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The Alienist

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Published by Random House Trade Paperbacks on 2017-11-21
Paperback: $17.00
FICTION / Historical, FICTION / Thrillers


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • SOON TO BE A TNT ORIGINAL SERIES

“A first-rate tale of crime and punishment that will keep readers guessing until the final pages.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Caleb Carr’s rich period thriller takes us back to the moment in history when the modern idea of the serial killer became available to us.”—The Detroit News

When The Alienist was first published in 1994, it was a major phenomenon, spending six months on the New York Times bestseller list, receiving critical acclaim, and selling millions of copies. This modern classic continues to be a touchstone of historical suspense fiction for readers everywhere.

The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences.

Praise for The Alienist

“[A] delicious premise . . . Its settings and characterizations are much more sophisticated than the run-of-the-mill thrillers that line the shelves in bookstores.”The Washington Post Book World

“Mesmerizing.”Detroit Free Press

“The method of the hunt and the disparate team of hunters lift the tale beyond the level of a good thriller—way beyond. . . . A remarkable combination of historical novel and psychological thriller.”The Buffalo News

“Engrossing.”Newsweek

“A ripsnorter of a plot . . . a fine dark ride.”The Arizona Daily Star

“Remarkable . . . The reader is taken on a whirlwind tour of the Gilded Age metropolis, climbing up tenement stairs, scrambling across rooftops, and witnessing midnight autopsies. . . . A breathtaking, finely crafted mystery.”Richmond Times-Dispatch 

“Gripping, atmospheric . . . intelligent and entertaining.”USA Today

“A high-spirited, charged-up and unfailingly smart thriller.”Los Angeles Times

“Keeps readers turning pages well past their bedtime.”San Francisco Chronicle 

“Harrowing, fascinating . . . will please fans of Ragtime and The Silence of the Lambs.”The Flint Journal


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ASIN: 0525510273
ISBN: 9780525510277
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Praise for The Alienist 'Keeps readers turning pages well past their bedtime.' 'San Francisco Chronicle 'Harrowing, fascinating . . . will please fans of Ragtime and The Silence of the Lambs.' 'The Flint Journal 'Caleb Carr's rich period thriller takes us back to the moment in history when the modern idea of the serial killer became available to us . . . [and] tracks the efforts of a team of farsighted investigators working frantically to solve a string of hideous murders. . . . Absorbing . . . suspenseful . . . gratifying.' 'The Detroit News 'Engrossing.' 'Newsweek 'A ripsnorter of a plot . . . a fine dark ride.' 'The Arizona Daily Star '[A] delicious premise . . . Its settings and characterizations are much more sophisticated than the run-of-the-mill thrillers that line the shelves in bookstores.' 'The Washington Post Book World 'The method of the hunt and the disparate team of hunters lift the tale beyond the level of a good thriller'way beyond. . . . A remarkable combination of historical novel and psychological thriller.' 'The Buffalo News 'Mesmerizing.' 'Detroit Free Press 'Remarkable . . . The reader is taken on a whirlwind tour of the Gilded Age metropolis, climbing up tenement stairs, scrambling across rooftops, and witnessing midnight autopsies. . . . A breathtaking, finely crafted mystery.' 'Richmond Times-Dispatch

Surrender, New York The Legend of Broken The Italian Secretary The Lessons of Terror Killing Time The Angel of Darkness The Alienist The Devil Soldier America Invulnerable (with James Chace) Casing the Promised Land

T

Alienist C A L E B C A R R RAN DOM HOUSE TRADE PAPE RBAC K S N EW YORK

The Alienist is a work of historical fiction. Apart from the wellknown actual people, events, and locales that figure in the narrative, all names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author's imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to current events or locales, or to living persons, is entirely coincidental. 2017 Random House Trade Paperback Edition Copyright ? 1994 by Caleb Carr Afterword copyright ? 2006 by Caleb Carr All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. Random House and the House colophon are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC. Originally published in hardcover in the United States by Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC, in 1994, and subsequently in trade paperback, with a new afterword, by Random House Trade Paperbacks, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, in 2006. ISBN 978- 0- 525- 51027- 7 Ebook ISBN 978- 1- 58836- 540- 8 Printed in the United States of America on acidfree paper randomhousebooks.com 246897531 Book design by J. K. Lambert

This edition is dedicated to Those Readers Who Made It Possible and to the memory of Dr. David Abrahamsen

Prior to the twentieth century, persons suffering from mental illness were thought to be 'alienated,' not only from the rest of society but from their own true natures. Those experts who studied mental pathologies were therefore known as alienists.

Perception

Whilst part of what we perceive comes through our senses from the object before us, another part (and it may be the larger part) always comes out of our own mind. William James, The Principles of Psychology These bloody thoughts, from what are they born? Piave, from Verdi's Macbeth

January 8th, 1919 T heodore is in the ground. The words as I write them make as little sense as did the sight of his coffin descending into a patch of sandy soil near Sagamore Hill, the place he loved more than any other on earth. As I stood there this afternoon, in the cold January wind that blew off Long Island Sound, I thought to myself: Of course it's a joke. Of course he'll burst the lid open, blind us all with that ridiculous grin and split our ears with a high-pitched bark of laughter. Then he'll exclaim that there's work to do''action to get!''and we'll all be martialed to the task of protecting some obscure species of newt from the ravages of a predatory industrial giant bent on planting a fetid factory on the little amphibian's breeding ground. I was not alone in such fantasies; everyone at the funeral expected something of the kind, it was plain on their faces. All reports indicate that most of the country and much of the world feel the same way. The notion of Theodore Roosevelt being gone is that'unacceptable. In truth, he'd been fading for longer than anyone wanted to admit, really since his son Quentin was killed in the last days of the Great Butchery. Cecil Spring-Rice once droned, in his best British blend of affection and needling, that Roosevelt was throughout his life 'about six'; and Herm Hagedorn noted that after Quentin was shot out of the sky in the summer of 1918 'the boy in Theodore died.' I dined with Laszlo Kreizler at Delmonico's tonight, and mentioned Hagedorn's comment to him. For the remaining two

courses of my meal I was treated to a long, typically passionate explanation of why Quentin's death was more than simply heartbreaking for Theodore: he had felt profound guilt, too, guilt at having so instilled his philosophy of 'the strenuous life? in all his children that they often placed themselves deliberately in harm's way, knowing it would delight their beloved father. Grief was almost unbearable to Theodore, I'd always known that; whenever he had to come to grips with the death of someone close, it seemed he might not survive the struggle. But it wasn't until tonight, while listening to Kreizler, that I understood the extent to which moral uncertainty was also intolerable to the twenty-sixth president, who sometimes seemed to think himself Justice personified. Kreizler . . . He didn't want to attend the funeral, though Edith Roosevelt would have liked him to. She has always been truly partial to the man she calls 'the enigma,' the brilliant doctor whose studies of the human mind have disturbed so many people so profoundly over the last forty years. Kreizler wrote Edith a note explaining that he did not much like the idea of a world without Theodore, and, being as he's now sixty-four and has spent his life staring ugly realities full in the face, he thinks he'll just indulge himself and ignore the fact of his friend's passing. Edith told me today that reading Kreizler's note moved her to tears, because she realized that Theodore's boundless affection and enthusiasm'which revolted so many cynics and was, I'm obliged to say in the interests of journalistic integrity, sometimes difficult even for friends to tolerate'had been strong enough to touch a man whose remove from most of human society seemed to almost everyone else unbridgeable. Some of the boys from the Times wanted me to come to a memorial dinner tonight, but a quiet evening with Kreizler seemed much the more appropriate thing. It wasn't out of nostalgia for any shared boyhood in New York that we raised our glasses, because Laszlo and Theodore didn't actually meet until Harvard. No, Kreizler and I were fixing our hearts on the spring of 1896'nearly a quarter-century ago!'and on a series of events that still seems too bizarre to have occurred even in this city. By the end of our dessert and Madeira (and how poignant to have a memorial meal in Delmonico's, good old Del's, now on its way out like the rest of us, but in those days the bustling scene of some of our most important encounters), the two of us were laughing and shaking our heads, amazed to this day that we were able to get through the ordeal with our skins; and still saddened, 4 C A L E B C A R R

as I could see in Kreizler's face and feel in my own chest, by the thought of those who didn't. There's no simple way to describe it. I could say that in retrospect it seems that all three of our lives, and those of many others, led inevitably and fatefully to that one experience; but then I'd be broaching the subject of psychological determinism and questioning man's free will'reopening, in other words, the philosophical conundrum that wove irrepressibly in and out of the nightmarish proceedings, like the only hummable tune in a difficult opera. Or I could say that, during the course of those months, Roosevelt, Kreizler, and I, assisted by some of the best people I've ever known, set out on the trail of a murderous monster and ended up coming face-to-face with a frightened child; but that would be deliberately vague, too full of the 'ambiguity? that seems to fascinate current novelists and which has kept me, lately, out of the bookstores and in the picture houses. No, there's only one way to do it, and that's to tell the whole thing, going back to that first grisly night and that first butchered body; back even further, in fact, to our days with Professor James at Harvard. Yes, to dredge it all up and put it finally before the public'that's the way. The public may not like it; in fact, it's been concern about public reaction that's forced us to keep our secret for so many years. Even the majority of Theodore's obituaries made no reference to the event. In listing his achievements as president of the Board of Commissioners of New York City's Police Department from 1895 to 1897, only the Herald'which goes virtually unread these days'tacked on uncomfortably, 'and of course, the solution to the ghastly murders of 1896, which so appalled the city.' Yet Theodore never claimed credit for that solution. True, he had been open-minded enough, despite his own qualms, to put the investigation in the hands of a man who could solve the puzzle. But privately he always acknowledged that man to be Kreizler. He could scarcely have done so publicly. Theodore knew that the American people were not ready to believe him, or even to hear the details of the assertion. I wonder if they are now. Kreizler doubts it. I told him I intended to write the story, and he gave me one of his sardonic chuckles and said that it would only frighten and repel people, nothing more. The country, he declared tonight, really hasn't changed much since 1896, for all the work of people like Theodore, and Jake Riis and Lincoln Steffens, and the many other men and women of their ilk. We're all still running, according to Kreizler'in our private T H E A L I E N I S T 5

