Monthly Archives: May 2003the_content
Author: Margaret Sutton (1903-2001)
Title: The Yellow Phantom by Margaret Sutton
Subject: Missing persons — Juvenile fiction
Subject: Mystery and detective stories
Subject: Women detectives — Juvenile fiction
Subject: Bolton, Judy (Fictitious character) — Juvenile fiction
Copyright: Public domain
Begin of the book:
|I||A Mysterious Telegram||1|
|III||A Daring Scheme||22|
|IV||How the Scheme Worked||27|
|VI||The New Yellow Gown||40|
|VII||Emily Grimshaw Sees Things||46|
|VIII||The Missing Poems||53|
|XI||While the Orchestra Played||72|
|XIV||The Immortal Joy Holiday||93|
|XVI||Over the Radio||107|
|XVII||The Only Answer||116|
|XVIII||In the Tower Window||121|
|XIX||Like a Fairy Tale||127|
|XX||The Scent of Roses||135|
|XXIII||To the Rescue||163|
|XXV||The Happy Ending||178|
|XXVI||Her Majesty Arrives||187|
|XXVII||Who Took the Manuscript?||198|
“Goodbye, Judy! Goodbye, Irene! Don’t like New York so well that you won’t want to come home!”
“Don’t keep them too long, Pauline! Farringdon will be as dead as so many bricks without them. Even the cats will miss Blackberry. Make him wave his paw, Judy!”
“Don’t forget to write!”
“Goodbye, Pauline! Goodbye, Judy! Goodbye, Irene!”
And Peter’s car was off, bearing the last load of campers back to their home town.
Judy Bolton watched them out of sight. They were taking the familiar road, but she and Irene Lang would soon be traveling in the other direction. Pauline Faulkner had invited them for a visit, including Judy’s cat in the invitation, and they were going back with her to New York.
A long blue bus hove into view, and all three girls hailed it, at first expectantly, then frantically when they saw it was not stopping. It slowed down a few feet ahead of them, but when they attempted to board it the driver eyed Blackberry with disapproval.
“Can’t take the cat unless he’s in a crate.”
“He’s good,” Judy began. “He won’t be any trouble——”
“Can’t help it. Company’s rules.” And he was about to close the door when Judy’s quick idea saved the situation.
“All right, he’s in a crate,” she declared with vigor as she thrust the cat inside her own pretty hatbox. The hats she hastily removed and bundled under one arm.
The driver had to give in. He even grinned a bit sheepishly as the girls took their seats, Pauline and Irene together, “Because,” Judy insisted as she took the seat just behind them, “I have Blackberry.”
The other passengers on the bus were regarding the newcomers with amused interest. A ten-year-old boy brought forth a ball of twine and rolled it playfully in Blackberry’s direction. An old lady made purring noises through her lips. Everyone seemed to be nodding and smiling. Everyone except the serious young man across the aisle. He never turned his head.
Judy nudged the two friends in the seat ahead of her and confided a desire to do something—anything to make him look up.
“Why, Judy,” Irene replied, shocked. “I’ve been watching that man myself and he’s—he’s——”
“Almost my ideal.”
“Silly!” Judy laughed. “I’d like to bet he wouldn’t be so ideal if I did something to disturb those precious papers that he’s reading.”
“I dare you!” Pauline said.
Sixteen or not, the dare tempted Judy. It was an easy matter to let Blackberry out of the hatbox in her arms and down into the aisle. The cat’s plumelike tail did the rest.
The man looked up. But, to Judy’s surprise, he looked up with a smile. Irene, all contrition, hastened to apologize.
“No harm done,” he returned good-naturedly and began collecting his scattered papers. Soon he had them rearranged and resumed his reading. There were a great many typewritten sheets of paper, and he seemed to be reading critically, scratching out something here and adding something there.
“You were wrong,” Irene said, turning to Judy. “See how nice he was.”
“I should have known better than to dare a girl like you,” Pauline put in.
