenanted.
“I sure play in the damnedest luck,” growled Delahunty. “I just seem to miss every chance I orter have. I work hard, but I donʼt seem to have the right kind of headway.
“Now, take that Swami Ram business yesterday. Did you ever see anything more devilish? I see his mug on a ﬁlm and I run out that clue. No use—they donʼt even know who sold it to ʼem. I start back down-town and I see the gink myself—mebbe heʼs jumped out of that there fourth dimension just to plague me.
“I try to get a copper at Fifty-Ninth Street—-the phone lays down like a dogʼs that favorite at Sheeps-head Bay. I wonder whatʼs coming to me, anyhow?
“If I only had a fair shake—well, Iʼd make that chocolate-colored rat jump into the fifth dimension, or Iʼd land him back in the same east hall cell he got out of before, and take a chance on some other Danforth keepers going off their nut or getting the razoo, like I got it.”
Every word cut Boyer’s honest heart like a knife.
Ferret-Eye Delahunty had his faults, but his grouch which had so irked his partner was plainly more the result of the disappointments he had met up with than any dislike of the man with whom he worked. So it was with quite some little remorse at not giving out the information before that Boyer decided the time had come to “be on the square with Ferret-Eye.”
In a way Boyer felt genuinely sorry for Swami Ram. He had been young when he robbed the circus-wagon. He was also a foreigner and, in so far as possible, Swami Ram had evidenced that he was inclined to go straight hereafter by making restitution of the stolen money.
However, as a police oﬁicer, Boyer’s functions were executive, not judicial. He was a sworn servant of the State of New York, and the words of his official oath came ﬂoating back from the dim cavems of memory—‟to uphold the Constitution of the United States and its laws, the constitution and laws of the State of New York—so help you God.”
Did not the laws of the State of New York make it mandatory, not only upon oflicers but upon citizens as well, to aid in retaking escaped convicts? Besides, was it not a felony to give aid to or to suppress information concerning all such?
“Jack,” said Boyer, plunging desperately into the heart of his confession with a suddenness that suggested only sincerity, “I think I got a clue
to your man. Can you tell me if he ever had an alias?”
“I never heard of any.”
“Well, this is a blamed funny thing, and I may be all wrong,” went on Boyer apologetically. “I donʼt know. Donʼt build your hopes too high, but listen to me, and then weʼll see what we orter do. Last night, when I went home, I met my brother whoʼs just got back from Asia. He met a little feller there by the name of Jalisingrao Jitendra—leastwise, thereʼs a letter come to the house to-day for him from a circus company up in Connecticut.”
Delahunty broke in with a savage oath which leaped from his livid lips.
‟He robbed a circus-wagon,” he snarled. ‟Thatʼs what he got the ten-year bit for.”
‟You didnʼt tell me that yesterday,” retorted Boyer, swiftly following up his slender advantage.
“No, Ed, I guess I didnʼt.”
‟Now, I hainʼt seen this feller yet, but I understood from my wife that he was at the house with my brother, just before I got home. We seen—that is, you seen him—the same feller whose face was in that moving-picture, agoin’ up-town on an express that stops at Fifty-Ninth Street.
“I live in West Sixty-Third, just offen Columbus Avenue. This here Jalisingrao Jitendra was there at my house last night, just before I got home, and he was a looking for this letter. What do you think of going up and having a look around for him?”
Delahuntyʼs face glowed. The two started for the ‟L.”
They hurried from the station over toward Buyerʼs house. A yellow taxicab was just emerging into Columbus Avenue. Boyer did not see it, but Delahunty, after one look at the face of the man in the window, leaped for another vehicle standing by the side of the street where a passenger had just alighted.
The second taxicab was fast making off when Ferret-Eye leaped to the seat, flashed his shield, and pointed after the retreating auto, leaving Boyer standing stupidly on the pavement.
DETECTIVE BOYER stalked the few steps to his house and angrily entered it. It seemed to him a very poor return for his wholehearted cooperation that his partner
should leave him in such a manner.
No other taxi was nearer than Broadway, and before he could have gotten one and started in pursuit, he knew the two ahead would be out of sight.
Kirk was in the parlor when he came in.
‟Say,” abruptly demanded the detective, ”was your friend Jalisingrao Jitendra here to-day?”
”He just left in a yellow taxi with the letter he expected. Why?”
“He seemed in a devil of a hurry!” evaded the officer. “What makes him shy out of the house every time I get near it?”
‟I donʼt get you, Ed,” replied Kirk after a short silence. “Why should he be afraid of you? When he went away just now I told him youʼd be here and wanted him to stay to supper.”
‟Why didnʼt he?”
“Search m. He had some reason, I guess, for he said: ‘Sahib Boyer, Mars makes approachings to Mercuryʼs place in Cancer. I shall have annoyings presently.ʼ ”
Ed Boyer burst into Homeric laughter.
“How did he know?”
‟How did who know?”
‟How did he know what?” From Kirkʼs emphasis he was growing nettled.
“That he would have ʽannoyings’?”
‟Well, Ed, now you ask me something that I canʼt tell you. I’ve watched
that little bag of tricks pretty close since I first met him, but heʼs too deep for me. He believes in the inﬂuence of the stars—that much I know, and he sure can pull some queer stuff.”
Ed Boyer grinned derisively.
“So learned yesterday—that is, the queer stuff part. Heʼs the gink that jumps into the fourth dimension, ainʼt he?”
‟I never heard him mention it, but heʼs strong for a stone-faced dame called Siva. Iʼve seen him praying to her in India. But come across with it, Ed. Will you? And remember this boyʼs a friend of mine.”
The detectiveʼs face fell into inquisitorial lines. ‟What did you say his name is?”
‟Say,” stormed Kirk, ‟what is this—the third degree?”
“Not yet. But it might be.”
The sternness of the reply left Kirk Boyer wordless.
‟Iʼm surprised at you, Kirk,” went on his brother. ‟Youʼre a pretty wise guy—in most things. Youʼve lived in New York long enough to cut your eye-teeth. I never thought youʼd bring an ex-convict into the house as bold as brass, and ask me—a headquarters cop thatʼs itching for promotion—to stand for it. It knocked me cold. That ainʼt the worst of it. He crushed out of Danforth Prison three years ago, where he was doing a ten-year stretch.”
Kirk Boyer looked long and hard at his brother.
“Is this straight?” he demanded.
‟My partner, Ferret-Eye Delahunty, was the screw in the east hall when he beat stir,” coldly replied the other. ‟We got on his trail in a moving-picture house over on the East Side yesterday. He jumped out of a bunch of people watching a launching and dove for a little girl who had just christened the boat. It was the cruiser Albany, over at Fore River, near Boston.”
“Old stuff, Ed,” countered Kirk wearily. ‟I was there and made the film. As for my being lame in my think-tank, just remember this: I was telling you all about this boy last night when you got that message from headquarters to come down on Bomb No. l29—thatʼs what the papers call it. Remember that?”
‟As for the rest of your dope, I donʼt know whether youʼre right or not—and whatʼs more—I don't care. This Swami Ram is a dead-straight pal of mine—he saved my life in Haidarabad, and he staked me to get home.
“Now, Ed, youʼre my brother, and I wouldnʼt do anything to crab your game, if itʼs on the level. See? So, if it is, before you start to pull the pity stop out on your pipes, just give me the subcellar hunch on this Danforth stuff.”
