The Daily Transcript (Norman, Okla.), Vol. 1, No. 11, Ed. 1 Wednesday, June 16, 1915 Page: 2 of 4
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TBe BLACK. BOX
vw F.. PH1H1PS OPPENHE1M
Author of "The Mooing
Finger, " "The Prince of
Sinners," " Anna, ihe
Adctnlureu. ' etc.
Noveliied from the motion picture drama of the
same name produced by the Universal Film
Manufacturing Company. Illuitrated with pho-
tographs from the motion picture production.
8anford Quest, master criminologist of
the world. tlnds thai In bringing to Jus-
tice Macdougal. the murderer of Lord
AKhlftgh's daughter, he has but Juat be-
gun a llfe-and-doath struggle with a
mysterious master criminal. In a hidden
but In Professor Aahlelgh s garden he has
seen an anthropoid ape skeletoni and a
living Inhuman creature, half monkey,
half man. destroyed by fire. In his rooms
have appeared from nowhere black boxes
containing sarcastic, notes, signed by a
imtr of armless hands. Laura and I.enora,
his assistants, suspect Craig, the pro-
fessor's servant, of a double murder. The
black boxes continue to appear In uncan-
ny fashion. Craig Is trapped by Quest,
but escapes to England where Quest, Le-
nora and the professor follow him. Lord
Ashlelgli Is murdered by the Hands. Le-
nora Is abducted In London and rescued^
Craig Is captured and escapes to l ort
Bald, where Quest and his party ulso go,
and beyond Into the desert.
IN THE DESERT.
Quest waa the first the next morn-
ing to open his eyes, to grope his
way through the tent opening and
Btand for a moment alone, watching
the alabaster skies. He turned laz-
ily around, meaning to summon the
Arab who had volunteered to take
Hassan's place. His arms he had
been in the act of stretching—fell to
his sides. He stared at the spot
where the camels had been tethered
Incredulously. There were no cam'
els, no drivers, no Arabs. There was
not a soul nor an object in sight ex
cept the stark body of Hassan, which
they had dragged half out of sight
behind a slight knoll. High up In the
eky above were two little black specks
wheeling lower and lower. Quest
shivered as he suddenly realized that
lor the first time in his life he was
looking upon the winged ghouls of the
desert. Lower and lower they came.
He turned away with a shiver.
The professor was still sleeping
when Quest re-entered the tent. He
woke him up and beckoned him to
Quest pointed to tho little sandy
knoll with its sparse covering of grass,
deserted—with scarcely a sign, even,
that It had been the rpsting place of
the little caravan. The professor gave
vent to a little exclamation.
The Professor hurried off towards
the spot where the encampment had
been made. Suddenly he stood still
and pointed with his finger. In the
clearer, almost crystalline light of the
coming day, they saw the track of the
camels in one long, unbroken line
stretching away northwards.
He glanced around a little helpless-
ly. Quest took a cigar from his case
and lit It.
"No good worrying," Quest sighed.
"The question la how best to get out
of the mess. What's tho next move,
The professor glanced towards the
son and took a small compass from
his pocket. He pointed across the des-
"That's exactly our route," he said,
"but I reckon we still must be two
days from the Mongars, and how we
are going to get there ourselves, much
more get the women there, without
camels, I don't know. There are no
wells, and I don't believe those fel-
lows have left us a single tin of wa-
Laura put her head out of the tent
In which the two women had slept.
"Say, where's breakfast? Bhe ex-
claimed. "I can't smell the coffee."
They turned and approached her si-
lently. The two girls, fully dressed,
came out of the tent as they ap-
"Young ladies," the professor an-
nounced, "I regret to say that a mis-
fortune has befallen us, a mis-
fortune which we shall be able, with-
out doubt, to surmount, but which will
mean a day of hardship and much in-
"Where are the camels?" Lenora
"Gone!" Quest replied.
"And the Arabs?"
"Gone with them—we are left high
and dry," Quest explained.
"And what Is worse," the professor
added, with a groan, "they have taken
with them all our stores, our rifles and
"How far are we from the Mongar
camp?" Lenora asked.
"About a day's tramp." Quest re-
plied quickly. "We may reach there
* y nightfall."
"Then let's start walking at once,
before It gets any hotter," Lenora sug-
Quest patted her on the back. They
made a close search of the tents, but
found that the Arabs had taken every-
thing In the way of food and drink, ex-
cept a single half-filled tin of drink-
They started bravely enough, but by
midday their little stock of water was
gone, their feet were sorely blistered.
