6.The Gambling Den
In spite of the agitation that was going on at the time in the city against gambling,
we had no trouble in being admitted to the place in Forty-eighth Street. They
seemed to recognise Warrington, for no sooner had the lookout at the door
peered through a little grating and seen him than the light woodwork affair was
To me, with even my slender knowledge of such matters, it had seemed rather
remarkable that only such a door should guard a place that was so notorious.
Once inside, however, the reason was apparent. It didn't. On the outside there
was merely such a door as not to distinguish the house, a three-story and
basement dwelling, of old brownstone, from the others in the street.
As the outside door shut quickly, we found ourselves in a sort of vestibule
confronted by another door. Between the two the lookout had his station.
The second door was of the "ice-box" variety, as it was popularly called at the
time, of heavy oak, studded with ax-defying bolts, swung on delicately balanced
and oiled hinges, carefully concealed, about as impregnable as a door of steel
There were, as we found later, some steel doors inside, leading to the roof and
cellar, though not so thick. The windows were carefully guarded inside by
immense steel bars. The approaches from the back were covered with a steel
network and every staircase was guarded by a collapsible door. There seemed to
be no point of attack that had been left unguarded.
Yet, unless one had been like ourselves looking for these fortifications, they
would not have appeared much in evidence in the face of the wealth of artistic
furnishings that was lavished on every hand. Inside the great entrance door was