“That pogie is no cardboard Noahʼs ark. Why was he sent there—and how did he beat it?”
Kirk rose. His pallor and tense manner showed that he was hard hit by his brotherʼs accusation. The two were fast friends, but Ed knew that Kirk would never forgive him if he told of steaming open the letter.
“Well, Kirk, as I told you a minute ago, Ferret-Eye Delahunty and I are partners. Yesterday, in the moving-picture house, we saw this ladʼs face on the screen. Delahunty went up in the air. He showed me a picture of this fellow, regular Bertillon photographs, on an old reward slip from Danforth, giving the name of Swami Ram.
“We started out to run down the film. At Fort Lee they didnʼt know; said he was a free-lance camera man. To-day Delahunty told me this lad was sent up for ten years for robbing a circus ticket-wagon. The letter that came for this jingle-jangle friend of yours was from a circus. And heʼs a Hindu, too, ainʼt he?” defensively demanded the detective.
‟Go on!” said Kirk, clenching his lower lip between his teeth and strid-
ing up and down the little parlor like a caged puma.
“Well, when I mentioned this to Ferret-Eye, he wanted to come up and have a look at him. We got to the corner and a yellow taxi was turning from Sixty-Third into Columbus Avenue. Ferret-Eye made a jump for another—and they both blew. I come on over here. It must have been the same gink—else why would Ferret-Eye go after him that way?”
“Where did they go?”
“Down Columbus Avenue,” answered Ed Boyer.
Kirk paced the room restively with a bloodless face for another moment or two.
“Ed, how did Swami Ram get out of that prison?”
“All that I know is that Delahunty said he jumped into the fourth dimension one night—just faded out, and the next they heard of him he was in India somewhere. Where's your friend stopping?”
‟He didn't tell me.”
“Well, Kirk, thereʼs no use in being sore at me.”
His brother turned. “Nothing to kick about at all, Ed. But paste this in your hat. Will you? I don't know anything about this fourth dimension. So far as Iʼm concerned, there ainʼt no such animal. Maybe there is such a place—or a fifth, for all I know. But one thing I do know—”
He paused impressively.
“I saw Swami Ram buy a vacuum doo-dad in Boston. I kidded him about it, and he handed it right back to me—about the will of Siva and ‘a cleanings up.’ If your partner went after that bright little bird heʼs taking a long chance.”
‟Think so?” acidly queried the Sleuth.
‟Mebbe not,” continued his brother, ‟but I saw Swami Ram bust up an insurrection that threatened a holy war in India, Saw him march into a fortress where there were forty thousand natives—every man Jack of them a human stick of dynamite.
‟I saw him rope and hog-tie the man that had murdered his father a few days before. I rode with him from Golconda to Hyderabad, as I said last night, on an elephant that had fifty thousand dollarsʼ worth of gold-braid slum-strewed over him, and in a howdah, blazing with more jewels in it than Tiffany keeps in his window.
“Now, Ed, if youʼd only tipped me off, I might have ﬁxed this thing up. Maybe, as it is, youʼve crabbed your own game. Weʼll see. The one thing that comforts me is that you ain’t after him—along with Delahunty.”
“Do you think he’ll jump into the fourth dimension again?” asked the detective in an awed voice. His brotherʼs earnestness had made a deep impression.
‟Heʼs like Shakespeare—he never repeats,” replied Kirk decisively. ‟Mind you, I don’t know what his game is. But if he happens to feel like it, having beat this Ferret-Eye by going into the fourth dimension once, heʼll probably go further next time.”
‟Into the fifth dimension—mebbe?” queried Ed tentatively.
Kirk waved his hands in disgust.
‟How should I know. Is there any such place?”
"‟Ferret-Eye seemed to think there was—but he wasn't sure.”
“Then your pal sure has something coming. If he couldnʼt follow him into the fourth dimension—how can he dope the next move of his?”
‟Well, Kirk, I donʼt know any more than you do about it. But Ferret-Eyeʼs got nerve, and heʼs sore on this Swami Ram beating his prison when he was on guard there. I guess, if he keeps on his trail, heʼll make it hot for him. In a way, Iʼm sorry for the little nigger. He ainʼt such a bad sort, judging by that ﬁlm. Who was the girl he saved?”
Kirk's moody look died out and an enigmatic stare was his only reply. Presently he scanned a fragment of
ﬁlm he pulled from his pocket, then bolted from the room, leaving the question still unanswered.
Ed Boyer wondered why such a simple question should work such an odd change. On the whole, the last twenty-four hours had been rather unusual, and every new incident seemed more peculiar than the one before.
Also, as he reﬂected, the vortex of all of these peculiar circumstances seemed, in some way. to revolve around the elusive Hindu, whose cause his brother so stoutly championed. He wondered if Ferret-Eye had by now overtaken the yellow taxicab—and, if so, whether Swami Ram was in it.
Perhaps—and Detective Boyer could not repress a slight chill at even so wildly improbable an idea—Swami Ram had known all along what Delahunty intended doing; and had, like the mysterious little imp Ferret-Eye, had proclaimed him to be, elected to leap into the ﬁfth dimension from the third—and drag his pursuer with him.
He heard the front door slam. Kirk was leaving and without a word. Boyer sighed. He hated to alienate the regard of his meteoric brother, but he had not deliberately betrayed the contents of the letter to Delahunty.
With a start of surprise he saw he had been home for more than an hour. Presently Mrs. Boyer retumed from a call and began to prepare supper.
Another hour and no word from Delahunty. Ed decided to call up his partner's boarding-house. Ferret-Eye had not yet come in. Headquarters also reported negatively.
For the ﬁrst time in his life the seasoned officer faced something akin to “the creeps.” Something was wrong. This thing was too mysterious for words.
Then his practical habit of mind steadied him for a moment.
“Rot! How could even a slick little monk like that make an automobile dissolve? He's got everybody buffaloed—that’s all. But he ainʼt got me buffaloed. Iʼll ﬁnd that taxicab—”
A new look of dismay spread over Detective Boyerʼs face as he remembered that he had no way of knowing its number.
IF Swami Ram knew the most relentless enemy he had was hot on his trail—and even then in sight of the vehicle he occupied—there was nothing in his behavior to indicate it as the yellow taxicab pulled up at the entrance of the Hotel Paddington.
His manner was merely that of one engrossed in some important business, and he alighted briskly. Tendering a ﬁve-dollar bill to the chauffeur and waving his hand to indicate that he could keep the change, the little Hindu nodded to the resplendent major-general who bowed low as he pushed the revolving door.
Swami Ram walked through the lobby to the elevator and went directly to his room.
Thirty seconds later Ferret-Eye’s chauffeur jammed his brake hard at the side-street crossing when the traffic officer raised his hand. The delay irked the detective, who ﬂashed his shield into the surprised traffic manʼs eyes and got the right of way almost at once.
It could not have been more than forty-ﬁve secohds after the Hindu's entrance before Ferret-Eye Delahunty, cnushing down the mad lust that yeasted up inside him, stalked deliberately but nonchalantly into the ﬁrst elevator which descended.
The starter closed the door betore any one else happened to enter.
“Floor, please," icily demanded the operator as they shot up.