No one complained, however, and the
professor did his best to revive their
"We have come farther than I had
dared to hope, In the time," he an-
nounced. "Fortunately, I know the
exact direction we must take. Keep up
your spirits, young ladies. At any time
we ma)' «ee signs of our destination
(Copyright. ISIS. by Otla V. Wood.)
They struggled on once more. Night
came and brought with it a half-sooth
ing, half-torturing coolness. That
vain straining of the eyes upon the
horizon at any rate was spared to
them. They slept in a fashion, but
soon after dawn they were on their
feet again. Suddenly Quest, who had
gone a little out of his way to mount
a low range of sand hills, waved his
arm furiously. He was holding his
field-glasses to his eyes. It was won-
derful how that ray of hope trans-
formed them. They hurried to where
he was. He passed the glasses to the
'A caravan!" he exclaimed. "I can
see the camels, and horses!"
The professor almost Bnatched the
"It 1b quite true," he agreed. "It Is
caravan crossing at right angleB to
our direction. Come! They will see
us before long."
Presently three or four horsemen
detached themselves from the main
body and came galloping towards
them. The eyes of the little party
glistened as they saw that the fore-
most had a water-bottle slung around
his neck. He came daBhlng up, wav-
ing his arms.
"You lost, people?" he asked. "Want
They almoBt snatched the bottle
from him. It was like pouring life
into their veins. They all, at the pro-
fessor's Instigation, drank sparingly.
Quest, with a great sigh of relief, lit
"Some adventure, this!" he de-
The professor, who had been talking
to the men in their own language,
turned back towards the two girls.
"It is a caravan," he explained, "of
peaceful merchants on their way to
Jaffa. They are halting for us, and
we shall be able, without a doubt, to
arrange for water and food and a
camel or two horses. The man here
asks If the ladies will take the horses
They started off gayly to where the
caravan had come to a standstill. They
had scarcely traversed a hundred
yards, however, before the Arab who
was leading Lenora's horse came to a
sudden standstill. He pointed with
his arm and commenced to talk in an
excited fashion to his two companions.
From across the desert, facing them,
came a little company of horsemen,
galloping fast and with the sunlight
flashing upon their rifles.
"The Mongars!" the Arab cried,
pointing wildly. "They attack the
The three Arabs talked together for
a moment in an excited fashion. Then,
without excuse or warning, they swung
the two women to the ground, leaped
cloak; the chief by his side—a fine,
upright man with long, gray beard; be-
hind. three Mongars. their rifles al-
ready to their shoulders. The chief
wheeled up his horse as he came with-
in twenty paces of the little party.
"White! English!" he shouted.
Why do you seek death here?"
He waited for no reply, but turned
to his men. Three of them dashed for-
ward, their rifles, which were fitted
with an odd sort of bayonet, drawn
back for the lunge. Suddenly Craig,
who had been a little In the rear, gal-
loped, shouting, Into the line of fire.
"Stop!" he ordered. "Chief, these
people are my friends. Chief, the
The chief raised his arm promptly.
The men lowered their rifles. Craig
galloped back to his host's side. The
chief listened to him and nodded
gravely. Presently he rode up to the
little party. He Baluted the professor
gravely and talked to him In his own
language. The professor turned to the
"The chief apologizes for not recog-
nizing me," he announced. "It seems
that Craig had told him that he had
come to the desert for shelter, and he
Imagined at once, when he gave the
order for the attack upon us, that we
were his enemies. He says that we
are welcome to go with him to his
Craig turned slowly towards them
It was a strange meeting.
"It Is necessary," he told them
"that you should pretend to be my
friends. The chief has ordered two of
his men to dismount. Their ponies are
for the young ladles. There will be
horses for you among the captured
ones from the caravan yonder."
They all turned towards the chief,
who remained a little on the outside
of the circle. The professor raised
his hat and spoke a few words in the
Mongar language, then he turned to
"I have accepted the invitation of
the chief," he announced. "We had
absolutely refused my request. Feerda
has overheard some of your conversa-
tion, and the chief believes that you
will betray us. You will have to come,
They all rose at once to their feet,
and a few moments later horses were
The little procession was already be-
ing formed In line. Craig approached
them once more.
You will mount now and ride in the
middle of our caravan," he directed.