moments we Americans are running just as fast and fearfully as we were then, running away from the darkness we know to lie behind so many apparently tranquil household doors, away from the nightmares that continue to be injected into children's skulls by people whom Nature tells them they should love and trust, running ever faster and in ever greater numbers toward those potions, powders, priests, and philosophies that promise to obliterate such fears and nightmares, and ask in return only slavish devotion. Can he truly be right . . . ? But I wax ambiguous. To the beginning, then! 6 C A L E B C A R R

ungodly pummeling on the door of my grandmother's house at 19 Washington Square North brought first the maid and then my grandmother herself to the doorways of their bedrooms at two o'clock on the morning of March 3, 1896. I lay in bed in that nolonger-drunk yet not-quite-sober state which is usually softened by sleep, knowing that whoever was at the door probably had business with me rather than my grandmother. I burrowed into my linen-cased pillows, hoping that he'd just give up and go away. 'Mrs. Moore!' I heard the maid call. 'It's a fearful racket'shall I answer it, then'? 'You shall not,' my grandmother replied, in her well-clipped, stern voice. 'Wake my grandson, Harriet. Doubtless he's forgotten a gambling debt!' I then heard footsteps heading toward my room and decided I'd better get ready. Since the demise of my engagement to Miss Julia Pratt of Washington some two years earlier, I'd been staying with my grandmother, and during that time the old girl had become steadily more skeptical about the ways in which I spent my off-hours. I had repeatedly explained that, as a police reporter for The New York Times, I was required to visit many of the city's seamier districts and houses and consort with some less than savory characters; but she remembered my youth too well to accept that admittedly strained story. My homecoming deportment on the average evening generally reinforced her suspicion that it was state of mind, not professional obligation, that

drew me to the dance halls and gaming tables of the Tenderloin every night; and I realized, having caught the gambling remark just made to Harriet, that it was now crucial to project the image of a sober man with serious concerns. I shot into a black Chinese robe, forced my short hair down on my head, and opened the door loftily just as Harriet reached it. 'Ah, Harriet,' I said calmly, one hand inside the robe. 'No need for alarm. I was just reviewing some notes for a story, and found I needed some materials from the office. Doubtless that's the boy with them now.' 'John!' my grandmother blared as Harriet nodded in confusion. 'Is that you'? 'No, Grandmother,' I said, trotting down the thick Persian carpet on the stairs. 'It's Dr. Holmes.' Dr. H. H. Holmes was an unspeakably sadistic murderer and confidence man who was at that moment waiting to be hanged in Philadelphia. The possibility that he might escape before his appointment with the executioner and then journey to New York to do my grandmother in was, for some inexplicable reason, her greatest nightmare. I arrived at the door of her room and gave her a kiss on the cheek, which she accepted without a smile, though it pleased her. 'Don't be insolent, John. It's your least attractive quality. And don't think your handsome charms will make me any less irritated.' The pounding on the door started again, followed by a boy's voice calling my name. My grandmother's frown deepened. 'Who in blazes is that and what in blazes does he want'? 'I believe it's a boy from the office,' I said, maintaining the lie but myself perturbed about the identity of the young man who was taking the front door to such stern task. 'The office'? my grandmother said, not believing a word of it. 'All right, then, answer it.' I went quickly but cautiously to the bottom of the staircase, where I realized that in fact I knew the voice that was calling for me but couldn't identify it precisely. Nor was I reassured by the fact that it was a young voice'some of the most vicious thieves and killers I'd encountered in the New York of 1896 were mere striplings. 'Mr. Moore!' The young man pleaded again, adding a few healthy kicks to his knocks. 'I must talk to Mr. John Schuyler Moore!' I stood on the black and white marble floor of the vestibule. 'Who's there'? I said, one hand on the lock of the door. 8 C A L E B C A R R

'It's me, sir! Stevie, sir!' I breathed a slight sigh of relief and unlocked the heavy wooden portal. Outside, standing in the dim light of an overhead gas lamp? the only one in the house that my grandmother had refused to have replaced with an electric bulb'was Stevie Taggert, 'the Stevepipe,' as he was known. In his first eleven years Stevie had risen to become the bane of fifteen police precincts; but he'd then been reformed by, and was now a driver and general errand boy for, the eminent physician and alienist, my good friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler. Stevie leaned against one of the white columns outside the door and tried to catch his breath'something had clearly terrified the lad. 'Stevie!' I said, seeing that his long sheet of straight brown hair was matted with sweat. 'What's happened'? Looking beyond him I saw Kreizler's small Canadian calash. The cover of the black carriage was folded down, and the rig was drawn by a matching gelding called Frederick. The animal was, like Stevie, bathed in sweat, which steamed in the early March air. 'Is Dr. Kreizler with you'? 'The doctor says you're to come with me!' Stevie answered in a rush, his breath back. 'Right away!' 'But where? It's two in the morning'? 'Right away!' He was obviously in no condition to explain, so I told him to wait while I put on some clothes. As I did so, my grandmother shouted through my bedroom door that whatever 'that peculiar Dr. Kreizler? and I were up to at two in the morning she was sure it was not respectable. Ignoring her as best I could, I got back outside, pulling my tweed coat close as I jumped into the carriage. I didn't even have time to sit before Stevie lashed at Frederick with a long whip. Falling back into the dark maroon leather of the seat, I thought to upbraid the boy, but again the look of fear in his face struck me. I braced myself as the carriage careened at a somewhat alarming pace over the cobblestones of Washington Square. The shaking and jostling eased only marginally as we turned onto the long, wide slabs of Russ pavement on Broadway. We were heading downtown, downtown and east, into that quarter of Manhattan where Laszlo Kreizler plied his trade and where life became, the further one progressed into the area, ever cheaper and more sordid: the Lower East Side. For a moment I thought that perhaps something had happened to Laszlo. Certainly that would have accounted for the fretful way in which Stevie whipped and drove Frederick, an animal I knew him at most times to treat with complete kindness. Kreizler was the first human being T H E A L I E N I S T 9

who'd ever been able to get more than a bite or a punch out of Stevie, and he was certainly the only reason the young fellow wasn't still in that Randalls Island establishment so euphemistically known as the 'Boys? House of Refuge.' Besides being, as the Police Department had put it, 'a thief, pickpocket, drunkard, nicotine fiend, feeler''the member of a banco team that lures dupes to the site of the game? 'and congenitally destructive menace,' all by the time he was ten, Stevie had attacked and badly maimed one of the guards on Randalls Island, who he claimed had tried to assault him. ('Assault,' in the newspaper language of a quarter-century ago, almost invariably meaning rape.) Because the guard had a wife and family, the boy's honesty, and finally his sanity, had been questioned'which was when Kreizler, as one of the foremost experts of the day in forensic psychiatry, had made his entrance. At Stevie's sanity hearing Kreizler painted a masterful picture of the boy's life on the streets since the age of three, when he had been abandoned by his mother, who put an opium habit above caring for her son and finally became the mistress of a Chinese purveyor of the drug. The judge had been impressed by Kreizler's speech, and skeptical of the injured guard's testimony; but he would only agree to release Stevie when Kreizler offered to take the boy in and vouched for his future conduct. I thought Laszlo quite crazy, at the time; but there was no doubting that in just over a year Stevie had become a very different youth. And, like almost everyone who worked for Laszlo, the boy was devoted to his patron, despite that peculiar quality of emotional distance that made Kreizler so perplexing to many who knew him. 'Stevie,' I called out over the din of the carriage wheels hitting the worn edges of the granite Russ slabs, 'where is Dr. Kreizler? Is he all right'? 'At the Institute!' Stevie answered, his blue eyes wide. Laszlo's work was based in the Kreizler Institute for Children, a combination of school and research center that he had founded during the eighties. I was about to ask what he was doing there at such an hour but swallowed the query when we charged headlong through the still-busy intersection of Broadway and Houston Street. Here, it was once sagely remarked, you could fire a shotgun in any direction without hitting an honest man; Stevie contented himself with sending drunkards, faro dealers, morphine and cocaine addicts, prostitutes, their sailor marks, and simple vagrants flying for the safety of the sidewalk. From that sanctuary most of them called curses after us. 10 C A L E B C A R R