Unofficially, Ferret-Eye often impressed some people much the same as in the days when he had been merely Dirty Jack, and this wise-visaged operator, indubitably, was one of the people.
Delahunty stared coldly back; repressing his impulse to ﬂash his shield. Such a procedure would have “spilled the beans,” for police shields are sometimes stolen. Clever thieves, by their use, evade suspicion by exhibiting them.
The most, therefore. that Delahunty could hope for would be a swift descent to the ground ﬂoor and a swifter summons to the house detective.
If the house detective went with him he would thereby be robbed of a large percentage of the glory to be his alone—very shortly.
It was this same spirit of avarice which had prompted him to desert his partner Boyer, without whose kindly tip he might never have caught sight of Swami Ram again, when he leaped into the passing taxicab to begin pursuit of the yellow vehicle.
Ed Boyer wanted to he “on the square with Ferret-Eye,” but no responsive chivalry animated Ferret-Eye toward Boyer.
The operator checked his car, now near the top, eyeing his solitary passenger more suspiciously.
‟Who is it you wish to see? You ainʼt stopping here, are you?” he frostily demanded.
Delahunty trembled so violently that he half-staggered against the side of the elevator. He was, in fact, almost unable to control his limbs.
The tremendous cauldron of hate which was boiling up within him had a reaction almost the opposite to that which he had often dreamed would occur if, by some miracle, he should ever get officially within reaching distance of the Satanically cunning Swami Ram again.
Now that the time was arrived, Ferret-Eye was more unstrung than a tyro shooting at his ﬁrst big game. The elevator-boy hesitated. Delahunty, big enough to be formidable and wearing a malevolent expression, might ‟let out a yip” at the office. On the other hand, the orders were very strict regarding the admission of drunken men above the ﬁrst ﬂoor.
This fellowʼs condition plainly called for decisive action, and Delahunty’s obvious condition made discretion unnecessary.
‟Are you drunk?” bluntly demanded the operator.
Delahunty strove to suppress another spasmodic lurch born of sheer amazement at the effrontery of this underling.
“You act like it,” continued the youth, shifting imperceptibly as he noted the detective’s look of rage. “My orders are very strict, sir. Would you mind returning to the office and having your name sent up?”
The latent cunning of Ferret-Eye came to his rescue. Such a course would be suicide. The clerk would demand his name and business. Even if he took a long chance and sent up
the name “Boyer,” his partner’s brother Kirk might be with Swami Ram in the room at the time.
If Swami Ream elected to come down—which was highly improbable—the fat would also be in the ﬁre. One glance in Delahunty’s direction, and the elusive Hindu might fade away into the fourth—or the ﬁfth—dimension right in the Paddington’s lobby; or, what would be equally humiliating, his quarry might shin up one of the ornate imitation-marble pillars, and thus escape his pursuer.
Delahunty came to with a start.
Plainly he was reasoning in a circle, and the car was now swiftly descending.
“Here!” exclaimed the detective, extending the first bill his fingers clutched toward the youth at the lever.
The car stopped with a series of elastic bounces.
Delahunty did not know that he was proffering a “ten-case note” to the fellow on whom so much just then depended, but the chap who grabbed for it knew it. Moreover, he conclu-
ded that the passenger was not only drunk, but very much drunker than he had at ﬁrst imagined.
However, the big war was still on, and not only tips but guests were painfully few at the Paddington. Guests who tipped with ten-dollar hills were as rare as orchids in Labrador just now, and for such a fat one the operator would have taken far longer chances.
“You took up a fellow wearing a turban a minute ago. didn't you?" thickly demanded Ferret-Eye.
“Oh—you mean Mr. Jitendra?”
‟Thatʼs the wop!”
“On the fourteenth. Iʼll show you.”
Suiting the action to the word, the operator stopped at the floor named.
“This way, sir.”
Delahunty stiffened. His heart was still thumping furiously, but his cold, venomous determination smothered his ﬁrst giddiness.
He walked very quietly to the door the elevator-man indicated. The youth dodged back into the car and dropped to the office to “plant” his gratuity, lest this changeable individual, who appeared intoxicated one moment and cold sober the next, might discover that he had parted with a ten-dollar tip in place of a solitary “bean.”
Delahunty took a long look around. Everything seemed to be satisfactory. The hall, at least, was plainly three-dimensional in quality—it was long, wide, and rather high.
The oak door ahead of him was grained just like thousands of other, high-grade oak doors were ﬁnished. Save that it had a keyhole in the center of its highly polished knob, it might have been the door to headquarters.
Down the hall a few steps was a maid carrying a bundle of fresh linen over her arm. It reassured him a little to note that she was coming his way.
If there was anything devilish lurking here it surely must be very well hidden. Also, as Delahunty reﬂected grimly, if he was right, just beyond that door was an escaped convict—than whom no human being has less legal rights in the broad universe.
He gripped his revolver tightly in the side pocket of his coat. Something of the savage, relentless spirit within that jerked his trigger-ﬁnger that long-ago day when he had shot down an escaping convict at Danforth, just before Swami Ramʼs mysterious disappearance, now steadied his nerves until they were as taut as steel cables in Brooklyn Bridge.
He realized that he held a far greater advantage in this unexpected visit to the Hinduʼs room even than when he had been a prison-guard at Danforth.
Then Swami Ram had known he was watched. Now he did not—at least there was every reason to believe that he had no suspicion he was pursued, judging from the conﬁdent manner he had openly returned to his hotel.
That indispensable element of psychology, to attain which generals spend years in developing their soldiers—the swift, overwhelming surprise of an antagonist—the cruel cunning which calculates to a nicety the confusion, the terror, the momentary paralysis of every faculty of a victim unprepared—something of all this came to Ferret-Eye as he raised his left hand and rapped on the panel of the door.
‟Come in!” came the clear, melodious, and absolutely unmistakable accents of Swami Ram.
The detective grasped the handle of the door just as the maid brushed past. It was Ferret-Eye who had rapped, but it was the same old Dirty Jack who stepped inside—his pistol sweeping the room in a splayed circle that left no corner of it uncovered.
Instantly Delahunty closed the door behind him. He wanted no interruptions.
He looked around in amazement.
The brilliantly lighted room was absolutely empty.
Delahunty drove home the bolt on the inside of the door, then leaped for the bath-room, crabwise, with an avid eye on the door by which he had entered.
The ﬂawless white tiles and polished porcelain ﬁxtures reﬂected back the light of several incandescents.
The swift glance which he sent over it showed him that while perhaps one cockroach might have safely hidden out in Danforth, no insect as large as a cockroach could have penetrated this recent and ﬂawless plumbing.
Again Delahunty looked over the bedroom.
The middle window was raised.
Toward this he now ran, still holding his automatic ready for instant action. He peered out—and down. More than one hundred and sixty feet below Broadway trafﬁc trickled along just as usual. There was no sign of a rope, a ladder, a parachute, or any other device for descending from such a frightful height.
But where was Swami Ram?
DELAHUNTY shoved his pistol in his pocket. He stepped to the door, opened it, and beckoned to the maid who was emerging from the next room.
‟Didnʼt Mr. Jitendra come in here a minute ago?” he asked her.
“Yes, sir; just before youse come up with the boy.”
‟Did he go out again?”
