17. The Newspaper Fake
Within a few minutes we were sauntering with enforced leisure along Ninth
Street, in a rather sordid part, inhabited largely, I made out, by a slightly better
class of foreigners than some other sections of the West Side.
As we walked along, I felt Garrick tugging at my arm.
"Slow up a bit," he whispered under his breath. "There's the house which was
mentioned in the maid's note."
It was an old three-story brownstone building with an entrance two or three steps
up from the sidewalk level. Once, no doubt, it had housed people of some
means, but the change in the character of the neighbourhood with shifting
population had evidently brought it to the low estate where it now sheltered one
family on each floor, if not more. At least that was the general impression one got
from a glance at the cheapened air of the block.
Garrick passed the house so as not to attract any attention, and a little further on
paused before an apartment house, not of the modern elevator construction, but
still of quiet and decent appearance. At least there were no children spilling out
from its steps into the street, in imminent danger of their young lives from every
passing automobile, as there were in the tenements of the block below.
He entered the front door which happened to be unlatched and we had no
trouble in mounting the stairs to the roof.
What he intended doing I had no idea yet, but he went ahead with assurance and
I followed, equally confident, for he must have had adventures something like this
before. On the roof, a clothesline, which he commandeered and tied about a
chimney, served to let him down the few feet from the higher apartment roof to