'Then are we going to the Institute, too'? I shouted. But Stevie only reined the horse sharply left at Spring Street, where we disrupted business outside two or three concert saloons, houses of assignation where prostitutes who passed themselves off as dancers made arrangements for later meetings at cheap hotels with hapless fools who were generally from out of town. From Spring Stevie made his way to Delancey Street'which was in the midst of being widened to accommodate the expected traffic of the new Williamsburg Bridge, whose construction had only recently begun'and then we flew on past several darkened theaters. Echoing down from each passing side street I could hear the desperate, demented sounds of the dives: filthy holes that sold rotgut liquor laced with everything from benzine to camphor for a nickel a glass atop a dirty plank that passed for a bar. Stevie did not slacken the pace'we were headed, it seemed, for the very edge of the island. I made one last attempt at communication: 'Aren't we going to the Institute'!' Stevie shook his head in reply, then cracked the long horsewhip again. I shrugged, sitting back to hang on to the sides of the carriage and wonder what could have frightened this boy'who in his short life had seen many of the horrors that New York had to offer'so very badly. Delancey Street carried us past the shuttered stalls of fruit and clothing merchants and on into one of the worst of the Lower East Side's tenementand shanty-strewn ghettos, the neighborhood near the waterfront just above Corlears Hook. A vast, maudlin sea of small shacks and shoddy new tenements stretched away to either side of us. The area was a stewpot of different immigrant cultures and languages, the Irish predominating to the south of Delancey Street and the Hungarians farther north, near Houston. An occasional church of some denomination or other was visible among the rows upon rows of dismal residences, which even on this crisp morning were draped with lines of laundry. Some pieces of clothing and bedding, frozen almost solid, twisted in the wind stiffly at what might have seemed unnatural angles; but in truth, nothing in such a place'where furtive souls scurried from darkened doorways to blackened alleys wrapped in what were often little more than rags, their feet bare to the frozen horse manure, urine, and soot that coated the streets'could truly be called unnatural. We were in a neighborhood that knew little of laws, manmade or otherwise, a neighborhood that gave joy to visitors and resiT H E A L I E N I S T 11

dents only when they were allowed to view its recession in the distance after making their escape. Near the end of Delancey Street, the smells of sea and fresh water, along with the stench of refuse that those who lived near the waterfront simply dumped off the edge of Manhattan every day, mingled to produce the distinctive aroma of that tidal pool we call the East River. A large structure soon slanted up before us: the ramp approach to the nascent Williamsburg Bridge. Without pausing, and much to my dismay, Stevie crashed onto the boarded roadway, the horse's hooves and carriage wheels clattering far more loudly against wood than they had against stone. An elaborate maze of steel supports below the roadway bore us dozens of feet up into the night air. As I wondered what our destination could possibly be'for the towers of the bridge were nothing like completed, and the structure's opening was years away'I began to make out what looked like the walls of a large Chinese temple suddenly looming ahead. Composed of huge granite blocks and crowned by two squat watchtowers, each of which was ringed by a delicate steel walkway, this peculiar edifice was the Manhattan-side anchor of the bridge, the structure that would eventually hold one set of ends of the enormous steel suspension cables that would support the central span. In a way, though, my impression of it as a temple was not far off the mark: like the Brooklyn Bridge, whose Gothic arches I could see silhouetted against the night sky to the south, this new roadway over the East River was a place where many workers? lives had been sacrificed to the faith of Engineering, which in the past fifteen years had produced towering marvels all over Manhattan. What I did not know was that the blood sacrifice that had been made atop the western anchor of the Williamsburg Bridge on that particular night was of a very different nature. Near the entrance to the watchtowers atop the anchor, standing under the flimsy light of a few electric bulbs and bearing portable lanterns, were several patrolmen whose small brass insignia marked them as coming from the Thirteenth Precinct (we had passed the station house moments before on Delancey Street). With them was a sergeant from the Fifteenth, a fact that immediately struck me as odd'in two years of covering the criminal beat for the Times, not to mention a childhood in New York, I'd learned that each of the city's police precincts guarded its terrain jealously. (Indeed, at mid-century the various police factions had openly warred with each other.) For the Thir12 C A L E B C A R R

teenth to have summoned a man from the Fifteenth indicated that something significant was going on. Stevie finally reined the gelding up near this group of blue greatcoats, then leapt from his seat and took the hard-breathing horse by the bit, leading him to the side of the roadway near an enormous pile of construction materials and tools. The boy eyed the cops with familiar distrust. The sergeant from the Fifteenth Precinct, a tall Irishman whose pasty face was notable only because he did not sport the broad mustache so common to his profession, stepped forward and studied Stevie with a threatening smile. 'That's little Stevie Taggert, ain't it'? he said, speaking with a pronounced brogue. 'You don't suppose the commissioner's called me all this way to box your ears for ya, do ya, Stevie, ya little shit'? I stepped down from the carriage and approached Stevie, who shot the sergeant a sullen glance. 'Pay no mind, Stevie,' I said, as sympathetically as possible. 'Stupidity goes with the leather helmet.' The boy smiled a bit. 'But I wouldn't mind your telling me what I'm doing here.' Stevie nodded to the northern watchtower, then pulled a battered cigarette out of his pocket. 'Up there. The doctor says you're to go up.' I started for the doorway in the granite wall, but Stevie stayed by the horse. 'You're not coming'? The boy shuddered and turned away, lighting the cigarette. 'I seen it once. And if I never see such again I'll be done right. When you're ready to get back home, Mr. Moore, I'll be right here. Doctor's instructions.' I felt increased apprehension as I turned and headed for the doorway, where I was stopped by the arm of the police sergeant. 'And who might you be, with the young Stevepipe driving you around past all respectable hours? This is a crime scene, y'know.' I gave the man my name and occupation, at which he grinned and showed me an impressive gold tooth. 'Ah, a gentleman of the press'and the Times, no less! Well, Mr. Moore, I've just arrived myself. Urgent call, apparently no other man they could trust. Spell it F-l-y-n-n, sir, if you will, and don't go labeling me no roundsman. Full sergeant. Come on, we'll head up together. Mind you behave, young Stevie, or I'll have you back on Randalls Island faster'n spit!' Stevie turned back to the horse. 'Why don't you go chase yourself,' the boy mumbled, just loud enough for the sergeant to hear. T H E A L I E N I S T 13

Flynn spun with a look of lethal anger, but, remembering my presence, checked himself. 'Incorrigible, that one, Mr. Moore. Can't imagine what a man like you's doing in his presence. Need him as a contact with the underworld, no doubt. Up we go, sir, and mind, it's dark as the pit in here!' So it was. I stumbled and tripped my way up a rough flight of stairs, at the top of which I could make out the form of another leatherhead. The cop'a roundsman from the Thirteenth Precinct? turned on our approach and then called to someone else: 'It's Flynn, sir. He's here.' We came out of the stairs into a small room littered with sawhorses, planks of wood, buckets of rivets, and bits of metal and wiring. Wide windows gave a full view of the horizon in every direction'the city behind us, the river and the partially completed towers of the bridge before us. A doorway led out onto the walkway that ran around the tower. Near the doorway stood a slit-eyed, bearded sergeant of detectives named Patrick Connor, whom I recognized from my visits to Police Headquarters on Mulberry Street. Next to him, looking out over the river with his hands clasped behind his back, rocking on the balls of his feet, was a much more familiar figure: Theodore. 'Sergeant Flynn,' Roosevelt said without turning. 'It's ghastly work that has prompted our call, I'm afraid. Ghastly.' My discomfort suddenly heightened when Theodore spun to face us. There was nothing unusual in his appearance: an expensive, slightly dandy checked suit of the kind that he fancied in those days; the spectacles that were, like the eyes behind them, too small for his tough, square head; the broad mustache bristling below the wide nose. Yet his visage was excessively odd, nonetheless. Then it occurred to me: his teeth. His numerous, usually snapping teeth'they were nowhere in sight. His jaws were clamped shut in what seemed passionate anger, or remorse. Something had shaken Roosevelt badly. His dismay seemed to grow when he saw me. 'What'Moore! What in thunder are you doing here'? 'I'm glad to see you, too, Roosevelt,' I managed through my nervousness, extending a hand. He accepted it, though for once he didn't loosen my arm from its socket. 'What'oh, I am sorry, Moore. I'delighted to see you, of course, delighted. But who told you''? 'Told me what? I was abducted and brought here by Kreizler's boy. On his orders, without so much as a word of explanation.' 14 C A L E B C A R R

'Kreizler!' Theodore murmured in soft urgency, glancing out the window with a confounded and even fearful look that was not at all typical of him. 'Yes, Kreizler's been here.' 'Been? Do you mean he's gone'? 'Before I arrived. He left a note. And a report.' Theodore revealed a piece of paper clutched in his left hand. 'A preliminary one, at any rate. He was the first doctor they could find. Although it was quite hopeless . . .' I took the man by the shoulder. 'Roosevelt. What is it'? 'To be sure, Commissioner, I wouldn't mind knowing meself,' Sergeant Flynn added, with quaint obsequiousness that was repellant. 'We get little enough sleep at the Fifteenth, and I'd just as soon'? 'Very well,' Theodore said, steeling himself. 'How are your stomachs, gentlemen'? I said nothing, and Flynn made some absurd joke about the wide range of grisly sights he'd encountered in his life; but Theodore's eyes were all hard business. He indicated the door to the outer walkway. Detective Sergeant Connor stepped aside and then Flynn led the way out. My first thought on emerging, despite my apprehension, was that the view from the walkway was even more extraordinary than that from the tower windows. Across the water lay Williamsburg, once a peaceful country town but now rapidly becoming a bustling part of the metropolis that was destined, within months, to officially evolve into Greater New York. To the south, again, the Brooklyn Bridge; in the southwestern distance the new towers of Printing House Square, and below us the churning, black waters of the river? And then I saw it. T H E A L I E N I S T 15

dd, how long it took my mind to make any sense of the image. Or perhaps not; there was so much so very wrong, so very out of place, so . . . distorted. How could I have expected myself to grasp it quickly? On the walkway was the body of a young person. I say 'person? because, though the physical attributes were those of an adolescent boy, the clothes (little more than a chemise that was missing a sleeve) and facial paint were those of a girl. Or, rather, of a woman, and a woman of dubious repute at that. The unfortunate creature's wrists were trussed behind the back, and the legs were bent in a kneeling position that pressed the face to the steel of the walkway. There was no sign of any pants or shoes, just one sock hanging pathetically from a foot. But what had been done to the body . . . The face did not seem heavily beaten or bruised'the paint and powder were still intact'but where once there had been eyes there were now only bloody, cavernous sockets. A puzzling piece of flesh protruded from the mouth. A wide gash stretched across the throat, though there was little blood near the opening. Large cuts crisscrossed the abdomen, revealing the mass of the inner organs. The right hand had been chopped neatly off. At the groin there was another gaping wound, one that explained the mouth'the genitals had been cut away and stuffed between the jaws. The buttocks, too, had been shorn off, in what appeared large . . . one could only call them carving strokes.