“Indade he did not, sir. I was right here all of the time until youse come up. Besides, didn’t he call ‘Come in’ when yonse knocked? I hear-rd him plain; see, his transom’s open.”
Ferret-Eye looked confused. ‟Thank you,” said he, tendering her a dollar.
The maid curtsied.
‟Also his door was unlocked, sir, and I niver lave them that way unless the guests is in. Just go inside again and knock on his bathroom door.”
Delahunty did so.
A moment later he looked out at the woman.
“All right,” he nodded.
But it was all wrong instead, and Dclahunty knew it.
There was no more trace of Swami Ram than there had been when he ﬁrst entered.
That, however, was beside the question.
Delahunty remembered that Warden Dwyer had told him he had been tricked when Swami Ram had escaped from Danforth. Swami Ram had been in a cell all along.
But Delahunty, nevertheless. believed that he himself had been “framed up” and “let out”, to cover up the convict’s getaway and save Warden Dwyerʽs official face. Finally, he had never credited that explanation. It had always seemed to him childishly absurd.
But even admitting that Swami Ram had escaped from him in such a simple way—that settled the question of the fourth dimension.
There either was a fourth dimension or there wasn’t.
If there was, Swami Ram might know how to get in and out of it whenever he pleased, and unseen by any pursuer.
If there was not, then Swami Ram was in hiding, right in the same comparatively small room.
That was the epitome of the cunning reasoning behind Delahuntyʼs make-believe with the maid. If she knew, or thought she knew, that Swami Ram was not in his room, naturally she would ask the visitor to vacate it and wait the guestʼs return.
Meanwhile anything might come off.
“If it does,” muttered Ferret-Eye grimly, “Iʼm going to be right there to see what it is.”
He closed the transom carefully.
He placed a chair against the door leading into the hall and beneath the knob, bracing it against the ﬂoor in such a manner that it would require considerable strength to remove it.
‟I guess nobody wonʼt come in here to interrupt my work,” muttered Delahunty. ‟Now for that window. If he ﬂoated into the fourth dimension and blew out there, it stands to reason heʼll have to blow back through the same gate. Well, here goes.”
He pulled down the window.
“Now, you damned heathen,” pleasantly observed Ferret-Eye in the most unctuous of Dirty Jackʼs accents, ‟if youʼre in here, youʼre my meat. If you ainʼt, Iʼm yourn!”
First, the now maddened detective inspected the wardrobe trunk. It was unlocked, and this only infuriated him the more, for he wanted to rend every material thing in the room, since the tricky Hindu had again so unaccountably eluded him.
He pushed it apart viciously, tearing the clothes from their hangers, now and again glancing with the sly eyes of a baffled cat toward the only door in the room.
He pulled out the drawers, emptying their contents on the floor as if he believed Swami Ram had turned into a mouse and was hiding under the assortment of collars. neckties, or various other articles of haberdashery which ﬁlled them.
The foolishness of this seemed to dawn on Ferret-Eye as he emptied the last drawer.
He paused to ruminate.
‟That girl saw him come in. He didnʼt go out by the door. She heard him say ‘Come in’ when I knocked, and that proves that Iʼm no nut,” he assured himself. “Itʼs the Chemical Nationalʼs wad against a bottle of stale beer he didnʼt go down out of that window, Even if he had a rope, I was in here too quick for that trick.
“'That proves heʼs here—somewhere—and Iʼm going to drag him out of the fourth dimension, if thatʼs where heʼs hiding; or even the fifth, if heʼs added another one to his bag of tricks since I seen him last.”
His wild, blood-shot eyes fell upon the vacuum-cleaner.
“The cunning little monk, thatʼs where heʼs gone, eh?”
In a trice Ferret-Eye was unscrewing the top. He peered down into it. There was only a very large bottle, empty like everything else, sitting demurely inside as if it were the most natural thing in the world for an empty bottle to select the cylinder of a vacuum-cleaner for a resting-place.
Delahunty threw the cover of the cylinder on the ﬂoor in sheer disgust. Then, with a growing feeling of alarm, replaced it.
Years before, in the fourth reader, he had read of an old Arabian who had the power of dissolving himself and climbing into a bottle. The unfortunate chap had been thrown into the sea and divers troubles had ensued.
The perplexed but raging sleuth made a mental note that he would ‟ditch” this particular bottle off the end of some convenient wharf next day, provided he did not discover Swami Ram in the ﬂesh before that time.
Just to make certain that he was not being triﬂed with he carried the bottle over beneath the chandelier, turned it upside down, looked through it, sniffed at its uncorked. gaping mouth, and then laid it carefully down on the floor.
There was not even an odor apparent.
“If heʼs in that there thing, heʼs sure in the ﬁfth dimension,” declared the baffled detective. “Ha! Mebbe he’s in the mattress.”
To think a thing in his present mood was to act upon the idea without delay. Time was precious. When a fugitive can vanish, as Swami Ram undeniably had, between the time said fugitive speaks and the time it takes
to open a door, he must be some “dissolver.”
The mattress-cover was tough, and appeared to be full of springs and hair.
Delahunty, with vicious expectation, drew out his heavy pocket-knife and opened the smallest blade, after assuring himself that his quarry was not under the bed.
Repeatedly he deliberately but carefully jabbed it into various sections of the mattress, making imperceptible holes, recalling meanwhile the description of Paddy Moran in the Danforth guard-room when that worthy related how the Hindu girl in the basket cried out when the sword struck her.
But Butte is a long distance from Broadway, as Delahunty presently understood when his most honest efforts to draw an expression of pain from the mattress resulted as utterly fruitless as everything else so far had done.
The upholstering of the chairs met with like treatment, but from below, where no traces .would likely be seen.
At last, panting with the most supreme and uncontrollable madness which had seized on him, and after ransacking every inch of the room, even to prying out the tacks to lift carefully up the carpet in one corner and driving his knife against the concrete beneath the veneer of thin wood on which the ﬂoor-covering was laid, Ferret-Eye had nothing more to do.
Swami Ram was gone.
Delahunty realized that neither one man, nor a dozen of them for that matter, could have discovered even a crevice that he had not thoroughly explored.
“Heʼs put it over on me again,” he admitted, half aloud as he leaned against the window, with the conviction of despair.
As he realized this he suddenly felt nauseated. He dropped weakly on one of the chairs, ﬁxing his eyes on the door. The chair was still braced against it, the transom still closed.
‟I wonder if he was in the ﬁfth dimension and ﬂoated out past me when I came in?” gasped Delahunty, faintly.
Something was wrong with him. He was growing steadily weaker, and the feeling of deathly sickness was more pronounced than a moment ago. A numbness was creeping insidiously over him.
He tried to rise, but sank back on the chair, watching the walls of the room sway apparently, but this he well knew to he his own giddiness. Presently he grew more alarmed. He could scarcely breathe. He realized that he was fast losing consciousness; already he could not move.
Suddenly he was conscious of another presence in the room.
A voice, low musical, and freighted with perfect poise, spoke directly into his ear.
“Sahib Dirty-Jack, why will you make tamperings with that which is forbidden?”
With a last mighty effort Ferret-Eye focused his celebrated optics upon the ﬁgure before him.
There could be no mistake.
It was Swami Ram, and he was calmly opening the three windows.
Delahunty tried to clutch his automatic. He might as well have tried to leap over the hotel.