The chief does not trust you. If you
value your lives, you will do as you are
'If You Value Your Lives, You Will
Do as You Are Bidden."
on their horses, and, turning north-
wards, galloped away.
The professor looked on anxiously.
"I am not at all sure," he said in
an undertone to Quest, "about our po-
sition with the Mongars. Craig haB a
peculiar hold upon them, but as a rule
they hate white men. and their blood
will be up. . . . See! the fight Is all
over. Those fellows were no match for
the Mongars. Most of them have fled
and left the caravan."
The fight was indeed over. Four of
the Mpngars had galloped away in
pursuit of the Arabs who had been
the temporary escort of Quest and his
companions. They passed about a
hundred yards away, waving their
arms and shouting furiously. One of
them even fired a shot, which missed
Quest by only a few Inches.
"They say they are coming back,
the professor muttered. "Who' this?
It's the chief and—" n
"Our search is over, at any rate,
Quest Interrupted. "It's Craig!
They came galloping up, Craig in
white linen clothes and an Arab's
"This may not be Delmonlco's
Laura remarked, a few hours later,
with a little sigh of contentment,
"but believe me that goat-stew and
sherbet tasted better than any
chicken and champagne I ever tasted
They moved to the opening of the
tent and sat looking out across the
silent desert. Laura took the flap of
the canvas in her hand.
"What do all these marks mean
"They are cabalistic signs," the
professor replied, "part of the lan-
guage of the tribe. They Indicate
that this Is the guest tent, and there
are a few little maxims traced upon
it, extolling the virtues of hospitality."
Lenora leaned forward to where a
little group of Mongars were talking
"I wish that beautiful girl would
come and let us see her again, she
"She," the professor explained, "is
the chief's daughter, Feerda, whose
life Craig saved."
"And from the way she looks at
him," Laura observed, "I should say
she hadn't forgotten it, either."
The professor held up a warning
finger. The girl herself had glided
to their side out of the shadows. She
faced the professor. The rest of the
party she seemed to Ignore. She
spoke slowly and in halting English.
"My father wishes to know that
you are satisfied?" she said. ^ou
have no further wants?"
"None," the professor assured her.
"We are very grateful for his hos-
"Won't you talk to us for a little
time?" Lenora begged, leaning for-
The girl turned suddenly to the
professor and spoke to him in her
own language. She pointed to the
signs upon the tent, drew her finger
along one of the sentences, flashed a
fierce glance at them all and disap-
"Seems to me that we are not ex-
actly popular with the young lady,"
Quest remarked. "What was she say-
"She suspects us," the professor
said slowly, "of wishing to bring evil
to Craig. She pointed to a sentence
upon the tent. Roughly it means 'Grat-
itude is the debt of hospitality.' I am
very much afraid that the ydung lady
must have been listening to our con-
The professor suddenly leaned for
ward. There was a queer change In
his face. From somewhere on the
other side of that soft bank of violet
darkness came what seemed to be the
clear, low cry of some animal
"It Is the Mongar cry of warning," he
said hoarsely. "Something is going to
The whole encampment was sud-
denly In a state of activity. The
Mongars ran hither and thither, get-
ting together their horses. The chief,
with Craig by Ills Bide, was standing
on the outskirts of the camp.
"Seems to me there's a move on
Quest muttered, as they rose to their
feet. "I wonder if we are In it."
A moment or two later Craig ap
"Word has been brought to the
chief," he announced, "that the Arab
who escaped from the caravan has
fallen In with an outpost of British
goldlers. They have already started
In pursuit of us. The Mongars will
take refuge In the jungle, where they
have prepared hiding-places. W
start at once."
"What about us?" the professor in
"I endeavored," Craig continued,"
persuade the chief to allow you to re-
main here, when the care of you
would devolve upon the English sol
dlers. He and Feerda, however, have
"You can call this fairyland, If you
want," Laura remarked, gazing around
her; "I call it a nasty, damp, oozy
Quest motioned them to sit a little
"I had a moment's talk with Craig
this morning, and from what he says
I fancy they mean to make a move
a little farther in before long. It'll be
all the more difficult to escape them."
You think we could get away?"
Lenora whispered, eagerly.
Quest glanced cautiously around.
They were surrounded by thick vege-
tation, but they were only a very short
distance from the camp.
"Seems to me," he continued, "we
shall have to try It some day or other
and I'm all for trying It soon. Even
if they caught us, I don't believe
they'd dare to kill us, with the Eng-
lish soldiers so close behind. I am
going to get hold of two or three rifles
and some ammunition. That s easy,
because they leave them about all
the time. And what you girls want to
do is to hide some food and get a bot-
tle of water."