“It was horrid of me,” Judy admitted, now almost as interested as Irene in the strange young man. Not because he was Judy’s ideal—a man who wouldn’t notice a cat until its tail bumped into him—but because the papers on his lap might be important. And she had disturbed them.
The man, apparently unaware that the accident had been anybody’s fault, continued reading and correcting. Judy watched her cat carefully until the stack of papers was safely inside his portfolio again.
“That’s finished,” he announced as though speaking to himself. He screwed the top on his fountain pen, placed it in his pocket and then turned to the girls. “Nice scenery, wasn’t it?”
“It was,” Judy replied, laughing, “but you didn’t seem to be paying much attention to it.”
“I’ve been over this road a great many times,” he explained, “and one does tire of scenery, like anything else. Passengers in the bus are different.”
“You mean different from scenery?”
“Yes, and from each other. For instance, you with your ridiculous cat and your golden-haired friend who apologized for you and that small, dark girl are three distinct types.”
Judy regarded him curiously. She had never thought of herself or either of the other girls as “types.” Now she tried to analyze his meaning.
Their lives had certainly been different. Judy and Pauline, although of independent natures, had always felt the security of dependence upon their parents while Irene’s crippled father depended solely upon her. This responsibility made her seem older than her years—older and younger, too. She never could acquire Pauline’s poise or Judy’s fearlessness.
In appearance, too, they were different. Her first vacation had done wonders for Irene Lang. Now her usually pale cheeks glowed with healthy color, and her eyes were a deeper, happier blue. Two weeks of sunshine had tanned her skin and brought out all the gold in her hair.
Pauline, too, had acquired a becoming tan which made her hair look darker than ever and contrasted strangely with her keen, light blue eyes.
The sun had not been quite so kind to Judy. It had discovered a few faint freckles on her nose and given her hair a decided reddish cast. But Judy didn’t mind. Camp life had been exciting—boating, swimming and, as a climax, a thrilling ride in Arthur Farringdon-Pett’s new airplane.
The young man beside Judy was a little like Arthur in appearance—tall, good-looking but altogether too grown-up and serious. Judy liked boys to make jokes now and then, even tease the way her brother, Horace, did. Peter teased her, too.
“Queer,” she thought, “to miss being teased.”
This stranger seemed to like serious-minded people and presently changed the conversation to books and music, always favorite topics with Irene. Then Judy spoke about the work that he was doing but learned nothing except that “finished” in his case meant that he had succeeded in putting his papers back in their original sequence.
“And if you girls were all of the same type,” he added, “I doubt if I would have forgiven you your prank.”
“I guess he doesn’t care for my type,” Judy whispered to the other two girls a little later.
“Mine either,” Pauline returned with a laugh. “At least he wouldn’t if he knew I dared you.”
“Do you suppose,” Irene asked naïvely, “that he cares for my type?”
She looked very pathetic as she said that, and Judy, remembering Irene’s misfortunes, slid into the seat beside her and put a loving arm about her shoulder.
“I care for your type,” she said. “So why worry about what a stranger thinks?”
“I’m not,” Irene said, belying her answer with a wistful look in the stranger’s direction. He was still absorbed in the mountain of typewritten pages that he held on his knee. It seemed that his work, whatever it was, engrossed him completely. He was again making corrections and additions with his pen. Judy noticed a yellow slip of paper on the seat beside him and called the other girls’ attention to it.
“It looks like a telegram,” she whispered, “and he keeps referring to it.”
“Telegrams are usually bad news,” Irene replied.
The young man sat a little distance away from them and, to all appearances, had forgotten their existence. Girl-like, they discussed him, imagining him as everything from a politician to a cub reporter, finally deciding that, since he lived in Greenwich Village, he must be an artist. Irene said she liked to think of him as talented. A dreamer, she would have called him, if it had not been for his practical interest in the business at hand—those papers and that telegram.