“Said I not when you made askings of me in Danforth Prison,” continued Swami Ram, “that the path lay past the three gates of Narak; but to shun them, and seek instead that of Swarga?
“Thou hast not made obeyings of my commands and lo! an evil time confronteth thee, for thou art a Mars-man, and Mars is not strong in the house of Cancer. Also,” Swami Ram bent swiftly as he continued in a calm voice, “the square of Saturn showed that thou wouldst make carryings of weapons.”
Deftly the little Hindu plucked the automatic pistol fronm Delahuntyʼs pocket.
Ferret-Eye felt that it was all over with Dirty-Jack.
TWENTY-FOUR hours is a long time , when the esteemed “buddyˮ of a second-grade detective does not turn up, and as Ed Boyer came wearily up the steps of his home he felt a positive alarm for Ferret-Eye’s safety.
Moreover, absence without leave is a serious offense in police circles. Unless explained by a physician's certiﬁcate to the effect that the officer is ill, it is presumed that he has deﬁed regulations, and the punishment is accordingly severe.
Twenty-four hours previously Ed Boyer had been waiting for the return of Delahunty, or at least a message from him to the effect that he had landed Swami Ram in a headquarter's cell.
Now, unless some reasonable explanation was speedily received, the chances were very good for Delahunty to be ﬁned a monthʼs pay, disrated, and sent back to ‟pounding the pavement.ˮ
His pull was strong, but the day was past in New York police circles when ﬂagrant breaches of discipline may be ignored because of that fact. There are too many politicians and too much overnight shifting of political sands.
“Has Kirk showed up yet?” Boyer asked his wife.
"Havenʼt seen nor heard from him—-wait a minute. the phoneʼs ringing.ˮ
‟Here's Kirk now,ˮ she announced from the instrument. ‟He wants to talk with you.ˮ
The detective was not slow in responding.
“Yes, Kirk—this is Ed. Where are you?—What’s that?--in the ﬁfth dimension?—Aw, say, Kirk, cut it out, will you? Whereʼs that Swami Ram friend of yours? No, Delahunty ain’t showed yet, and the lieutenant is awful sore—
“No, your friend is still hiding out—What? He won’t have to hide out any more—Aw, wait, Kirk, let me get this right—-Did you say you’d found the ﬁfth dimension? Say, ainʼt I always been a good brother to you?—Sure I have, Kirk. What do you want to treat me this way for?
‟Where are you?—At Yapahank, Long Island?—Youʼre a liar, Kirk—Yes, I know from your voice itʼs a long-distance call. When will you be back?—To-morrow morning? All right. Good-by.ˮ
Central foiled his effort to learn where the call was from despite his threats, and Ed Boyer hung up in disgust.
He was very moody at supper-time and remained silent, for he made it a rule never to discuss police business of any character with his wife. It was one of the unwritten laws of the department.
Kirk had not returned when he started for headquarters the following morning. Ed entered the massive pile with a feeling of haunting mystery gripping him.
Delahunty had ridden away in a taxi, following an escaped convict, and nothing had been seen of either of them since. It was altogether out of the ordinary, even when one put aside this moonshine stuff about “the fourth dimension,ˮ “the ﬁfth dimension,ˮ and other equally absurd theories.
The lieutenant looked up sharply as he entered.
The detective saluted and stopped short at the imperative gesture his superior gave.
“The inspector wants to see you at once!” he said sharply.
‟Somethingʼs broke!” groaned Boyer to himself as he started toward the room which the inspector occupied.
“Heʼs over in the chief surgeonʼs office,” said the lieutenant.
With a growing alarm Ed hurried through the hall and tapped on the door mentioned. A patrolman opened it. Boyer gave his name and rank. He was immediately admitted and directed to the operating-room.
Although he had experienced considerable anxiety since his partnerʼs mysterious disappearance, Ed was, notwithstanding, hardly prepared for the sight of Ferret-Eye stretched on the operating table, ghastly white, with only a slight strip of his eyelids opened, and the slit thus made showing only the ﬂeshy-white of the eyeball.
Over him the chief surgeon was solicitously bending, and next to the surgeon stood the inspector. From the stern gravity of both it was plain that something tragic was impending or had occurred.
“Youʼre Ed Boyer. second-grade detective, are you not?” snapped the inspector.
“Do you know this officer?”
“Yes, sir. He is Ferret-Eye John Delahunty, my partner.”
“When did you see him last?”
“Day before yesterday.”
The detective gave the details in full, under repeated questions. The inspectorʼs face grew angrier.
“I donʼt understand this at all, Boyer.”
“What has happened, sir?ʼ
The inspector explained. It appeared that Delahunty had arrived in a trunk at police headquarters that morning, his hands locked behind his back with his own police cuffs, in a semiconscious condition, and with a note pinned to his coat.
So far as could be found, nothing Delahunty usually carried was missing. His gun, twisters, shield, and wallet containing police papers were all intact, also he had a few dollars.
There were no marks of violence on him and the stomach-pump, which had been vigorously applied, failed to reveal any evidence of poison.
“Can you explain this?" asked the inspector ﬁnally, passing the bewildered detective the note:
HONORABLE SAHIBS WHO MAKE PROTECTINGS OF ALL HONEST MEN:
I make returnings to you of a novice who hath essayed the wrong gate to the Seven Paths of Attainment. He hath tried, through mistakings of mind, to enter the ﬁfth dimension, for of that he was making speech when I came upon him. Also, he was ill. Lest you should also make mistakings of my intendings I send him to you with all speedings in this box.
Honorable Sahibs, I am yours to make commandings when and where you will.
Ed Boyer handed back the note.
“If I try, youʼll think Iʼm bughouse,” said he obdurately. “I donʼt want to seem unwilling, but Iʼd rather get thirty days than act like a fool; and thatʼs what youʼll say if I start in to tell what I know.
The inspector, however, took a more charitable view of the matter. In the privacy of his office Ed Boyer related all that had occurred.
“Where is your brother?”
“Now you will call me a candidate for the booby-hatch, inspector. I got a long-distance call from him last night, and he said heʼd found this place and was talking from it.”
“Why, the fifth dimension.”
“Do they have telephones there?”
“I don’t know—but they might. Anyway, poor Jack rode away in a life-size taxicab—I remember now it had an I. O. T. A. sign on it, but I didn’t get the number—and he was chasing one of the yellows. He faded out, so farʼs I know, right there, and if he got mixed up in that queer place with a taxi, why, thatʼs a lot bigger than a telephone, ainʼt it?”
“And you say this Hindu was in the yellow one?”
“I didnʼt see him, inspector; but from the way Ferret-Eye lit out after
that same yellow taxicab, he must have been. Otherwise, why did he break away just then, when we was hot after him?”
‟Go out and see if you can locate your brother, and when you do, report here by telephone. Weʼve got to land this Swami Ram—and do it to-day.
Lodge a charge against him as an escaped convict—until Delahunty can swear to a complaint. Heʼs too sick to appear in court to-day—and the surgeon canʼt ﬁnd a thing wrong with him, thatʼs the funniest thing of all.”
Ed saluted and left.
The ﬁrst thing he did was to call up his house.
His wife assured him that Kirk had come in and gone out again, after promising that Ed would hear from him later on in person or by telephone.
“He wants to see his friend; says heʼs got some important news for him.”