In the minute or two that it took me to note all these details the vista around me faded into a sea of indistinguishable blackness, and what I thought was the churning progress of a ship turned out to be my own blood in my ears. With the sudden realization that I might be sick, I spun to grasp the railing of the walkway and hung my head out over the water. 'Commissioner!' Connor called, stepping out of the watchtower. But it was Theodore who got to me first, in a quick bound. 'Easy, now, John,' I heard him say, as he supported me with that wiry yet remarkably strong boxer's frame of his. 'Breathe deeply.' As I followed his instructions I heard a long, trailing whistle from Flynn, who continued to stare at the body. 'Well, now,' he said, addressing the corpse without sounding particularly concerned. 'Somebody has done for you, young Giorgio-called-Gloria, haven't they? You're a hell of a mess.' 'Then you do know the child, Flynn'? Theodore said, leaning me against the wall of the watchtower. Steadiness was returning to my head. 'That I do, Commissioner.' Flynn seemed in the dim light to be smiling. 'Though it was no child, this one, not if childhood be judged by behavior. Family name Santorelli. Must've been, oh, thirteen years old, or thereabouts. Giorgio, it was called originally, and since it began working out of Paresis Hall, it called itself Gloria.' ? 'It''? I said, wiping cold sweat from my forehead with the cuff of my coat. 'Why do you call him 'it''? Flynn's smile became a grin. 'Sure, and what would you call it, Mr. Moore? It warn't no male, not to judge by its antics'but God didn't create it female, teither. They're all its to me, that breed.' Theodore's hands went forcefully to his hips, the fingers curling up into fists'he'd taken the measure of Flynn. 'I'm not interested in your philosophical analysis of the situation, Sergeant. Whatever else, the boy was a child and the child has been murdered.' Flynn chuckled and glanced again at the body. 'No arguing that, sir!' 'Sergeant!' Theodore's voice, always a little too rasping and shrill for his appearance, scratched a little more than usual as he barked at Flynn, who stood up straight. 'Not another word out of you, sir, unless it's to answer my questions! Understood'? Flynn nodded; but the cynical, amused resentment that all longtime officers in the department felt for the commissioner who in just one year had stood Police Headquarters and the whole chain of deT H E A L I E N I S T 17

partmental command on its ear remained evident in the slightest curl of his upper lip. Theodore could not have missed it. 'Now then,' Roosevelt said, his teeth clicking in that peculiar way of theirs, cutting each word out of his mouth. 'You say the boy was called Giorgio Santorelli, and that he worked out of Paresis Hall? that's Biff Ellison's establishment on Cooper Square, correct'? 'That'd be the one, Commissioner.' 'And where would you guess that Mr. Ellison is at this moment'? 'At this'? Why, in the Hall itself, sir.' 'Go there. Tell him I want him at Mulberry Street tomorrow morning.' For the first time, Flynn looked concerned. 'Tomorrow'now, begging your pardon, Commissioner, but Mr. Ellison's not the sort of man to take that kind of a summons sweetly.' 'Then arrest him,' Theodore said, turning away and staring out at Williamsburg. 'Arrest him? Sure, Commissioner, if we arrested every owner of a bar or disorderly house that harbors boy-whores, just because one gets roughed up or even murdered, why, sir, we'd never'? 'Perhaps you would like to tell me the real reason for your resistance,' Theodore said, those busy fists of his starting to flex behind his back. He walked right up and put his spectacles in Flynn's face. 'Is Mr. Ellison not one of your primary sources of graft'? Flynn's eyes widened, but he managed to draw himself up haughtily and affect wounded pride. 'Mr. Roosevelt, I've been on the force for fifteen years, sir, and I think I know how this city works. You don't go harassing a man like Mr. Ellison just because some little piece of immigrant trash finally gets what's coming to it!' That was all, and I knew that was all'and it was fortunate for Roosevelt that I did, for had I not shot over at just that moment to grab his arms he would certainly have beaten Flynn into a bloody pulp. It was a struggle, though, to keep hold of those strong arms. 'No, Roosevelt, no!' I whispered in his ear. 'It's what his kind want, you know that! Attack a man in uniform and they'll have your head, there'll be nothing the mayor can do about it!' Roosevelt was breathing hard, Flynn was once again smiling, and Detective Sergeant Connor and the roundsman were making no move toward physical intervention. They knew full well that they were precariously positioned at that moment between the powerful wave of municipal reform that had swept into New York with the findings of 18 C A L E B C A R R

the Lexow Commission on police corruption a year earlier (of which Roosevelt was a strong exponent) and the perhaps greater power of that same corruption, which had existed for as long as the force and was now quietly biding its time, waiting until the public wearied of the passing fashion of reform and sank back into business as usual. 'A simple choice for you, Flynn,' Roosevelt managed, with dignity that was notably unimpaired for a man so full of rage. 'Ellison in my office or your badge on my desk. Tomorrow morning.' Flynn gave up the struggle sullenly. 'Sure. Commissioner.' He spun on his heel and headed back down the watchtower steps, mumbling something about a 'damned society boy playing at policeman.' One of the cops who had been positioned below the tower then appeared, to say that a coroner's wagon had arrived and was ready to haul the body away. Roosevelt told them to wait a few minutes and then dismissed Connor and the roundsman as well. We were now alone on the walkway, except for the ghoulish remains of what had once been, apparently, another of the many desperately troubled young people who every season were spat up by the dark, miserable tenement ocean that stretched away from us to the west. Forced to use whatever means they could'and Giorgio Santorelli's had been the most basic'to survive on their own, such children were more completely on their own than anyone unfamiliar with the New York City ghettos of 1896 could possibly imagine. 'Kreizler estimates that the boy was killed earlier tonight,' Theodore said, glancing at the sheet of paper in his hand. 'Something about the temperature of the body. So the killer may still be in the area. I have men combing it. There are a few other medical details, and then this message.' He handed the paper to me, and on it I saw scrawled in Kreizler's agitated block hand: 'ROOSEVELT: TERRIBLE ERRORS HAVE BEEN MADE. I WILL BE AVAILABLE IN THE MORNING, OR FOR LUNCH. WE SHOULD BEGIN'THERE IS A TIMETABLE.' I tried for a moment to make sense of it. 'It's fairly tiresome of him to be so cryptic? was the only conclusion I could reach. Theodore managed a chuckle. 'Yes. I thought so, too. But I think I understand, now. It was examining the body that did it. Do you have any idea, Moore, how many people are murdered in New York every year'? 'Not really.' I gave the corpse another curious glance, but jerked T H E A L I E N I S T 19

my head back around when I saw the cruel way in which the face was pressed to the steel walkway'so that the lower jaw was pushed at a grotesque sidelong angle away from the upper'and the black-red holes that had once been eyes. 'If I were to guess I'd say hundreds. Perhaps one or two thousand.' 'So would I,' Roosevelt answered. 'But I, too, would only be guessing. Because we don't even pay attention to most of them. Oh, the force bends every effort if the victim is respectable and well-to-do. But a boy like this, an immigrant who turned to the flesh trade'I'm ashamed to say it, Moore, but there's no precedent for looking into such a case, as you could see in Flynn's attitude.' His hands went to his hips again. 'But I'm getting tired of it. In these vile neighborhoods husbands and wives kill each other, drunkards and dope fiends murder decent working people, prostitutes are slaughtered and commit suicide by the score, and at most it's seen as some sort of grimly amusing spectacle by outsiders. That's bad enough. But when the victims are children like this, and the general reaction is no different than Flynn's'by God, I get to feeling warlike with my own people! Why, already this year we've had three such cases, and not so much as a whisper from the precincts or the detectives.' 'Three'? I asked. 'I only know about the girl at Draper's.' Shang Draper ran a notorious brothel at Sixth Avenue and Twenty-fourth Street, where customers could purchase the favors of children (mostly girls, but the occasional boy as well) between the ages of nine and fourteen. In January a ten-year-old girl had been found beaten to death in one of the brothel's small paneled rooms. 'Yes, and you only know of that one because Draper had been slow with his graft payments,' Roosevelt said. The bitter battle against corruption waged by the current mayor, Colonel William L. Strong, and lieutenants such as Roosevelt had been courageous, but they had not succeeded in eradicating the oldest and most lucrative of police activities: the collection of graft from the operators of saloons, concert halls, disorderly houses, opium dens, and every other palace of vice. 'Someone in the Sixteenth Precinct, I still don't know who, made the most of that story to the press as a method of turning the screws. But the other two victims were boys like this, found in the streets and therefore useless in trying to pressure their panderers. So the stories went untold . . .' His voice faded into the slap of the water below us and the steady 20 C A L E B C A R R