It was dark by the time they reached New York. The passengers were restless and eager to be out of the bus. The young man hastily crammed his typewritten work into his portfolio and Judy noticed, just as the bus stopped, that he had forgotten the telegram. She and Irene both made a dive for it with the unfortunate result that when they stood up again each of them held a torn half of the yellow slip.
“Just our luck!” exclaimed Irene. “Now we can’t return it to him. Anyway, he’s gone.”
“We could piece it together,” Pauline suggested, promptly suiting her actions to her words. When the two jagged edges were fitted against each other, this is what the astonished girls read:
Irene was the first to finish reading.
“Good heavens! What would he know about robbery and murder?” she exclaimed, staring first at the telegram in Pauline’s hand and then at the empty seat across the aisle.
“Why, nothing that I can think of. He didn’t seem like a crook. The telegram may be in code,” Pauline mused as she handed the torn pieces to Judy. “I like his name—Dale Meredith.”
“So do I. But Emily Grimshaw——”
“All out! Last stop!” the bus driver was calling. “Take care of that cat,” he said with a chuckle as he helped the girls with their suitcases.
They were still wondering about the strange telegram as they made their way through the crowd on Thirty-fourth Street.
A taxi soon brought the girls to the door of Dr. Faulkner’s nineteenth century stone house. The stoop had been torn down and replaced by a modern entrance hall, but the high ceilings and winding stairways were as impressive as ever.
Drinking in the fascination of it, Judy and Irene followed the man, Oliver, who carried their bags right up to the third floor where Pauline had a sitting room and a smaller bedroom all to herself. The former was furnished with a desk, sofa, easy chairs, numerous shaded lamps, a piano and a radio.
Here the man left them with a curt, “’Ere you are.”
“And it’s good to have you, my dears,” the more sociable housekeeper welcomed them. Soon she was bustling around the room setting their bags in order. She offered to help unpack.
“Never mind that now, Mary,” Pauline told her. “We’re dead tired and I can lend them some of my things for tonight.”
“Then I’ll fix up the double bed in the next room for your guests and leave you to yourselves,” the kind old lady said.
As soon as she had closed the door Judy lifted her cat out of the hatbox. With a grateful noise, halfway between a purr and a yowl, Blackberry leaped to the floor and began, at once, to explore the rooms.
“His padded feet were made for soft carpets,” Judy said fondly.
“How do you suppose he’d like gravel?” Pauline asked.
“Oh, he’d love it!” Judy exclaimed. “You know our cellar floor is covered with gravel, and he sleeps down there.”
“Is this gravel in the cellar?” Irene asked, beginning to get an attack of shivers.
Pauline laughed. “Goodness, no! It’s on the roof garden.” She walked across the room and flung open a door. “Nothing shivery about that, is there?”
“Nothing except the thought of standing on the top of one of those tall buildings,” Irene said, gazing upward as she followed Pauline.
The view fascinated Judy. Looking out across lower New York, she found a new world of gray buildings and flickering lights. In the other direction the Empire State Building loomed like a sentinel.
“I never dreamed New York was like this,” she breathed.
“It grows on a person,” Pauline declared. “I would never want to live in any other city. No matter how bored or how annoyed I may be during the day, at night I can always come up here and feel the thrill of having all this for a home.”
“I wish I had a home I could feel that way about,” Irene sighed.
The garden was too alluring for the girls to want to leave it. Even Blackberry had settled himself in a bed of geraniums. These and other plants in enormous boxes bordered the complete inclosure. Inside were wicker chairs, a table and a hammock hung between two posts.
“This is where I do all my studying,” Pauline said, “and you two girls may come up here and read if you like while I’m at school.”
“At school?” Judy repeated, dazed until she thought of something that she should have considered before accepting Pauline’s invitation. Of course Pauline would be in school. She hadn’t been given a holiday as the girls in Farringdon had when their school burned down. Judy and Irene would be left to entertain themselves all day unless Dr. Faulkner had some plans for them. Judy wondered where he was.