“Now, that ainʼt a bit like Kirk,” complained Ed to himself as he started homeward. ‟What for does he want to tip off that Hindu that weʼre after him? That ainʼt no way to treat a brother thatʼs trying for promotion.”
At the house he had another surprise.
“I forgot to tell you, Ed, that this little Hindu, Mr. Jitendra, called up Kirk when he came in. Thatʼs why Kirk went out again.”
Her husband looked unutterable things.
“I wish youʼd told me that before, Anna,” said he reproachfully.
‟Why, Ed, you never said you wanted to meet him; at least, I never heard you say so.”
“Meet him? Anna, I want to meet him and Kirk officially as soon as ever I can. How did his voice sound?”
‟Why, just like yours would. Why?”
“Nothing. I was just wondering.”
Ten minutes later a yellow taxi drew up at the door. Ed met the chauffeur on the steps and received a note.
Without waiting to notify his wife, he hurried into the vehicle. The note was from Kirk. It merely requested him to meet his brother in the lobby of the Hotel Paddington.
“Come up-stairs with me, Ed,” said Kirk. The detective followed without a word.
At the fourteenth ﬂoor they left the elevator and went down the hall a few steps. Kirk opened the door and waved to his brother to precede him.
Inside, squatting cross-legged, Swami Ram was imperturbably studying a piece of paper on which were quaint characters, whose purport was as much beyond Ed Boyer’s understanding as everything else had been hitherto.
“THIS is my brother Ed,” said Kirk. ‟Heʼs the detective who works out of headquarters and is partner to the gentleman who came to see you yesterday.”
Swami Ram rose politely and bowed low. His face was inscrutable.
Ed Boyer was embarrassed.
He gazed curiously at the little Hindu. For one alleged to possess such uncanny powers he looked frail. Yet it was the same face that Ed had seen on the reward notice, without a doubt; therefore he must be the same prisoner who had so mysteriously ‟crushed out” of Danforth.
In that case Ed had only one thing to do.
His oath and the inspector’s instructions left him no choice whatever.
Kirk was regarding him with amused eyes.
“Well, Ed, what do you think of Ferret-Eye now?”
“What do you mean?”
“What do I mean? Why, your crazy partner came in here yesterday and went all to pieces when he couldnʼt ﬁnd his man.”
Why couldnʼt he ﬁnd him?”
‟Because, just as I told you at the house, Swami Ram had leaped into the fifth dimension—like he went into the fourth in Danforth.”
“Kirk, Iʼm sorry I ainʼt got time to talk any more foolishness with you. Iʼve got to take your friend down. I hate to do it; but I got to. Mr. Ram, get your hat and come with me—and donʼt pull any of this dimension stuff, or Iʼll have to do something that mebbe I’ll be sorry for.”
‟Whatʼs the charge?” asked Kirk.
“Why, Kirk, you know he crushed out of Danforth—I told you that two days ago?”
‟Well, what of it?”
"‟What of it? Ainʼt he an escaped convict? What ails you, Kirk? Are you plumb nutty?”
Kirk laughed uproariously.
“No. Delahunty used up all the visible supply of insanity thatʼs laying around loose day before yesterday, Ed. Thereʼs no hurry about your taking Swami Ram down, is there?”
‟The inspector gave me orders to bring him in not two hours ago.”
‟Can’t you ﬁnd a better reason?”
“Aw, Iʼve had enough of your guff,” retorted the detective. ‟What do you think I am—a fool?”
“Not at all, Ed, but Delahunty sure is the biggest jackass that ever sported a police shield through political pull. Now, listen to me just a moment. You are my brother, and I donʼt want you to be made ridiculous along with Delahunty. Delahunty came in here yesterday on the same errand that youʼre here on to-day. The girl in the hall saw him follow Swami Ram within a minute. The transom was open, and when Delahunty came along with the boy the maid heard Swami Ram tell Delahunty to come in.
‟Delahunty came in—poking his gun ahead of him. If Swami Ram had waited for him Delahunty would have shot him down in cold blood and then justified what he did on the ground this boy was an ex-convict.”
“Well, what then?” asked Ed.
“Then Swami Ram just dissolved. Delahunty went crazy and started in to razoo his stuff. I will say for your partner, Ed, no matter what a fathead he is as a detective heʼs one of the best little razooers that ever hit the Hotel Paddington. If my Hindu friend here should get sore and make a complaint Delahunty will go to the pen himself on a charge of malicious mischief.”
“But how does that let Swami Ram out? He’s still an ex-convict.”
“No, Ed; he isnʼt. I took a jump into that fifth dimension myself—or tried to—and got away with it better than I hoped I could.”
“You see, Sahib Boyer,” interpolated Swami Ram, pointing to the paper he had been intently studying during the interim,” Jupiter makes joinings to Herschel in my tenth house, which is the house of honor. Jupiter is the planet of good—kind thinkings and givings; Herschel of the unusual and of that which no foreseeings may he had.
“Together, in my tenth house, they show some one shall make giving to me of a valuable paper touching my honor, because Jupiter is also in trine to Mercury in Cancer.”
“He talks like a porous-plaster almanac, don’t he?” gibed Ed, with a ferocious smile.
Kirk turned an amazed face on the imperturbable Hindu.
“Where do you get that dope?” he demanded.
“Sahib, it was from my revered father."
“Well, itʼs the best ever,” said Kirk, diving swiftly toward his inside pocket.
“Hereʼs your pardon, Swami Ram, right hot from the executive griddle.”
Swami Ram reached out his hand.
For once his stoicism seemed shaken—his hand trembled and his lip quivered.
Kirk turned to his brother.
‟Ed, I ainʼt roasting you, understand, but that Ferret-Eye sure has a
fine panning coming to him. He knew this poor boy—sure! He hated him because he beat Danforth, and Delahunty got his—in the neck—a year afterward.
‟Then Delahunty comes to New York and makes capital out of the misery of men who have suffered more in a minute than he has in years. Because he can remember a man heʼs seen every day a lot of cheap newspaper skates dub him ‘Ferret-Eye.’ They ought to name him ‘The Blind Pig.’ Heʼll never be anything else than plain Dirty Jack.
“Ferret-Eye! Why, Ed, if he had the remotest right to that misnomer, why in the devil didn’t Delahunty recognize the picture of the Governor of New York in that same moving-picture film where he first saw Swami Ram?”
‟Was the Governor there—in Massachusetts?”
“Why shouldnʼt he be there when the cruiser is named after the State capital—the Albany? Youʼre a ﬁne pair of sleuths—yes, you got it coming to you for that, Ed, as well as Delahunty.
“Both of you look straight at the Governor of New York trying to jump into the water to save his little daughter from drowning; and neither of you see him. And one of you is Ferret-Eye!”
‟I saw him, I guess,” said Ed sheepishly, “but Delahunty had me by the rum and was pointing to this here fellow”—he waved his hand toward Swami Ram. “Was that why the Governor pardoned him—because he saved his daughter?”
“Not wholly. Swami Ram had already sent back all the stolen money to the circus people with interest. You saw the letter with their receipt the other day. It came in my care to the house.”
“Mercury in Cancer, which is the third house,” politely explained Swami Ram, again holding up the paper, ‟makes ruling of papers and good friends.”