rush of the river breeze. 'Were they both like this'? I asked, watching Theodore watch the body. 'Virtually. Throats cut. And they'd both been gotten at by the rats and birds, like this one. It didn't make an easy sight.' 'Rats and birds'? 'The eyes,' Roosevelt answered. 'Detective Sergeant Connor puts that down to rats, or carrion pickers. But the rest of this . . .' There hadn't been anything in the papers about these other two killings, although there was nothing surprising about that. As Roosevelt had said, murders that appeared insoluble and that occurred among the poor or outcast were barely recorded, much less investigated, by the police; and when the victims were members of a segment of society that was not generally acknowledged to exist, then the chances of public awareness shrank from slim to none. I wondered for a moment what my own editors at the Times would have done if I'd suggested running a story about a young boy who made his living painting himself like a female whore and selling his body to grown men (many of them ostensibly respectable men), who was horribly butchered in a dark corner of the city. I would have been lucky to escape with a dismissal; forced internment at the Bloomingdale Asylum would have been the more likely result. 'I haven't spoken to Kreizler in years,' Roosevelt mused at length. 'Although he sent me a very decent note when''for a moment his words became awkward''that is, at a very difficult time.' I understood. Theodore was referring to the death of his first wife, Alice, who had passed away in 1884 after giving birth to their daughter, who bore the same name. His loss that day had been doubly staggering, for his mother had died within hours of his wife. Theodore had dealt with the tragedy typically, sealing off the sad, sacrosanct memory of his bride, and never mentioning her again. He tried to rouse himself, and turned to me. 'Still, the good doctor must have called you here for a reason.' 'I'm deuced if I can see it,' I replied with a shrug. 'Yes,' Theodore said with another affectionate chuckle. 'As inscrutable as any Chinaman, our friend Kreizler. And perhaps, like him, I've been among the strange and awful too long, these past months. But I think I may be able to divine his purpose. You see, Moore, I've had to ignore all the other killings like this one, because there's no desire to investigate them in the department. Even if there were, none of T H E A L I E N I S T 21

our detectives is trained to make sense of such butchery. But this boy, this horrible, bloody mess'justice can only be blind so long. I've a scheme, and I think Kreizler has a scheme'and I think you're the one to bring us together.' 'Me'? 'Why not? Just as you did at Harvard, when we all met.' 'But what am I supposed to do'? 'Bring Kreizler to my office tomorrow. Late morning, as he says. We'll share thoughts and see what can be done. But mind you, be discreet'as far as anyone else is concerned, it's a social reunion of old friends.' 'Damn it, Roosevelt, what is a social reunion of old friends'? But I'd lost him to the rapture of a plan. He ignored my plaintive question, took a deep breath, barreled his chest, and appeared far more comfortable than he had to that point. 'Action, Moore'we shall respond with action!' And then he grabbed me around the shoulders in a tight hug, his enthusiasm and moral certainty all back in full force. As for my own sense of certainty, any kind of certainty, I waited in vain for its arrival. All I knew was that I was being drawn into something that involved the two most passionately determined men I'd ever known'and that thought offered me no comfort as we went back downstairs to Kreizler's carriage, leaving the body of the pitiable Santorelli boy alone on that tower, high in the freezing sky that was still untouched by any trace of dawn. 22 C A L E B C A R R

old, cutting March rain came with the morning. I rose early to find that Harriet had, mercifully, prepared me a breakfast of strong coffee, toast, and fruit (which she, drawing on the experience of a family full of inebriates, believed essential for anyone who imbibed often). I settled into my grandmother's glass-enclosed nook, overlooking her still-dormant rose garden in the rear yard, and decided to digest the morning edition of the Times before trying to telephone the Kreizler Institute. With the rain pattering on the copper roof and glass walls around me, I inhaled the fragrance of the few plants and flowers that my grandmother kept alive year-round and took in the paper, trying to reestablish contact with a world that, in light of the previous evening's events, seemed suddenly and disturbingly removed. SPAIN IS FULL OF WRATH, I learned; the question of American support for the nationalist rebels in Cuba (the U.S. Congress was considering granting them full belligerent status, and thus effectively recognizing their cause) was continuing to cause the vicious, crumbling regime in Madrid much worry. Boss Tom Platt, the town's cadaverous old Republican mastermind, was assailed by the editors of the Times for trying to prostitute the imminent reorganization of the city into a Greater New York'one that would include Brooklyn and Staten Island, as well as Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan'to his own nefarious purposes. The approaching Democratic and Republican conventions both promised to center around the question of bimetallism, or whether or not America's solid old gold standard should be

sullied by the introduction of silver-based currency. Three hundred and eleven black Americans had taken ship for Liberia; and the Italians were rioting because their troops had been badly defeated by Abyssinian tribesmen on the other side of that dark continent. Momentous as all this no doubt was, it held little interest for a man in my mood. I turned to lighter matters. There were bicycling elephants at Proctor's Theatre; a troop of Hindu fakirs at Hubert's Fourteenth Street Museum; Max Alvary was a brilliant Tristan at the Academy of Music; and Lillian Russell was The Goddess of Truth at Abbey's. Eleanora Duse was 'no Bernhardt? in Camille, and Otis Skinner in Hamlet shared her penchant for weeping too easily and too often. The Prisoner of Zenda was in its fourth week at the Lyceum'I had seen it twice and thought for a moment about going again that night. It was a grand escape from the worries of the usual day (not to mention the grim sights of an extraordinary night): castles with watery moats, sword battles, a diverting mystery, and stunning, swooning women . . . Yet even as I thought of the play, my eyes wandered to other items. A man on Ninth Street who had once cut his brother's throat while drunk, drank again and shot his mother; there were still no clues in the particularly vicious murder of artist Max Eglau at the Institution for the Improved Instruction of Deaf Mutes; a man named John Mackin, who had killed his wife and mother-in-law and then tried to end his own life by cutting his throat, had recovered from the wound but was now trying to starve himself. The authorities had convinced Mackin to eat by showing him the frightful force-feeding apparatus that would otherwise be used to keep him alive for the executioner . . . I threw the paper aside. Taking in a last heavy gulp of sweet black coffee, and then a section of a peach shipped from Georgia, I redoubled my resolve to get to the Lyceum box office. I had just started back for my room to dress when the telephone let out with a loud clang, and I heard my grandmother in her morning room exclaim 'Oh, God!' in alarm and anger. The telephone bell did that to her, yet she never entertained any suggestion that it be removed, or at least muffled. Harriet appeared from the kitchen, her soft, middle-aged features specked with soap bubbles. 'It's the telephone, sir,' she said, wiping her hands on her apron. 'Dr. Kreizler calling.' Pulling my Chinese robe tighter, I headed for the little wooden box near the kitchen and took up the heavy black receiver, putting it to my 24 C A L E B C A R R

ear as I placed my other hand on the anchored mouthpiece. 'Yes'? I said. 'Is that you, Laszlo'? 'Ah, so you're awake, Moore,' I heard him say. 'Good.' The sound was faint, but the manner was, as always, energetic. The words bore the lilt of a European accent: Kreizler had immigrated to the United States as a child, when his German father, a wealthy publisher and 1848 republican, and Hungarian mother had fled monarchist persecution to begin a somewhat celebrated life in New York as fashionable political exiles. 'What time does Roosevelt want us'? he asked, without any thought that Theodore might have refused his suggestion. 'Before lunch!' I said, raising my volume as if to overcome the faintness of his voice. 'Why the devil are you shouting'? Kreizler said. 'Before lunch, eh? Excellent. Then we've time. You've seen the paper? The bit on this man Wolff'? 'No.' 'Read it while you're dressing, then.' I glanced at my robe. 'How did you know that I'? 'They have him at Bellevue. I'm supposed to assess him, anyway, and we can ask a few additional questions, to determine if he's connected to our business. Then on to Mulberry Street, a brief stop at the Institute, and lunch at Del's'squab, I should think, or the pigeon crepinettes. Ranhofer's poivrade sauce with truffles is superb.' 'But'? 'Cyrus and I will go directly from my house. You'll have to take a hansom. The appointment's for nine-thirty'try not to be late, will you, Moore? We mustn't waste a minute in this affair.' And then he was gone. I walked back to the nook, picked up the Times again, and leafed through it. The article was on page eight: Henry Wolff had been drinking in the tenement apartment of his neighbor, Conrad Rudesheimer, the night before. The latter's fiveyear-old daughter had entered the room, and Wolff proceeded to make some comments that Rudesheimer found unsuitable for the ears of a young girl. The father objected; Wolff pulled a gun and shot the girl in the head, killing her, then fled. He had been captured, several hours later, wandering aimlessly'near the East River. I dropped the paper again, momentarily struck by a premonitory feeling that the events of the previous night atop the bridge tower had been only an overture. T H E A L I E N I S T 25

