The Sign at Six by Stewart Edward White
Chapter X. The Lifting of the Spell
The spell lifted. The city broke into a roar. People sprang into rapid and violent motion, as though released from a physical lethargy.
"All over?" asked the reporter. He asked it in a loud shout.
"All over," replied Darrow. "You don't need to yell. I'm not deaf."
The reporter grinned.
"I guess that's what everybody else in town is doing," he surmised.
Certainly this remark was justified by the sample in the square. Every man was shouting at his neighbor to the lung-straining limit of his ability. Three exhorters, their eyes ablaze with fanaticism, began to thunder forth dire warnings of the wrath to come--and gained a hearing. Men rushed to and fro aimlessly. The gentleman with the side-whiskers, who looked like the caricatures of the trusts, having at last succeeded in making his imperial wishes known, clambered into a taxicab, and sat back, apparently unimpressed. After a moment the driver recovered sufficiently to fall into the habit of obedience, and so drove away.
While the three men watched, a burly individual with a red face came hurtling directly at them. If they had not dodged hastily to one side, they would have suffered a collision.
"The end of the world is at hand!" this man was shrieking. "Repent! Repent!"
"That's Larry Mulcahey," remarked the reporter, with a grin. "He keeps bar."
"I'm hungry," observed Darrow. "Haven't eaten since noon."
"Free lunch," suggested the reporter practically. "You won't be able to get any service anywhere. How about that interview? Got anything to say?"
"You're the busy little bee to-night," said Darrow. "But I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll give you a tip. Be at the Atlas Building at not later than nine to-morrow morning, and stay at least until ten. If you can fix it, be on the tenth floor. Hunt up the United Wireless man and make him talk. Then come to me."
"That's afternoon paper stuff--unless it's exclusive," said the reporter instantly.
"If you'll obey my orders the most important part of it will be exclusive," said Darrow.
The reporter eyed him keenly.
"Why?" he asked.
"You're Hallowell, aren't you? I thought I wasn't mistaken. I saw you at work on that Duane Street murder case. Your work was good. Besides, I like the Despatch--and the afternoon papers are too soon for what I want."
"Last reason accepted. Others received and placed on file."
"All right," agreed Darrow. "Have it your own way--only obey orders." He entered the door of the bar and advanced on the lunch counter.