“Take a look at that pardon,” went on Kirk, “and then if you think it ainʼt genuine call the pardon clerk on the long-distance phone at Albany. Thatʼs where I was when I talked to you last night.
“The Governor promised to issue the pardon provided the circus people didnʼt object. I didnʼt even know that theyʼd got back their money until the Governor called them up last night. They gave Swami Ram their unqualiﬁed indorsement.”
Ed Boyer called the inspector instead.
That official arrived, examined the pardon papers, scrutinized Swami Ram closely, and returned to his office in quite a different state of mind than when he had left it, particularly with regard to Mr. Delahunty’s detectatorial responsibility.
Swami Ram, during the inspectorʼs stay, merely looked wise when the subject of the fifth dimension crept into the conversation.
When the inspector pressed him a little regarding the matter the Hindu enigmatically replied:
“Sahib, it is not permitted to make explainings to one not advanced on the Seven Paths. To do so is dangerous. Sahib Dirty Jack, did he not make explorings and become sick?”
“Quite so,” said the inspector, and left hurriedly, followed by Ed Boyer.
ONCE or twice during his visit Boyer had fancied from the gleam in the inspectorʼs eyes that he was going to utter the curt but familiar command: ‟Take him down.ˮ Always, however, at what appeared to his subordinate to be the psychological moment the inspector had hesitated. Perhaps he preferred to have what onus of ridicule or loss of prestige the department would sustain by
reason of Swami Ramʼs bold but unassertive meeting with his hunters, if any should arise, conﬁned to the second-grade men.
The inspectorʼs manner, however, grew more and more affable as the two men journeyed back to headquarters.
At the office he turned to Ed Boyer.
“Make out your report, stating the facts as you told them to me, but leave out all this guff about dimensions,” he directed. “Begin with Ferret-Eye hopping on that taxi in pursuit of the criminal you were trailing; take it up where you next saw him in the surgeonʼs room at headquarters: ﬁnish with my instructions to you to locate this Swami Ram—and donʼt forget the pardon. That was pretty quick work.ˮ
Always chary of praise, his taciturn superior had given him the long-coveted ray of hope toward promotion. When he submitted the report a half hour later the inspector drew up a chair for him quite close to his own desk and said:
“This department needs men of discretion and ability. Iʼm going to give you a chance. From the ﬁrst of the month youʼ'l get the ﬁrst-grade pay. If you make good, you stay; if not, you go back.ˮ
After obtaining leave for the balance ot the day the elated sleuth hurried over to where Delahunty was sitting in a chair in a dazed way. His partner was still obviously very ill, and more desolated over Swami Ramʼs occult powers than ever.
Under Edʼs kindly questioning he admitted searching the apartment in his own weird fashion and tried to justify the disorder he had created by his explanation:
“He says to me: ‘Come in,’ and, believe me, in I goes. I had me gun ready, too. But he wasnʼt there.ˮ
“Are you sure he was there at all before you went in?”
“Ask the woman that works on the ﬂoor. She knows. And she heard him call to me the same as I did. Ed, he was sure there; and the next second—not a minute, mind you—he was dissolved.”
‟Well, itʼs a cinch that he didnʼt hide out on me after the way I went through that room. I thought he might ’aʼ got into the vacuum-cleaner, but he hadnʼt. Nothing in that cylinder except a big, fat bottle without any cork. I took it over to the chandelier and looked right through it.ˮ
A ray of light seemed to penetrate Boyerʼs mind.
“Couldnʼt there have been some sort of dope lying around and you swallowed it?ˮ
Delahuntyʼs protest was vigorous.
“How could there be? There wasnʼt anything in the bottle, and I didnʼt even take a drink of water after going in there. I kept right after Swami Ram from the time I jumped that taxi at Sixty-Third and Columbus Avenue. I went straight to his room after I tailed him into the hotel. Dope? Not a chanst!”
“But how did you come to get down here in a trunk with your hands linked with your own cuffs, and locked behind your back?”
Delahunty’s face was ashen.
It was the same old story—Swami Ram had come out of the fourth dimension in the east hall at Danforth three years before, bound and gagged him, robbed him of his riﬂe, and then written an insulting letter from far-off India.
This time he had added injury to insult, as Delahunty now realized for the ﬁrst time. Until Boyer had mentioned the manner of his arrival at headquarters, Delahunty had no idea whatever how he came, to be there.
“Did you see him again?ˮ persisted Boyer, ignoring Delahunty’s failure to reply to the former question.
‟Yes,ˮ weakly whispered the victim. “He ﬂoated in to me right out of the ﬁfth dintension—not the fourth this time.ˮ
“How do you know that, Ferret-Eye?ˮ
“Because he never laid a hand on me when he came in. When he came out of the fourth that time in Danforth, he trussed me up before I could ﬁght him off. This time he just buzzed in and looked me plumb in the eye, and never made a move to tie me.ˮ
“Why didn't you put him under arrest?ˮ
“Not a chanst, Ed. I couldnʼt even pull me gun. I could hardly hear him; he was swimminʼ around in an odd sort of way. Sometimes there was one of him and sometimes two or three; at least it looked so.”
“Did he say anything?ˮ
‟Yes, something about ‘What do you want to butt into the ﬁfth dimension for, when youre only a swab?
You got in bad, and even if you do carry a gun, Iʼm going to see that you grow a blooming cancer—right now.’ ˮ
Delahunty was evidently too confused to go further.
‟Then I ﬂoated away between two or three ugly-faced apes, and the next thing I knew I was choking on the brandy the surgeon gave me, and he was asking me where I got my jag.ˮ
Plainly there was nothing more to be learned.
Ed understood that the mysterious ﬁfth dimension was more of an enigma than the fourth had been and its consequences more disastrous. He suddenly remembered that Anna would be glad to hear of his promotion, and hurried home.
The surgeon again examined Ferret-Eye, whose celebrated optics now much resembled a fat frog’s. He was still nauseated at intervals.
“He wonʼt be ﬁt to work for at least two weeks,ˮ the surgeon told inspecthetor. ‟He talks rubbish about gates and towns with Oriental names, and sometimes begs to be let out of the ﬁfth dimension. Although his lucid intervals are increasing, suppose you send him over to Bellevue until he gets better or worse.ˮ
Remembering the manner of Delahuntyʼs return and Swami Ramʼs note, the inspector consented.
So to Bellevue Delahunty went, not as Ferret-Eye, the dreaded sleuth, but as a plain psychopathic subject.
So far as Delahunty was afterward concerned, Swami Ramʼs purchase of the vacuum apparatus in Boston seemed to have resulted in a pretty thorough “cleanings-upˮ—that is, if the still unused cylinder had anything to do with his enemyʼs discomfiture.
Kirk Boyer observed as much at dinner later in the day, and shot a quizzical look at his confrère, who remained as inscrutable as ever until the meal had been ﬁnished.
Kirk returned to the hotel with him.
The disordered room had been set to rights, and Swami Ram forked out a crisp bill to the maid with an indifference that was maddening to his ebullient friend.
‟You donʼt have to cough for that mutt’s|coarse work, old pal,ˮ he protested.
Swami Ram smiled—the same slow, enigmatic smile that Boyer felt was the prelude to an explanation he very much wanted to hear.