Back in the hallway I ran headlong into my grandmother, her silver hair perfectly coiffed, her gray and black dress unimpeachably neat, and her gray eyes, which I had inherited, glaring. 'John!' she said in surprise, as if ten other men were staying in her house. 'Who in the world was on the telephone'? 'Dr. Kreizler, Grandmother,' I said, bounding up the stairs. 'Dr. Kreizler!' she called after me. 'Well, dear! I've had about enough of that Dr. Kreizler for one day!' As I closed the door of my bedroom and began to dress, I could still hear her: 'If you ask me, he's awfully peculiar! And I don't put much stock in his being a doctor, either. That Holmes man was a doctor, too!' She stayed in that vein while I washed, shaved, and scrubbed my teeth with Sozodont. It was her way; and for all that it was annoying, to a man who, without recent memory, had lost what he was sure was his only chance at domestic happiness, it was still better than a lonely apartment in a building full of other men who had resigned themselves to solitary lives. Snatching a gray cap and a black umbrella as I dashed out the front door, I made for Sixth Avenue at a brisk pace. The rain was coming down much harder now, and a particularly stiff wind had begun to blow. When I reached the avenue the force of air suddenly changed directions as it swept under the tracks of the New York Elevated Railroad line, which ran above either side of the street just inside the sidewalks. The shift blasted my umbrella inside out, along with those of several other members of the throng that was hustling under the tracks; and the combined effect of the heightening wind, the rain, and the cold was to make the usually bustling rush hour seem absolute pandemonium. Making for a cab as I struggled with my cumbersome, useless umbrella, I was cut off by a merry young couple who maneuvered me out of their way with no great finesse and clambered quickly into my hansom. I swore loudly against their progeny and shook the dead umbrella at them, prompting the woman to scream in fright and the man to fix an anxious eye on me and tell me I was mad'all of which, considering my destination, gave me a good chuckle and made the wet wait for another hansom much easier. When one came around the corner of Washington Place I did not wait for it to stop, but leapt in, shut the doors around my legs, and hollered to the driver to get me to the Insane Pavilion at Bellevue: not the kind of order any cabbie wants to hear. The look of dismay on his face as we drove off gave me another little laugh, so that by the time we hit Fourteenth Street I didn't even mind the feel of wet tweed against my legs. 26 C A L E B C A R R

With the perversity of the typical New York City cabman, my driver'the collar of his raincoat turned up and his top hat encased in a thin rubber sheath'decided to battle his way through the shopping district along Sixth Avenue above Fourteenth Street before turning east. We had slowly passed most of the big department stores? O'Neill's, Adams & Company, Simpson-Crawford'before I rapped on the roof of the cab with my first and assured my man that I did need to get to Bellevue this morning. With a rude jerk we spun right at Twenty-third, and then plowed through the thoroughly unregulated intersection of that street with Fifth Avenue and Broadway. Passing the squat bulk of the Fifth Avenue Hotel, where Boss Platt made his headquarters and was probably putting the finishing touches to the Greater New York scheme at that very moment, we turned up along the eastern edge of Madison Square Park to Twenty-sixth, then changed directions in front of the Italianate arcades and towers of Madison Square Garden to head east once more. The square, solemn, red-brick buildings of Bellevue appeared on the horizon, and in just a few more minutes we crossed First Avenue and pulled up behind a large black ambulance on the Twenty-sixth Street side of the hospital grounds, near the entrance to the Insane Pavilion. I paid my cabbie off and headed in. The Pavilion was a simple building, long and rectangular. A small, uninviting vestibule greeted visitors and internees, and beyond this, through the first of many iron doors, was a wide corridor running down the center of the building. Twenty-four 'rooms''really cells? opened off of the corridor, and separating these cells into two wards, female and male, were two more sliding, studded iron doors at the corridor's midway point. The Pavilion was used for observation and evaluation, primarily of persons who had committed violent acts. Once their sanity (or lack of it) had been determined and official reports were received, the internees were shipped out to other, even less inviting institutions. As soon as I was inside the vestibule I heard the usual shouts and howls'some coherent protests, some simply wails of madness and despair'coming from the cells beyond. At the same instant I spotted Kreizler; odd, how strongly the sight of him has always been associated, in my mind, with such sounds. As usual, his suit and coat were black, and as often he was reading the music notices in the Times. His black eyes, so much like a large bird's, flitted about the paper as he shifted from one foot to the other in sudden, quick movements. He T H E A L I E N I S T 27

held the Times in his right hand, and his left arm, underdeveloped as the result of a childhood injury, was pulled in close to his body. The left hand occasionally rose to swipe at his neatly trimmed mustache and the small patch of beard under his lower lip. His dark hair, cut far too long to meet the fashion of the day, and swept back on his head, was moist, for he always went hatless; and this, along with the bobbing of his face at the pages before him, only increased the impression of some hungry, restless hawk determined to wring satisfaction from the worrisome world around him. Standing next to Kreizler was the enormous Cyrus Montrose, Laszlo's valet, occasional driver, effective bodyguard, and alter ego. Like most of Kreizler's employees, Cyrus was a former patient, one who made me more than a little nervous, despite his apparently controlled manner and appearance. That morning he was dressed in gray pants and a tightly buttoned brown jacket, and his broad, black features did not seem even to register my approach. But as I came closer he tapped Kreizler on the arm and pointed my way. 'Ah, Moore,' Kreizler said, taking a chained watch from his vest with his left hand and extending his right with a smile. 'Splendid.' 'Laszlo,' I answered, shaking his hand. 'Cyrus,' I added, with a nod that was barely returned. Kreizler indicated his newspaper as he checked the time. 'I'm somewhat irritated with your employers. Yesterday evening I saw a brilliant Pagliacci at the Metropolitan, with Melba and Ancona'and all the Times can talk about is Alvary's Tristan.' He paused to study my face. 'You look tired, John.' 'I can't imagine why. Tearing around in an uncovered carriage in the middle of the night is usually so restful. Would you mind telling me what I'm doing here'? 'A moment.' Kreizler turned to an attendant in a dark blue uniform and box cap who lounged in a straight-backed wooden chair nearby. 'Fuller? We're ready.' 'Yes sir, Doctor,' the man answered, taking an enormous ring of large keys from his belt and starting for the doorway to the central corridor. Kreizler and I fell in to follow, Cyrus remaining behind like a waxwork. 'You did read the article, didn't you, Moore'? Kreizler asked, as the attendant unlocked and opened the doorway to the first ward. With the opening the howls and shouts from the cells became almost deafening and quite unnerving. There was little light in the windowless corridor, 28 C A L E B C A R R

only that which a few overworked electric bulbs could offer. Some of the small observation windows in the imposing iron doors of the cells were open. 'Yes,' I answered at length, very uneasily. 'I read it. And I understand the possible connection'but why do you need me'? Before Kreizler could answer, a woman's face suddenly appeared in the first door to our right. Her hair, though pinned up, was unkempt, and the expression on her worn, broad features was one of violent outrage. That expression changed in an instant, however, when she saw who the visitor was. 'Dr. Kreizler!' she said in a hoarse but passionate gasp. At that the train of reaction was propelled into high speed: Kreizler's name spread down the corridor from cell to cell, inmate to inmate, through the walls and iron doors of the women's ward and on into the men's. I'd seen this happen several times before, in different institutions, but it was no less remarkable on each occasion: the words were like the flow of water over coals, taking away crackling heat and leaving only a steaming whisper, a perhaps momentary but nonetheless effective remission from deep-burning fire. The cause of this singular phenomenon was simple. Kreizler was known throughout the patient, as well as the criminal, medical, and legal, communities in New York to be the man whose testimony in court or at a sanity hearing could determine, more than that of any other alienist of the day, whether a given person was sent to prison, to the somewhat less horrifying confines of a mental institution, or back out onto the streets. The moment he was spotted in a place such as the Pavilion, therefore, the usual sounds of madness gave way to an eerie attempt at coherent communication on the part of most of the inmates. Only the uninitiated or the hopelessly distressed would continue their ravings; and yet the effect of this sudden reduction in noise was not at all reassuring. Indeed, it was in some ways worse on the nerves, for one knew that the attempt at order was a strained one, and that the sounds of anguish would soon return'again, like burning coals roasting away the transitory suppression of a splash of water. Kreizler's reaction to the inmates? behavior was no less disconcerting, for one was left only to imagine what experiences in his life and career could have implanted in him the ability to walk through such a place and witness such desperate performances (all peppered by measured yet passionate pleas of 'Dr. Kreizler, I must talk with you!' 'Dr. Kreizler, please, I am not like these others!') without submitting to T H E A L I E N I S T 29

fear, revulsion, or despair. As he moved in measured strides down the long corridor, his brows drew together over his gleaming eyes, which shot quickly from side to side, cell to cell, with a look of sympathetic admonishment: as if these people were errant children. At no point did he allow himself to address any of the inmates, but this refusal was not cruel; quite the contrary, for to speak to any one would only have raised that unfortunate person's hopes, perhaps unrealistically, while dashing those of the other supplicants. Any patients present who had been in madhouses or prisons before, or who had been under observation for an extended period at Bellevue, knew that this was Kreizler's practice; and they made their most emphatic pleas with their eyes, aware that it was only with the organ of sight that Kreizler would acknowledge them. We passed through the sliding iron doors and into the men's ward, and followed the attendant Fuller to the last cell on the left. He stood to the side and opened the small observation window in the heavily banded door. 'Wolff!' he called. 'Visitors for you. Official business, so behave.' Kreizler stood before the window looking inward, and I watched over his shoulder. Inside the small, bare-walled cell a man sat on a rough cot, under which lay a dented steel chamber pot. Heavy bars covered the one small window, and ivy obscured the little external light that tried to enter. A metal pitcher of water and a tray bearing a bit of bread and an oatmeal-encrusted bowl lay on the floor near the man, whose head was in his hands. He wore only an undershirt and woolen pants without a belt or suspenders (suicide being the worry). Heavy shackles were clamped around his wrists and ankles. When he lifted his face, a few seconds after Fuller's call, he revealed a pair of red eyes that reminded me of some of my worst mornings; and his deeply lined, whiskered face bore an expression of detached resignation. 'Mr. Wolff,' Kreizler said, watching the man carefully. 'Are you sober'? 'Who wouldn't be'? the man answered slowly, his words indistinct, 'after a night in this place'? Kreizler closed the small iron gate that covered the window and turned to Fuller. 'Has he been drugged'? Fuller shrugged uncomfortably. 'He was raving when they brought him in, Dr. Kreizler. Seemed more than just drunk, the superintendent said, so they jabbed him full of chloral.' Kreizler sighed in deep irritation. Chloral hydrate was one of the 30 C A L E B C A R R