After they had gone inside again, that is, all of them except Blackberry who seemed to have adopted the roof garden as a permanent home, she became curious enough to ask.
“Oh, didn’t I tell you?” Pauline said in surprise. “Father is away. A medical conference in Europe. He’s always going somewhere like that, but he’ll be home in two or three weeks.”
“Then we’ll be alone for three weeks?” Irene asked, dismayed.
“Why not?” Pauline returned indifferently. “There’s nothing to be afraid of with servants in the house.”
But Irene was not used to servants. Ever since her father became disabled she had waited on herself and kept their shabby little house in apple-pie order. The house was closed now and their few good pieces of furniture put in storage. All summer long there would not be any rent problems or any cooking. Then, when fall came, she and her father would find a new home. Where it would be or how they would pay for it worried Irene when she thought about it. She tried not to think because Dr. Bolton had told her she needed a rest. Her father, a patient of the doctor’s, was undergoing treatments at the Farringdon Sanitarium. The treatments were being given according to Dr. Bolton’s directions but not by him as Judy’s home, too, was closed for the summer. Her parents had not intended to stay away more than a week or two, but influenza had swept the town where they were visiting. Naturally, the doctor stayed and his wife with him. Judy’s brother, a reporter and student of journalism, had gone to live in the college dormitory.
Thus it was that both girls knew they could not return to Farringdon no matter how homesick they might be. They had the cat for comfort and they had each other. Ever since Irene had come to work in Dr. Bolton’s office these two had been like sisters. Lois, Lorraine, Betty, Marge, Pauline—all of them were friends. But Irene and Honey, the other girl who had shared Judy’s home, were closer than that. Judy felt with them. She felt with Irene the longing of the other girl for something to hold fast to—a substantial home that could not be taken away at every whim of the landlord, just enough money so that she could afford to look her best and the security of some strong person to depend upon.
“Will your school last long?” Irene was asking the dark-haired girl.
“Not long enough,” Pauline sighed, revealing the fact that she too had troubles.
“Then you’ll be free?” Irene went on, unmindful of the sigh. “We can go places together? You’ll have time to show us around.”
Pauline shrugged her shoulders. “Don’t talk about time to me. Time will be my middle name after I graduate. There isn’t a single thing I really want to do, least of all stay at home all day. College is a bore unless you’re planning a career. What do you intend to do when you’re through school?”
“I hadn’t planned,” Irene said, “except that I want time to read and go ahead with my music. Of course I’ll keep house somewhere for Dad. It will be so nice to have him well again, and I love keeping house.”
“What about your work for my father?” Judy asked.
Irene’s eyes became troubled. “He doesn’t really need me any more. I know now, Judy, that you just made that position for me. It was lovely of you, but I—I’d just as soon not go back where I’m not needed. Your father trusts too many people ever to get rich and he could use that money he’s been paying me.”
“Don’t feel that way about it,” Judy begged.
Irene’s feelings, however, could not easily be changed, and with both girls having such grave worries the problem bid fair to be too great a one for even Judy to solve. Solving problems, she hoped, would eventually be her career for she planned to become a regular detective with a star under her coat. Now she confided this ambition to the other two girls.
“A detective!” Pauline gasped. “Why, Judy, only men are detectives. Can you imagine anyone taking a mere girl on the police force?”
“Chief Kelly, back home, would take her this very minute if she applied,” Irene declared.
Pauline nodded, easily convinced. This practical, black-haired, blue-eyed girl had helped Judy solve two mysteries and knew that she had talent. But Pauline didn’t want to meet crooks. She didn’t want to be bothered with sick or feeble-minded people and often felt thankful that her father, a brain specialist, had his offices elsewhere. Pauline wanted to meet cultured people who were also interesting.
“People, like that man we met on the bus,” she said, “who read and can discuss books intelligently. I’d hate to think of his being mixed up in anything crooked.”