"What about Craig?" the professor
We are going to take him along,"
Quest declared, grimly. "He's had the
devil's own luck so far but it can't
last forever. I'll see to that part of
the business, if you others get ready
and wait for me to give the signal."
They dispersed in various directions
was not until late in the evening,
hen the Mongars had withdrawn a
little to indulge in their customary
orgy of crooning songs, that they were
absolutely alone. Quest looked out of
the tent in which they had been sit-
ting and came back again.
Laura lifted her skirt and showed
I unusual projection underneath.
"Lenora and I have pinned up our
petticoats," she announced. "We've
got plenty of food and a bottle of
Quest threw open the white Arab
cloak which he had been wearing. He
had three rifles strapped around him.
The professor's got the ammuni-
tion," he said, "and we've five horses
tethered a hundred paces along the
track we came by, just behind the
second tree turning to the left. I
want you all to go there now at once
and take the rifles. There isn't a soul
in the camp and you can carry them
wrapped in this cloak. 111 join you
in ten minutes."
What about Craig?" the professor
"I am seeing to him," Quest replied.
"Isn't It rather a risk?" she whis-
Quest's face was suddenly stern.
"Craig is going back with us," he
said. "I'll be careful, Lenora. Don't
He strolled out of the tent and came
"The coast's clear," he announced.
'Off you go. . . . One moment, he
added, "there are some papers in this
little box of mine which one of you
might take care of."
He bent hastily over the little wallet,
which never left him. Suddenly a lit-
tie exclamation broke from his Hps.
"What Is It?"
Quest never said a word. From one
of the spaces of the wallet he drew out
a small black box, removed the lid and
held out the card. They read it to-
Fools, all of youl The cunning of
the ages defeats your puny efforts at
every turn.—The Hands.
Even the professor's lips blanched
a little as he read. Quest, however,
seemed, suddenly furious. He tore the
card and the box to pieces, flung them
Captured by the Mongars.
Into a corner of the tent and drew a
revolver from his pocket.
"This time," he exclaimed, "we are
going to make an end of The Hands!
Out you go now, girls. You can leave
me to finish things up."
One by one they stole along the path.
Quest came out and watched them dis-
appear. Then he gripped his revolver
firmly In his hand and turned towards
Craig's tent. Then, from the thick
growth by the side of the clearing, he
saw a dark shape Bteal out and vanish
In the direction of Craig's tent. He
came to a standstill, puzzled. There
had been rumors of lions all day, but
the professor had been Incredulous.
Then the still, heavy air was suddenly
rent by a wild scream of horror. Across
the narrow opening the creature had
reappeared, carrying something In Its
mouth, something which gave vent all
the time to the most awful yells.
Quest fired his revolver on chance and
broke into a run. Already the Mon-
gars, disturbed in their evening amuse-
ment, were breaking into the under-
growth in chase. Quest came to a
standstill. It was from Craig's tent
that the beast had issued! When he
reached the meeting place, he found
the professor standing at the corner
with the rest.
"From the commotion," he an-
nounced, "I believe that, after all, a
lion has visited the camp. The cries
which we have heard were distinctly
the cries of a native."
Quest shook his head.
"A lion's been here all right," he
said, "and he has finished our little
job for us. That was Craig. I saw
him come out of Craig's tent."
The professor was dubious.
"You see that tree that looks like
a dwarfed aloe?"
"What about it?"
"Craig was lying there ten minutes
ago. He sprang up when he heard
the yells from the encampment, but
I believe he Is there now."
"Got the horses all right?" Quest
"Everything is waiting," the profes-
sor replied. t
"I'll have one more try, then,"
He made his way slowly through the
undergrowth to the spot which the
professor had indicated. Close to the
trunk of a tree Craig was standing.
Feerda was on her knees before him.
She was speaking in broken English.
"Dear master, you shall listen to
your slave. These people are your
enemies. It would be all over In a few
minutes. You have but to say the
word. My father 1b eager for It. No
one would ever know."
Craig patted her head. His tone
was filled with the deepest despon-
"It is ImpoBBible. Feerda," he said.
"You do not understand. I cannot tell
you everything. Sometimes I almost
think that the best thing I could do
would be to return with them to the
countries you know nothing of."
