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JACK O' JUDGMENT

BY

EDGAR WALLACE

WARD, LOCK & CO., LIMITED

LONDON AND MELBOURNE


_Made and Printed in Great Britain by_
WARD, LOCK & CO., LIMITED, LONDON.


JACK O' JUDGMENT


POPULAR NOVELS

BY

EDGAR WALLACE

PUBLISHED BY
WARD, LOCK & CO., LIMITED.

_In Various Editions_

SANDERS OF THE RIVER
BONES
BOSAMBO OF THE RIVER
BONES IN LONDON
THE KEEPERS OF THE KING'S PEACE
THE COUNCIL OF JUSTICE
THE DUKE IN THE SUBURBS
THE PEOPLE OF THE RIVER
DOWN UNDER DONOVAN
PRIVATE SELBY
THE ADMIRABLE CARFEW
THE MAN WHO BOUGHT LONDON
THE JUST MEN OF CORDOVA
THE SECRET HOUSE
KATE, PLUS TEN
LIEUTENANT BONES
THE ADVENTURES OF HEINE
JACK O' JUDGMENT
THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
THE NINE BEARS
THE BOOK OF ALL POWER
MR. JUSTICE MAXELL
THE BOOKS OF BART
THE DARK EYES OF LONDON
CHICK
SANDI, THE KING-MAKER
THE THREE OAK MYSTERY
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE FROG
BLUE HAND
GREY TIMOTHY
A DEBT DISCHARGED
THOSE FOLK OF BULBORO'
THE MAN WHO WAS NOBODY
THE GREEN RUST
THE FOURTH PLAGUE
THE RIVER OF STARS




CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE

I.--THE KNAVE OF CLUBS 7
II.--JACK O' JUDGMENT--HIS CARD 14
III.--THE DECOY 24
IV.--THE MISSING HANSON 28
V.--IN THE MAGISTRATE'S COURT 35
VI.--STAFFORD KING RESIGNS 42
VII.--THE COLONEL CONDUCTS HIS BUSINESS 48
VIII.--THE LISTENER AT THE DOOR 54
IX.--THE COLONEL EMPLOYS A DETECTIVE 61
X.--THE GREEK PHILLOPOLIS 67
XI.--THE COLONEL AT SCOTLAND YARD 71
XII.--BUYING A NURSING HOME 80
XIII.--THE LOVE OF STAFFORD KING 84
XIV.--THE TAKING OF MAISIE WHITE 88
XV.--THE COMMISSIONER HAS A THEORY 92
XVI.--IN THE TURKISH BATHS 96
XVII.--SOLOMON COMES BACK 100
XVIII.--THE JUDGMENT OF DEATH 106
XIX.--THE COLONEL IS SHOCKED 111
XX.--"SWELL" CREWE BACKS OUT 119
XXI.--THE BRIDE OF DEATH 123
XXII.--MAISIE TELLS HER STORY 126
XXIII.--THE GANG FUND 134
XXIV.--PINTO GOES NORTH 141
XXV.--A PATRON OF CHARITY 150
XXVI.--THE SOLDIER WHO FOLLOWED 157
XXVII.--THE CAPTURE OF "JACK" 162
XXVIII.--THE PASSING OF PHILLOPOLIS 169
XXIX.--THE VOICE IN THE ROOM 178
XXX.--DIAMONDS FOR THE BANK 186
XXXI.--THE VOICE AGAIN 194
XXXII.--LOLLIE GOES AWAY 201
XXXIII.--WHERE THE VOICE LIVED 205
XXXIV.--CONSCIENCE MONEY 210
XXXV.--IN A BOX AT THE ORPHEUM 217
XXXVI.--LOLLIE PROPOSES 224
XXXVII.--THE FALL OF PINTO 229
XXXVIII.--A USE FOR OLD FILMS 234
XXXIX.--JACK O' JUDGMENT REVEALED 244




JACK O' ... JUDGMENT




CHAPTER I

THE KNAVE OF CLUBS


They picked up the young man called "Snow" Gregory from a Lambeth
gutter, and he was dead before the policeman on point duty in Waterloo
Road, who had heard the shots, came upon the scene.

He had been shot in his tracks on a night of snow and storm and none saw
the murder.

When they got him to the mortuary and searched his clothes they found
nothing except a little tin box of white powder which proved to be
cocaine, and a playing card--the Jack of Clubs!

His associates had called him "Snow" Gregory because he was a doper, and
cocaine is invariably referred to as "snow" by all its votaries. He was
a gambler too, and he had been associated with Colonel Dan Boundary in
certain of his business enterprises. That was all. The colonel knew
nothing of the young man's antecedents except that he had been an Oxford
man who had come down in the world. The colonel added a few particulars
designed, as it might seem to the impartial observer, to prove that he,
the colonel, had ever been an uplifting quantity. (This colonelcy was an
honorary title which he held by custom rather than by law.)

