“AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH ”
Barker’s words reverberated
through the room to be succeeded by an
almost unnatural stillness; a silence punctured by
the ticking of the cheap clock on the mantel, by the
crackling of the flames in the grate, by the whistling
of the wind around the corners of the gaunt gray stone
building which housed the police department.
The accused man looked eagerly upon
the faces of the two detectives; then, slowly, his
chest expanded with relief: he saw that they
And Carroll did believe. It was
not that he wanted to he had fought himself
mentally away from that conviction time after time;
had threshed over every scintilla of evidence, searching
futilely for something which would clear this radiant
woman whom he had met but once. Carroll’s
interest however platonic was
intensely personal. The woman had impressed herself
indelibly upon him. It was perhaps her air of
game helplessness; perhaps the stark tragedy which
he had seen reflected in her eyes when he had first
entered her home and saw that she knew why he had
And now, driven into the corner which
he had hoped to avoid, his retentive memory brought
back a circumstance well-nigh forgotten. He addressed
Barker, his voice soft-hopeless.
“You mean that Mrs. Lawrence
was the woman in the taxicab?”
“Yes, sir.” The “sir,”
which Barker used for the first time was respectful.
“Where had she been during the
evening after dark of the night of the killing?”
“At home I believe.”
Carroll’s eyes lighted.
His voice cracked out accusingly: “Don’t
you know that that is incorrect?”
Barker shook his head. “Why,
no, sir. Of course, I ain’t sayin’
positive that she was at home all evenin’,
“As I understand it,”
said Carroll slowly “an accommodation
train came in just about that time: isn’t
that a fact?”
“Some train came in then I don’t
know which one it was.”
“Isn’t it a fact that
the woman who got into the taxicab had been a passenger
on that train: that she got off with the other
passengers, carrying a suit-case?”
“There ain’t nobody can
see the passengers get off the trains at the Union
Station, Mr. Carroll. You go down them steps and
approach the waitin’ room underground crossin’
under the tracks.”
“But you do know that this woman whoever
she was passed through the waiting room
with the passengers who came on that train, don’t
“Yes, sir she done that, but it don’t
“Why don’t it?”
“Well, sir, for one thing ain’t
it true that the papers said the suit-case she was
carryin’ wasn’t hers at all. Ain’t
it a fact that she had Mr. Warren’s suit-case?”
“Well?” Carroll saw his last hope glimmering.
“You see, sir Mr.
Warren was meetin’ Mrs. Lawrence at the station.
He got there with his suit-case at about ten minutes
to twelve. She got there about ten or fifteen
minutes later ”
“How did she come?”
“On the street car. And
when she come out she was alone and it was
his suit-case she was carryin’ the
same suit-case he had taken into the station.
The one you found in the taxicab.”
“I see ” Carroll
did not want to believe Barker’s story, but he
knew that the man was telling the truth or
at least that most of what he was saying was true.
The detective seemed crushed with disappointment.
Leverage, seated in the corner of the room, chewing
savagely on a big black cigar was sorry
for his friend: sorry yet proud of
the way he was standing the gaff of his chagrin.
Carroll again spoke to Barker manner almost
“You know a good deal more about
this thing than you’ve told us, don’t
“Very well: let’s
have your story from the beginning to the end.
I’ll be honest with you: I believe a good
deal of what you’ve told me. Some of your
story I don’t believe. Other portions of
it need substantiation. But you are mighty close
to being charged with murder and now is
your chance to clear yourself. Go to it!”
Barker plunged a hand into his pocket.
“Can I smoke, Mr. Carroll?”
“Certainly. And sit down.”
They drew up their chairs before the
fire. Carroll did not look at Barker, but Leverage’s
steady gaze was fixed on the man’s crafty face.
“I’m going to come clean
with you, Mr. Carroll. I’m going to tell
you everythin’ I know and everythin’
I think. I didn’t want to do it and
I don’t want to now. But I’d a heap
rather have the job of convincin’ you that I
ain’t mixed up in this murder than I would of
makin’ a jury believe the same thing. I
reckon you’ll give me a square deal.”