banes of his existence, a bitter-tasting, neutrally colored, somewhat caustic compound that slowed the rate of the heart and thus made the subject singularly calm'or, if used as it was in many saloons, almost comatose and an easy target for robbery or kidnapping. The body of the medical community, however, insisted that chloral did not cause addiction (Kreizler violently disagreed); and at twenty-five cents a dose, it was a cheap and convenient alternative to wrestling a patient into chains or a leather harness. It was therefore used with abandon, especially on mentally disturbed or simply violent subjects; but in the twenty-five years since its introduction, its use had spread to the general public, who were free, in those days, to buy not only chloral, but morphine, opium, cannabis indica, or any other such substance at any drugstore. Many thousands of people had destroyed their lives by freely surrendering to chloral's power to 'release one from worry and care, and bring on healthful sleep? (as one manufacturer put it). Death by overdose had become common; more and more suicides were connected to chloral use; and yet the doctors of the day continued blithely to insist on its safety and utility. 'How many grains'? Kreizler asked, exchanging weariness for annoyance'he was aware that administration of the drug was neither Fuller's job nor his fault. 'They began with twenty,' the attendant answered sheepishly. 'I told them, sir, I told them you were scheduled for the evaluation and that you'd be angry, but'well, you know, sir.' 'Yes,' Kreizler answered quietly, 'I know.' Which made three of us'and what we knew was that on hearing of Kreizler's slated appearance and probable objections, the Pavilion's superintendent had almost certainly doubled the dose of chloral and significantly decreased Wolff's ability to participate in the kind of assessment Kreizler liked to make, which involved many probing questions and was ideally conducted on a subject free of the effects of drugs or alcohol. Such was the general feeling among his colleagues, particularly those of the older generation, toward Kreizler. 'Well,' Laszlo announced, after pondering the question for a few moments. 'There's nothing to do'we are here, Moore, and time presses.' I thought immediately about the strange reference to 'a timetable? in Kreizler's note to Roosevelt the night before; but I said nothing as he unbolted the door and pulled at its considerable weight. 'Mr. Wolff,' Kreizler announced, 'we must talk.' For the next hour I sat through Kreizler's examination of this T H E A L I E N I S T 31

vague, disoriented man, who held as firmly as the chloral hydrate would allow to the notion that if he had truly erased most of young Louisa Rudesheimer's head with his pistol'and we assured him that he had'then he must be insane, and should of course be sent to an asylum (or at most to the facility for insane convicts at Mattewan) rather than to prison or the gallows. Kreizler took careful note of this attitude but for the moment did not discuss the case itself. Instead he ran through a long list of seemingly unconnected questions about Wolff's past, his family, friends, and childhood. The questions were deeply personal and in any normal setting would have seemed presumptuous and even offensive; and the fact that Wolff's reactions to Kreizler's inquiries were less violent than most men's was almost certainly due to his being drugged. But the absence of anger also indicated a lack of precision and forthrightness in the responses, and the interview seemed destined for a premature end. But not even Wolff's chemically induced calm could be maintained when Kreizler finally began to ask him about Louisa Rudesheimer. Had Wolff harbored any sexual feelings toward the girl? Laszlo inquired, with a bluntness not often heard in discussions of such subjects. Were there other children in his building or in his neighborhood toward whom he did harbor such feelings? Did he have a lady friend? Did he visit disorderly houses? Did he find himself sexually drawn to young boys? Why had he shot the girl and not stabbed her? Wolff was at first bewildered by all this, and appealed to the attendant, Fuller, asking whether or not he must answer. Fuller, with somewhat lascivious glee, made it plain that he must, and Wolff complied, for a time. But after half an hour of it he staggered to his feet, rattled his manacles, and swore that no man could force him to participate in such an obscene inquisition. He declared defiantly that he would rather face the hangman; at which point Kreizler stood and stared straight into Wolff's eyes. 'I fear that in New York State, the electrical chair is increasingly usurping the gallows, Mr. Wolff,' he said evenly. 'Although I suspect that, based on your answers to my questions, you will find that out for yourself. God have mercy on you, sir.' As Kreizler strode toward the door, Fuller quickly pulled it open. I took a last look at Wolff before following Laszlo out: the man's aspect had suddenly shifted from indignant to deeply fearful, but he was too weak now to do more than mumble pathetic protests as to what he was certain was his insanity and then fall back onto his cot. 32 C A L E B C A R R

Kreizler and I walked back down the Pavilion's main corridor as Fuller rebolted the door to Wolff's cell. The quiet pleas of the other patients began again, but we were soon through them. Once we were out and in the vestibule, the shouts and howls behind us gained in volume once more. 'I believe we can dismiss him, Moore,' Kreizler said, quietly and wearily, as he pulled on a pair of gloves that Cyrus handed him. 'Drugged though he may be, Wolff has revealed himself'violent, certainly, and resentful of children. A drunkard, as well. But he is not mad, nor do I think he is connected to our current business.' 'Ah,' I said, seizing the opportunity, 'now, about that'? 'They'll want him to be mad, of course,' Laszlo mused, not hearing me. 'The doctors here, the newspapers, the judges, they'd like to think that only a madman would shoot a five-year-old girl in the head. It creates certain . . . difficulties, if we are forced to accept that our society can produce sane men who commit such acts.' He sighed once and took an umbrella from Cyrus. 'Yes, that will be a long day or two in court, I should think . . .' We exited the Pavilion, myself seeking refuge with Kreizler under his umbrella, and then climbed into the now-covered calash. I knew what was coming: a monologue that was a kind of catharsis for Kreizler, a restatement of some of his most basic professional principles, designed to relieve the enormous responsibility of helping send a man to his death. Kreizler was a confirmed opponent of the practice of executing criminals, even vicious murderers such as Wolff; but he did not allow this opposition to affect his judgment or his definition of true insanity, which was, by comparison with that of many of his colleagues, relatively narrow. As Cyrus jumped into the driver's seat of the calash and the carriage pulled away from Bellevue, Kreizler's diatribe began to cover subjects I'd heard him discuss many times before: how a broad definition of insanity might make society as a whole feel better but did nothing for mental science, and only lessened the chance that the truly mentally diseased would receive proper care and treatment. It was an insistent sort of speech'Kreizler seemed to be trying to push the image of Wolff in the electrical chair further and further away'and as it wound on, I realized that there was no hope of my gaining any hard information concerning just what in hell was going on and why I'd been called into whatever it was. Glancing about at the passing buildings in some frustration, I let my eyes come to rest on Cyrus, momentarily thinking that, since he T H E A L I E N I S T 33

had to listen to this sort of thing more than anyone, I might get some sympathy out of the man. I should have known better. Like Stevie Taggert, Cyrus had had a hard life before coming to work for Laszlo and was now quite devoted to my friend. As a boy in New York Cyrus had seen his parents literally torn to pieces during the draft riots of 1863, when angry hordes of white men and women, many of them recently arrived immigrants, expressed their unwillingness to fight for the causes of the Union and slave emancipation by laying hold of any blacks they could find'including young children'and dismembering them, burning them alive, tarring them, whatever medieval tortures their Old World minds could conceive. A talented musician with a splendid bass-baritone voice, Cyrus had been taken in by a pandering uncle after his parents? death, and trained to be a 'professor,' a piano player in a brothel that proferred young black women to white men of means. But his youthful nightmare had left him rather reluctant to tolerate bigoted abuse from the house's customers. One night in 1887 he had come upon a drunken policeman taking his graft in trade, which the cop apparently thought included brutal blows from the back of his hand and taunts of 'nigger bitch.' Cyrus had calmly gone to the kitchen, fetched a large butcher knife, and dispatched the cop to that special Valhalla reserved for fallen members of the New York City Police Department. Enter Kreizler once again. Expounding a theory he called 'explosive association,' he had revealed the genesis of Cyrus's actions to the judge in the case: during the few minutes involved in the killing, Laszlo said, Cyrus had returned in his mind to the night of his parents? death, and the well of anger that had been left untapped since that incident came gushing forth and engulfed the offending policeman. Cyrus was not insane, Kreizler announced; he had responded to the situation in the only way possible for a man with his background. The judge had been impressed by Kreizler's arguments, but given the public mood he could hardly release Cyrus. Internment in the New York City Lunatic Asylum on Blackwells Island was suggested; but Kreizler stated that employment at his Institute would be far more likely to effect rehabilitation. The judge, anxious to be rid of the case, agreed. The affair didn't do anything to mitigate Kreizler's public and professional reputation as a maverick, and it certainly didn't make the average visitor to Laszlo's home anxious to be alone in the kitchen with Cyrus. But it did ensure the man's loyalty. There was no break in the pelting rain as we moved at a trot down 34 C A L E B C A R R