That's what you are going to do,
anyway," Quest declared, suddenly
making his reappearance. "Hands
He covered Craig with his revolver,
but his arm was scarcely extended be-
fore Feerda sprang at him like a little
wildcat. Hetgrlpped her with his left
arm and held her away with dlffl-
"Craig," he continued, "you're com
Ing with us. You know the way to
Port Said and we want you—you know
why. Untie that sash from your waist.
"Tie it to the tree," Quest ordered.
"Leave room enough."
Craig did as he waB told. Then he
turned and held the loose ends up.
Quest lowered his revolver for a mo-
ment as he pushed Feerda towards it.
Craig, with a wonderful spring, reach-
ed his side and kicked the revolver
away. Before Quest could even Btoop
to recover It he saw the glitter of the
other's knife pressed against his chest.
"Listen," Craig declared. "I've made
up my mind. I won't go back to Amer-
ica. I've had enough of being hunted
all over the world. This time I think
I'll rid myself of one of you, at any
The interruption was so unexpected
that Craig lost his nervq. Through an
opening in the trees, only a few feet
away, Lenora had suddenly appeared
She, too, held a revolver, her hand
was as steady as a rock.
He obeyed without hesitation.
"Now, tie the Bash around the glid."
He obeyed mechanically. Quest took
Craig by the collar and led him to
the spot where the others were wait-
ing. They hoisted him on to a horse.
Already behind them they could see
the flare of the torches from the re-
You know the way to Port Said,"
Quest whispered. "See that you lead
us there. There will be trouble, mind,
if you don't."
Craig made no reply. He rode off In
front of the little troop, covered all
the time by Quest's revolver. Very
soon they were out of the jungle and
In the open desert. Quest looked be-
hind him uneasily.
"To judge by the row those fellows
are making," he remarked. "I should
think that they've found Feerda al-
"In that case," the professor said
gravely, "let me recommend you to
push on as faBt as possible. We have
had one escape from those fellows,
but nothing in the world can save us
now that you have laid hands upon
Feerda. The chief would never forgive
They galloped steadily on. The
moon rose higher and higher until It
became as light as day.
Quest fell a little behind the pro-
fessor's side, although he never left off
"Look behind you, professor," he
In the far distance were a number
of little black specks, growing every
moment larger. Even at that moment
they heard the low, long call of the
"They are gaining on us," Quest
They raced on for another mile or
more. A bullet whistled over their
heads. Quest tightened his reins.
"No good," he sighed. "We'd better
stay and fight It out, professor. Stick
close to me, Lenora."
They drew up and hastily dismount-
ed. The Mongars closed In around
them. A cloud had drifted In front
of the moon, and In the darkness It
was almost Impossible to see their
whereabouts. They heard the chief's
"Shoot first that dog of a Craig!"
There was a shriek. Suddenly
Feerda, breaking loose from the oth-
ers, raced across the little division.
She flung herself from her horse.
Tell my father that you were not
faithless," she pleaded. "They shall
She clung to Craig's neck. The bul-
lets were beginning to whistle around
"I'll Be Careful, Lenora."
them now. All of a sudden she threw
up her arms. Craig, In a fury, turned
around and fired into the darkness.
Then suddenly, as though on the bid-
ding of some unspoken word, there
was a queer silence. Everyone was
distinctly conscious of an allen sound
—the soft thud of many horses' feet
galloping from the right; then a sharp,
English voice of command.
"Hold your fire, men. Close In to
the left there. Steady!"
The cloud suddenly rolled away
from the moon. A loag line of horse-
men were Immediately visible. The
ofllcer In front rode forward.
"Drop your arms and surrender," ha
The Mongars, who were outnum-
bered by twenty to one, obeyed with-
out hesitation. Their chief seemed
unconscious, even, of what had hap-
pened. He was on his knees, bending
over the body of Feerda, half support-
ed in Craig's arms. The oflflcef turned
"Are you the party who left Port
Said for the Mongar camp?" he asked.
"They took us Into the jungle—just
escaped. They'd caught us here,
though, and I'm afraid we were about
finished If you hadn't come along. We
are not English—we're American."
"Same thing," the officer replied, as
he held out his hand.
(TO BE CONTINUED.!
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Burke, J. J. The Daily Transcript (Norman, Okla.), Vol. 1, No. 11, Ed. 1 Wednesday, June 16, 1915, newspaper, June 16, 1915; (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc112986/m1/2/: accessed March 23, 2019), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.