“I will,” snapped Carroll. “Go
“In the first place,”
started Barker slowly, “it’s my personal
opinion that Mr. Warren never had no idea of marryin’
Miss Gresham. Maybe I’m all wrong there but
it’s what I think. I can’t prove that,
of course an’ no one else can’t
“Also I happen to know that
he’s been crazy about Mrs. Lawrence for a long
time. He’s been hangin’ around the
house a good deal an’ doin’
little things like a man will when he’s nuts
about a woman. For instance, Mr. Warren wasn’t
no investing man: s’far’s I know he
had all his money in gover’ment bonds and such
like investments. But he sank some money into
them woolen mills that Mr. Lawrence owns. And
also he pretended that he liked that kid sister of
Mrs. Lawrence’s Evelyn Rogers.
But there ain’t hardly a doubt in my mind, Mr.
Carroll an’ I’m handin’
it to you straight that he was crazy about
Mrs. Lawrence. And, not meanin’ no impertinence,
sir I ain’t blamin’ him a bit.
“Also, I reckon she wasn’t
exactly indifferent to him. She’s been up
in his apartment twice which is a terrible
risky thing, an’ somethin’ no woman will
do unless she’s wild about a feller. Oh!
everything was proper while she was there. I
was at home all the time and I know. But she
was what you call, indiscreet that
is, in comin’ up there at all no
matter how decent she acted when she was there.
An’ also, sir, she used to write him notes most
“You have some of those notes?”
“No, sir. I had one if
you want the truth but when I saw you was
watchin’ me sure, I know you’ve
had a couple of dicks shadowing me I destroyed
“Where are the rest of her letters?”
“Mr. Warren used to burn ’em
up careful. He wasn’t takin’ no chances
of someone findin’ ’em and he bein’
caught in a scandal which is why I think
he really cared about her serious. His other lady
friends he used to joke about but never
Mrs. Lawrence. An’ the one letter of her’s
that I had I’m betting that he looked
for three days without stopping before he gave it
up as a bad job.
“That’s the way things
was when I seen him begin to make arrangements to
get away from town. It wasn’t supposed to
be none of my business and Mr. Warren never was a
feller I could ask questions of. When he had something
to tell me, he told it an’ I never
got nothin’ out of him by askin’.
But, bein’ his valet, there was certain things
I couldn’t very well miss knowin’.
I know his apartment is sublet for the new tenants
to come in on the first of the month, he placed his
car with a dealer to be sold and he didn’t order
a new one an’ he drew a whole heap of cash out
of the bank the day before he was killed.
“Also that day he sent me downtown
to do some shoppin’. While I was downtown
I seen him go into the railroad ticket office.
I didn’t pay much attention to that then and
later on he drove by the house for a minute.
I had taken his laprobe out of the car the night before
and forgot to put it back so I thought
I’d better do it. I went downstairs without
his knowing it and when I put the laprobe
in the car I seen he had a suit-case in there.
An’ the suit-case wasn’t his, sir the
initials on it was N.L. which, if you know,
sir Mrs. Lawrence’s name is Naomi.
“That made things pretty clear
to me then. He drove off and come back about
a half hour later. I looked when he come back
and the suit-case wasn’t in the car no more.
And it was then that he handed me a big wad of wages
in advance and told me he wasn’t going to need
me no more and I could quit any time after five o’clock
in the afternoon.”
Barker paused, lighted another cigarette
from the stump of the one he had been smoking inhaled
a great puff, and continued. His manner was that
of a man under great mental stress as though
he was struggling to recall every infinitesimal detail
which might possibly have a bearing on the case.
“That sort of carries me along
to the night, sir as I left there at five
o’clock and he was still there tellin’
me goodbye and givin’ me an excellent reference
and sayin’ I was a good valet an’ all like
“After leavin’ there I
went out and got some supper, and then I went up to
Kelly’s place and horned into an open game of
pool. You know Kelly’s place is pretty
close to the Union Station and when it come about ten
o’clock I got tired and went an’ sat down
in the corner, eatin’ a hot dog from the stand
in Kelly’s an’ then I sort of
got to thinkin’ things over.
“An’ thinkin’ things
over that way, Mr. Carroll I began to think
that Mrs. Lawrence was doin’ a terrible foolish
thing, and I was kinder sorry about it. Now don’t
get no idea that I’m wantin’ you to believe
I got a soft heart or anythin’ like that but
then I sort of liked Mr. Warren and I knew Mrs. Lawrence
was a decent woman and I knew once she got
on the train with Mr. Warren she was done for.