“You can’t make me believe that he was,” Irene put in with a vigor quite rare for her. “Couldn’t you just see in his eyes that he was real?”
“I didn’t look in his eyes,” Judy returned with a laugh, “but you can be sure I’ll never be satisfied until we find out what that mysterious telegram meant.”
In the days that followed Judy learned that the mere mention of the stranger’s name, Dale Meredith, would cause either girl to cease worrying about a home or about a career, as the case might be.
“It’s almost magical,” she said to herself and had to admit that the spell was also upon her. Perhaps a dozen times a day she would puzzle over the torn papers in her pocketbook. But then, it was Judy’s nature to puzzle over things. It was for that reason that she usually chose detective stories whenever she sat down with a book. That hammock up there on the roof garden was an invitation to read, and soon Judy and Irene had finished all the suitable stories in Dr. Faulkner’s library. They had seen a few shows, gazed at a great many tall buildings, and found New York, generally, less thrilling from the street than it had been from the roof garden.
Pauline sensed this and worried about entertaining her guests. “How would you like to go and see Grant’s Tomb today?” she suggested.
“For Heaven’s sake, think of something a little more exciting than that,” Judy exclaimed thoughtlessly. “I’d rather find a library somewhere and then lie and read something in the hammock.”
“So would I,” agreed Irene, relieved that Judy hadn’t wanted to see the tomb.
“Well, if a library’s all you want,” Pauline said, “why not walk along with me and I’ll show you one on my way to school.”
“A big one?” Judy asked.
“No, just a small one. In fact, it’s only a bookshop with a circulating library for its customers.”
Judy sighed. It would seem nice to see something small for a change. She never recognized this library at all until they were almost inside the door. Then her eyes shone.
What an interesting place it was! On the counters were quaint gifts and novelties as well as books. The salesladies all wore smocks, like artists, and had the courtesy to leave the girls alone. Pauline had to hurry on to school but left Judy and Irene to browse. Before long they had discovered a sign reading MYSTERY AND ADVENTURE. That was what Judy liked. Rows and rows of new books, like soldiers, marched along the shelves.
“What a lot of flying stories,” Irene said, absently removing one of them from its place.
“And murder mysteries,” Judy added. “It’s always a temptation to read them. Murders in Castle Stein….”
She started back as her eye caught the author’s name.
It was Dale Meredith!
Thrilled by her discovery, Judy removed the torn pieces of telegram from her purse and began unraveling the mystery, bit by bit. Irene looked on, trembling with excitement.
“‘CUT ART SHOP ROBBERY STOP FIFTY THOUSAND IS PLENTY STOP….’ Art Shop Robbery! That sounds like a title! And someone wanted him to cut it to fifty thousand words—just a nice length for a book. That must have been what he was doing on the bus, cutting down the number of words on those typewritten pages.”
“Why, of course,” Irene agreed. “I always knew you were gifted, Judy, but can you explain this?” She pointed.
“‘ONE MAN MURDERED INTERESTS RANDALL….’ Easy as pie! Another title and a publisher.”
Judy tossed her head with a self-satisfied air of importance. Every one of their questions might be answered in the classified directory.
They found a telephone booth near by and a directory on the shelf beside it. Promptly turning to the list of publishing houses, Judy’s finger traveled down one complete page and half of another, but no Randall could she find. With a sigh of disappointment she turned to look again at the telegram:
What sort of person was she? A relative? No. Relatives didn’t discuss terms with authors. Wives and sweethearts didn’t either. They might discuss his books, but not terms. Anyway Irene hoped that Dale Meredith had no wife or sweetheart, certainly not a sweetheart with a name like Emily Grimshaw. That name sounded as harsh to the ears as Dale Meredith sounded musical.
Flipping the pages of the directory, Judy came upon the answer to their question:
“AUTHOR’S AGENTS (See Literary Agents).”
“That might be it!”
She turned to the place and, beginning at the top of the page, both girls searched eagerly through the G’s…..