‟Ainʼt you going to wise me up?ˮ he asked. “I went to the front for you, hot foot. Maybe I donʼt know much about this here ﬁfth dimension, but I had one little trump up my sleeve in that pardon, didnʼt I?ˮ
SAHIB BOYER, you speak true, sententiously returned the little Hindu with a look of gratitude. That is why I shall now do an unwise thingmake opening of the shrine wherein the god is hidden. Remember, however, that he will make ﬂying away.
“Shoot!” returned his companion. “And hurry it, for the love of Siva. Do you know, partner, Iʼm beginning to have an acute fondness for that old lady? She didn’t make much of a hit with me at first, but I begin to think she can put quite some stuff on the ball when the bases are full.”
“It was Siva who led our joint steps to the jinn who makes cleanings-up,” complacently replied the other.
‟Mean to say you run our friend Delahunty through your vacuum-cleaner? Well, give me the formula and Iʼll hop hack to Beantown and order a carload of those things.”
‟Sahib, the jinn in the tube which made cleanings-up of the Mars man did not draw in his breath, but made forcings out of it instead.”
“It is as I say,” quietly went on the Hindu.
He stepped to the cylinder, took off the top, and revealed the same bottle which Ferret-Eye had decided was entirely without guile of any kind.
“Make examinings, please,” went on Swami Ram, handing the bottle to the other. Kirk carried it beneath the chandelier, looked through it, removed the cork, sniffed gingerly, and shook his head.
“Too deep for me,” said he.
“Nevertheless, the jinn with the strong breath is there,” countered Swami Ram, lighting a match and holding it to the bottle.
A strong, bluish-white light flared forth.
“Sahib, you may make comprehendings in a small tray of the god Maya—that is, the god of illusionings. You saw, tasted, smelled, felt, heard—what? Nothing! Yet, as you now see, the jinn is there.”
‟He seems to be quite a husky brute at that,” grunted the young American, grasping his head. ‟I can feel the jolt he handed me worse and worse every minute.”
“Lean from the window and breathe deep,” adjured the Hindu as he replaced the bottle.
Presently Kirk was himself again.
‟I see how you handed Ferret-Eye the invisible knock-out drops, all right. What is that stuff?”
Swami Ram passed over a. small encyclopedia of chemistry and pointed to a subheading:
Carbon monoxid is a product of ferrocyanid of potash. It is an invisible, colorless, tasteless, odorless gas, but most toxic when inhaled. Stupor and paralysis rapidly ensue when it is breathed, also violent nausea. It burns in small quantities, but under compression in large quantities it explodes with terrific force. Great care must be used in handling it.
“Wow!” gasped Kirk as he finished reading the paragraph. “No wonder Ferret-Eye came back in a trunk-—he might have gone into the nth dimension on that.”
“But I donʼt understand yet how you were here when he knocked and how you called to him to come in, dissolved before he got in, and where you went to. If you were here this carbon monoxid would have worked on you, wouldn’t it?”
“It was by a tricking, sahib. At my birth I have Gemini rising in the east. Gemini signiﬁes the twins. Therefore, I made doings of things twice—sometimes. Mercury in Scorpio at my birth makes impellings that I do these things—it is the will of Siva.”
‟Hold on—Iʼve got you now!” exclaimed his listener triumphantly. “How did you know Ferret-Eye was a detective? The last time you saw him he was in Danforth—the night you crushed out of stir, wasn’t it?”
Swami Ram extended a bit of paper, which his friend instantly recalled seeing him tear from a New York paper the day of their landing. It mentioned Detective Delahunty, and spoke of his former service in the prison.
He passed it back with a gesture of mock despair.
“Go on, pal—this is fine! How did you beat the cop, the gas, and that big knife of his?”
“Sahib Boyer, I knew from the horary ﬁgure of the stars that I should have annoyings by a Mars man who was making ingress into Cancer. That signiﬁed a servant; and by the square of Saturn I knew he would bear weapons. So I became prudent.
‟I ﬁrst sought out the jinn with the strong breath and put him in the tight tube that makes cleanings-up. When the Mars man pursued me in the cab I made quick comings to this room and turned on the valve to the top of this, that the jinn’s breath may come forth—thus.”
The speaker illustrated by turning the valve on the vacuum cylinder.
“Iʼve got you. But where did you go?”
‟Must I open the shrine, sahib?”
“If you donʼt Iʼll go nutty myself.”
Swami Ram walked to the window and raised the center sash. He pointed silently to the box on the broad ledge in which the withered coleus were fading away.
Deftly he pulled the side of the box out its full length. Kirk Boyer, peering closely at it, saw that it ran in two neat grooves. Then the American squinted inside.
There was no dirt—merely a sprinkling of earth and dead plants where two feet of dirt should have been. Boards kept this from falling into the snug little boat which the sides of the receptacle thus made.
Swami Ram wriggled inside with astonishing quickness and lay prone on his back. Kirk also saw the air-holes bored in the outer side of the nest.
‟I made quick, enterings, thus, sahib, and drew up the board—thus. When Dirty Jack made rappings it was thus.”
Kirkʼs eyes gleamed. It was all so subtle—yet so absurdly simple. Swami Ram had calculated everything and timed everything to a T. Only an inch of board remained to be closed.
The crack in the box disappeared.
“No wonder Delahunty ran amuck!” laughed Boyer as Swami Ram meekly wriggled out again. ‟You had him going south from the ﬁrst jump. Now, Swami, youʼre the best little scout ever. Tell me this, and give it to me straight:
“Is there any such place as the fourth dimension or the ﬁfth dimension? And can you really dissolve your astral body and ﬂoat away without any of these ‘trickings,ʼ as you call them? I want to know very much.”
“Sahib Boyer,” gravely replied the Hindu, “on the ﬁrst of the Seven Paths to attainment we are taught patience. It were wise that you ask of a Yogi. Remember, I am only a novitiate on the Seven Paths. But you may read in the Karma-Yog that Brahma is all-pervading; that sons of Pritha are not to be bound by toil—”
HOW many times we
must have met
SOURCE: Blighton, Frank. Into the Fifth Dimension [featuring Swami Ram] (novelette), All-Story Cavalier Weekly, May 1 1915, pp. 412-445.
Note: Neither the original typography nor the original two-column formatting is preserved here. Many obvious typographical errors have been corrected.
Notable references to the 4th or 5th dimension can be found on pp. 418-421, 426, 430, 434-437, 438, 440, 441-443, 445.
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Eliot Weinberger (ed.,tr.), Esther Allen (tr.), Suzanne Jill Levine (tr.)
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H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine: Selected Bibliography
The Cavalier: Covers & Contents
J. U. Giesy (John Ulrich, 1877-1948) & His Collaborators
Science Fiction & Utopia Research Resources: A Selective Work in Progress
Swami Ram’s Reincarnation by Frank Blighton
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Edwin Abbott Abbott - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Flatland - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Charles Howard Hinton - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fourth dimension in literature - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Johann Karl Friedrich Zöllner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
with Illustrations by the Author, A SQUARE [Edwin Abbott Abbott]
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Borges on Hinton
Charles Hinton and His Cubes by David Auerbach
Blindness (1977) by Jorge Luis Borges
Science and the Spirit World
in Dialectics of Nature by Friedrich Engels
“Deflating Hyperspace” by David Pacchioli
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Uploaded 29 December 2021
Complete text finalized 6 January 2022
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