And when I got to thinkin’ about that, sir it
struck me that maybe somethin’ could be done
to keep ’em from eloping with each other that
way. Not that I was plannin’ to do anything but
curiosity sort of got me, and along about eleven o’clock
or a little while after I went out of Kelly’s
and up to the Union Station. I sat down over
in the corner and waited for somethin’ to happen sort
of hopin’ maybe I had been wrong all the time
and there wasn’t going to be no elopement.
“I waited there a long time,
and then suddenly a taxicab came up to the curb and
Mr. Warren got out. Then the taxicab beat it down-town
again and Mr. Warren went in the station. And
as he come in one door, I beat it out of the other.”
“Why?” snapped Leverage.
“Because him seein’ me
there was certain to start somethin’. And
I wasn’t hankerin’ for nothin’ like
that to happen. So I went across the street and
tried to get shelter against the wall of that dump
of a hotel over there. An’ it was cold:
I ain’t seen such a cold night in my life.
I almos’ froze to death.”
“And yet you continued to stand there?”
“Sure I was curious.
Kinder foolish, maybe, but I wanted to see had I figured
right about him eloping with Mrs. Lawrence. So
I stood there, darn near dead with the cold, when
the midnight Union Station street car stopped an’
Mrs. Lawrence got out. An’ the first thing
I noticed was that she wasn’t carryin’
no suit-case. I noticed that on account of havin’
seen her suit-case in Mr. Warren’s car that day.
She didn’t carry nothin’ but one of these
handbag things that women lug around with ’em.”
“How was she dressed?”
“Fur coat and hat and a heavy veil.”
“You could see the veil from across the street
“No sir. Not from there.
But when she went in the depot, I followed across
the street and looked inside to see what was goin’
to happen.” He paused a moment and then
Carroll prodded him on
“Well what did happen?”
“The minute Mr. Warren seen
her come in he beat it through the opposite door from
where I was standin’ out to the platform that
runs parallel to the tracks. An’ he nodded
to her to follow him. She sort of nodded like
she was wise, an’ took a seat so’s nobody
would think anything in case there was anyone there
lookin’ for something. Mr. Warren walked
off down the outside platform towards the baggage
room an’ after about three minutes she gets
up, kinder casual-like and follers. Soon as she
went through the door to the platform I went in the
“What did you do then?”
“Nothin’. Just made
a bee line for the steam radiator an’ tried to
get warm. I was so cold it hurt. An’
I stood there for about ten minutes. Then I heard
that train comin’ in an’ I went outside
into the street again.”
Carroll’s voice was tense. “In all
that time did you hear
anything anything at all?”
Barker shook his head. “No
sir not a thing except that train
comin’ in. And then the passengers from
it began to come through, and I was surprised to see
Mrs. Lawrence comin’ with them, an’ she
was carryin’ his suit-case.”
“Mr. Warren’s. She come on out to
the curb an’ called a taxicab.”
“Where was the taxicab standing?”
“Parked against the curb on
Atlantic Avenue about a hundred yards from the entrance
in the direction of Jackson street.”
“How did she act?”
“Kinder nervous like. Noticin’
her come out I seen the taxi driver when he climbed
back into his cab an’ when he started her up.
He picked up Mrs. Lawrence an’ she put the suit-case
in front beside him. Then they drove off.
And that’s all I know sir.”
Carroll rose and walked slowly the length of the room.
“What did you think when you
saw Mrs. Lawrence come out of the station alone carrying
Mr. Warren’s suit-case? When she did that
and called a taxicab and went off in it alone?”
“Not knowin’ about no
killin’, Mr. Carroll I thought they’d
got together and talked things over an’ decided
to call off the elopement!”
“You did ”
Carroll paused. “And the first time you
knew of Warren’s death?”
“Was when I read the newspapers the next morning.”
“Then why,” barked the
detective, “did you make the blunt statement
that Mrs. Lawrence killed Warren?”
“Because,” said Barker simply, “I
believe she did.”
“How could she have killed him? When and
“That’s easy,” explained
Barker quietly. “If I’m right in thinkin’
that they was goin’ to call off the elopement they
could have seen that taxi standin’ against the
curb and he could have got in without bein’ seen.
It was awful dark where the taxi was standin’
an’ the driver says himself that he was over
in the restaurant gettin’ warm. So what
I thought right away was that Warren got in the taxi,
an’ she called it. That was so they wouldn’t
be seen gettin’ in together at that time of night.
Then I thought they drove off. And then ”
“Yes and then?”
“It was while they were alone
together in that taxi, that she killed him!”