The Ear in the Wall HTML version

23. The Confession
Dorgan was putting up a bold fight, at any rate. Everyone, and most of all his opponents
who had once thought they had him on the run, was forced to admit that. Moreover, one
could not help wondering at his audacity, whatever might be the opinion of his
But I was quite as much struck by the nerve of Carton. In the face of gathering
misfortunes many a man of less stern mettle might have gone to pieces. Not so with the
fighting District Attorney. It seemed to spur him on to greater efforts.
It was a titanic struggle, this between Carton and Dorgan, and had reached the point
where quarter was given or asked by neither.
Kennedy had retired to his laboratory with the photographs and was studying them with
an increasing interest.
It was toward the close of the afternoon when the telephone rang and Kennedy motioned
to me to answer it.
"If it's Carton," he said quickly, "tell him I'm not here. I'm not ready for him yet and I
can't be interrupted."
I took down the receiver, prepared to perjure my immortal soul. It was indeed Carton,
bursting with news and demanding to see Kennedy immediately.
Almost before I had finished with the carefully framed, glib excuse that I was to make, he
shouted to me over the wire, "What do you think, Jameson? Tell him to come down right
away. The impossible has happened. I have got under Dopey Jack's guard--he has
confessed. It's big. Tell Kennedy I'll wait here at my office until he comes."
He had hung up the receiver before I could question him further. I think it cured
Kennedy, temporarily of asking me to fib for him over the telephone. He was as anxious
as I to see Carton, now, and plunged into the remaining work on the photographs eagerly.
He finished much sooner than he would, otherwise, and only to preserve the decency of
the excuse that I had made did not hasten down to the Criminal Courts Building before a
reasonable time had elapsed. As we entered Carton's office we could tell from the very
atmosphere of the halls that something was happening. The reporters in their little room
outside were on the qui vive and I heard a whisper and a busy scratching of pencils as we
passed in and the presence of someone else in the District Attorney's office was noted.
Carton met us in a little ante-room. He was all excitement himself, but I could see that it
was a clouded triumph. His mind was really elsewhere than on the confession that he was
getting. Although he did not ask us, I knew that he was thinking only of Margaret Ashton