There were people who said that "Snow" Gregory, in his more exalted
moments, talked too much for the colonel's comfort, but people were very
ready to talk unkindly of the colonel, whose wealth was an offence and a
shame.

So they buried "Snow" Gregory, the unknown, and a jury of his
fellow-countrymen returned a verdict of "Wilful murder against some
person or persons unknown."

And that was the end of a sordid tragedy, it seemed, until three months
later there dawned upon Colonel Boundary's busy life a brand new and
alarming factor.

One morning there arrived at his palatial flat in Albemarle Place a
letter. This he opened because it was marked "Private and Personal." It
was not a letter at all--as it proved--but a soiled and stained playing
card, the Knave of Clubs.

He looked at the thing in perplexity, for the fate of his erstwhile
assistant had long since passed from his mind. Then he saw writing on
the margin of the card, and twisting it sideways read:

"JACK O' JUDGMENT."

Nothing more!

"Jack o' Judgment!"

The colonel screwed up his tired eyes as if to shut out a vision.

"Faugh!" he said in disgust and dropped the pasteboard into his
waste-paper basket.

For he had seen a vision--a white face, unshaven and haggard, its lips
parted in a little grin, the smile of "Snow" Gregory on the last time
they had met.

Later came other cards and unpleasant, not to say disconcerting
happenings, and the colonel, taking counsel with himself, determined to
kill two birds with one stone.

It was a daring and audacious thing to have done, and none but Colonel
Dan Boundary would have taken the risk. He knew better than anybody else
that Stafford King had devoted the whole of his time for the past three
years to smashing the Boundary Gang. He knew that this grave young man
with the steady, grey eyes, who sat on the other side of the big Louis
XV table in the ornate private office of the Spillsbury Syndicate, had
won his way to the chief position in the Criminal Intelligence
Department by sheer genius, and that he was, of all men, the most to be
feared.

No greater contrast could be imagined than that which was presented
between the two protagonists--the refined, almost ęsthetic chief of
police on the one hand, the big commanding figure of the redoubtable
colonel on the other.

Boundary with his black hair parted in the centre of his sleek head, his
big weary eyes, his long, yellow walrus moustache, his double chin, his
breadth and girth, his enormous hairy hands, now laid upon the table,
might stand for force, brutal, remorseless, untiring. He stood for
cunning too--the cunning of the stalking tiger.

Stafford was watching him with dispassionate interest. He may have been
secretly amused at the man's sheer daring, but if he was, his
inscrutable face displayed no such emotion.

"I dare say, Mr. King," said the colonel, in his slow, heavy way, "you
think it is rather remarkable in all the circumstances that I should ask
for you? I dare say," he went on, "my business associates will think the
same, considering all the unpleasantness we have had."

Stafford King made no reply. He sat erect, alert and watchful.

"Give a dog a bad name and hang him," said the colonel sententiously.
"For twenty years I've had to fight the unjust suspicions of my enemies.
I've been libelled," he shook his head sorrowfully. "I don't suppose
there's anybody been libelled more than me--and my business associates.
I've had the police nosing--I mean investigating--into my affairs, and
I'll be straight with you, Mr. Stafford King, and tell you that when it
came to my ears and the ears of my business associates, that you had
been put on the job of watching poor old Dan Boundary, I was glad."

"Is that intended as a compliment?" asked Stafford, with the faintest
suspicion of a smile.

"Every way," said the colonel emphatically. "In the first place, Mr.
King, I know that you are the straightest and most honest police
official in England, and possibly in the world. All I want is justice.
My life is an open book, which courts the fullest investigation."

He spread out his huge hands as though inviting an even closer
inspection than had been afforded him hitherto.

Mr. Stafford King made no reply. He knew, very well he knew, the stories
which had been told about the Boundary Gang. He knew a little and
guessed a lot about its extraordinary ramifications. He was well aware,
at any rate, that it was rich, and that this slow-speaking man could
command millions. But he was far from desiring to endorse the colonel's
inferred claim as to the purity of his business methods.

He leant a little forward.

"I am sure you didn't send for me to tell me all about your hard lot,
colonel," he said, a little ironically.

The colonel shook his head.

"I wanted to get to know you," he said with fine frankness. "I've heard
a lot about you, Mr. King. I am told you do nothing but specialise on
the Boundary enterprises, and I tell you, sir, that you can't know too
much about me, nor can I know too much about you."

He paused.

"But you're quite right when you say that I didn't ask you to come
here--and a great honour it is for a big police chief to spare time to
see me--to discuss the past. It is the present I want to talk to you
about."

Stafford King nodded.

"I'm a law-abiding citizen," said the colonel unctuously, "and anything
I can do to assist the law, why, I'm going to do it. I wrote you on this
matter about a fortnight ago."

He opened a drawer and took out a large envelope embossed with a
monogram of the Spillsbury Syndicate.



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