the Bowery, the only major street in New York that, to my knowledge, has never known the presence of a church. Saloons, concert halls, and flophouses flashed by, and when we passed Cooper Square I spotted the large electric sign and shaded windows of Biff Ellison's Paresis Hall, where Giorgio Santorelli had centered his pathetic operations. On we drove, through more tenement wastelands whose sidewalk mayhem was only slightly moderated by the rain. It was not until we had turned onto Bleecker Street and were nearing Police Headquarters that Kreizler said flatly: 'You saw the body.' 'Saw it'? I said in some annoyance, though I was relieved to finally discuss the subject. 'I still see it if I close my eyes for more than a minute. What the hell was the idea of getting my whole house up and forcing me to go down there, anyway? It's not as though I can report that kind of thing, you know that'all it did was agitate my grandmother, and that's not much of an achievement.' 'I'm sorry, John. But you needed to see just what it is we'll be dealing with.' 'I am not dealing with anything!' I protested again. 'I'm only a reporter, remember, a reporter with a gruesome story that I can't tell.' 'You do yourself no justice, Moore,' Kreizler said. 'You are a veritable cyclopedia of privileged information'though you may not realize it.' My voice rose: 'Laszlo, what in hell'? But once again, I could get no further. As we turned onto Mulberry Street I heard calling voices, and looked up to see Link Steffens and Jake Riis running toward the carriage. T H E A L I E N I S T 35

he closer the church, the nearer to God,' was how one gangland wit had put his decision to base his criminal operations within a few blocks of Police Headquarters. The statement could have been made by any one of dozens of like characters, for the northern terminus of Mulberry Street at Bleecker (headquarters was located at Number 300) marked the heart of a jungle of tenements, brothels, concert halls, saloons, and gambling houses. One group of girls who staffed a disorderly house directly across Bleecker Street from 300 Mulberry made great sport, during their few idle hours, of sitting in the house's green-shuttered windows and watching the doings at headquarters through opera glasses, then offering commentary to passing police officials. That was the sort of carnival atmosphere that surrounded the place. Or perhaps one should rather say that it was a circus, and a brutal Roman one at that'for several times a day, bleeding victims of crime or wounded perpetrators of it would be dragged into the rather nondescript, hotel-like structure that was the busy brain of New York's law enforcement arm, leaving a sticky, grim reminder of the deadly nature of the building's business on the pavement outside. Across Mulberry Street, at Number 303, was the unofficial headquarters of the police reporters: a simple stoop where I and my colleagues spent much of our time, waiting for word of a story. It was therefore not surprising that Riis and Steffens should have been awaiting my arrival. Riis's anxious manner and the gleeful grin that domi-

nated Steffens's gaunt, handsome features indicated that something particularly tasty was up. 'Well, well!' Steffens said, raising his umbrella as he jumped onto the running board of Kreizler's carriage. 'The mystery guests arrive together! Good morning, Dr. Kreizler, a pleasure to see you, sir.' 'Steffens,' Kreizler answered with a nod that was not entirely congenial. Riis came huffing up behind Steffens, his hulking Danish frame not so lithe as that of the much younger Steffens. 'Doctor,' he said, to which Kreizler only nodded. He had a positive dislike for Riis; the Dane's pioneering work in revealing the evils of tenement life'most notably through his collection of essays and pictures called How the Other Half Lives'did not change the fact that he was a strident moralist and something of a bigot, so far as Kreizler was concerned. And I have to admit, I often saw Laszlo's point. 'Moore,' Riis went on, 'Roosevelt has just thrown us out of his office, saying he is expecting the both of you for an important consultation'some very strange game is being played here, I think!' 'Don't listen to him,' Steffens said with another laugh. 'His pride's bruised. It seems that there's been another murder which, because of our friend Riis's personal beliefs, will never make the pages of the Evening Sun'we've all been riding him rather shamelessly, I'm afraid!' 'Steffens, by God, if you keep at me'? Riis balled up a healthy Scandinavian hand and waved the fist in Steffens's direction as he kept breathing hard and jogging along, trying to keep up with the stillrolling carriage. As Cyrus reined the gelding to a halt outside headquarters, Steffens jumped down. 'Come now, Jake, no threats!' he said good-naturedly. 'This is all in fun!' 'What in hell are you two talking about'? I said, as Kreizler, trying to ignore the scene, stepped from the carriage. 'Now, don't play stupid,' Steffens answered. 'You've seen the body, and so has Dr. Kreizler'we know that much. But unfortunately, since Jake chooses to deny the reality of both boy-whores and the houses in which they work, he can't report the story!' Riis huffed again, his big face getting redder. 'Steffens, I'll teach you'? 'And since we know your editors won't print such seamy stuff, John,' Steffens went on, 'I'm afraid that leaves the Post'how about it, T H E A L I E N I S T 37

Dr. Kreizler? Care to give the details to the only paper in town that'll print them'? Kreizler's mouth curled into a slight smile that was neither gentle nor amused, but somehow deprecating. 'The only, Steffens? What about the World, or the Journal'? 'Ah, I should have been more precise'the only respectable paper in town that will print them.' Kreizler only ran his eyes up and down Steffens's lanky figure. 'Respectable,' he echoed with a shake of his head, and then he was going up the stairs. 'Say what you like, Doctor,' Steffens called after him, still smiling, 'but you'll get a fairer shake from us than from Hearst or Pulitzer!' Kreizler did not acknowledge the comment. 'We understand you examined the killer this morning,' Steffens pressed. 'Would you at least talk about that'? Pausing at the door, Kreizler turned. 'The man I examined was indeed a killer. But he has nothing to do with the Santorelli boy.' 'Really? Well, you might want to let Detective Sergeant Connor know that. He's been telling us all morning that Wolff got crazed for blood by shooting the little girl and went out looking for another victim.' 'What'? Genuine alarm was in Kreizler's face. 'No'no, he mustn't'it is absolutely vital that he not do that!' Laszlo bolted inside just as Steffens made a final attempt to get him to talk. With his quarry now gone, my colleague from the Evening Post put his free hand to his hip, his smile shrinking just a bit. 'You know, John'that man's attitude doesn't win him many admirers.' 'It's not intended to,' I said, starting up the steps. Steffens grabbed my arm. 'Can't you tell us anything, John? It's not like Roosevelt to keep Jake and me out of police business'hell, we're more members of the Board of Commissioners than those fools who sit with him.' That was true: Roosevelt had often consulted both Riis and Steffens on questions of policy. Nonetheless, I could only shrug. 'If I knew anything, I'd tell you, Link. They've kept me in the dark, too.' 'But the body, Moore,' Riis chimed in. 'We have heard ungodly rumors'surely they are false!' Thinking for just a moment of the corpse on the bridge anchor, I sighed. 'However ungodly the rumors, boys, they can't begin to describe it.' With that I turned and strode up the steps. 38 C A L E B C A R R

Before I was inside the door Riis and Steffens were at it again, Steffens pelting his friend with sarcastic barbs and Riis angrily trying to shut him up. But Link was right, even if he expressed himself somewhat meanly: Riis's stubborn insistence that homosexual prostitution did not exist meant that another of the city's largest papers would never acknowledge the full details of a brutal murder. And how much more the report would have meant coming from Riis than from Steffens; for while most of Link's important work as an exponent of the Progressive movement lay in the future, Riis was long since an established voice of authority, the man whose angry declamations had caused the razing of Mulberry Bend (the very heart of New York's most notorious slum, Five Points) along with the destruction of many other pestilential pockets. Yet Jake could not bring himself to fully acknowledge the Santorelli murder; despite all the horrors he had witnessed, he could not accept the circumstances of such a crime; and as I entered the big green doors of headquarters I wondered, just as I had wondered a thousand times during staff meetings at the Times, how long many members of the press'not to mention politicians and the public'would be content to equate deliberate ignorance of evil with its nonexistence. Inside I found Kreizler standing near the caged elevator, talking heatedly with Connor, the detective who had been at the murder scene the previous night. I was about to join them when my arm was taken and I was guided toward a staircase by one of the more pleasant sights available at headquarters: Sara Howard, an old friend of mine. 'Don't get involved in that, John,' she said, with a tone of sage wisdom that often marked her statements. 'Connor is taking a lashing from your friend, and he deserves the full treatment. Besides, the president wants you upstairs'sans Dr. Kreizler.' 'Sara!' I said happily. 'I am glad to see you. I've spent a night and a morning with maniacs. I need the sound of a sane voice.' Sara's taste in dresses ran toward simple designs in shades of green that matched her eyes, and the one she wore that day, with only a minimal bustle and not much petticoat business, showed off her tall, athletic body to advantage. Her face was by no means striking but handsomely plain; it was the play of eyes and mouth, back and forth between mischievous and sad, that made it such a delight to watch her. Back in the early seventies, when I was in my teens, her family moved into a house near ours on Gramercy Park, and I'd subsequently watched her spend her single-digit years turning that decorous neighborhood into her private rumpus room. Time had not changed her T H E A L I E N I S T 39

much, except to make her as thoughtful (and occasionally brooding) as she was excitable; and following the demise of my engagement to Julia Pratt I had one night gotten more than a little drunk, decided that all women held by society to be beauties were in fact demons, and asked Sara to marry me. Her answer was to take me in a cab to the Hudson River and throw me in. 'You won't find many sane voices in this building today,' Sara said as we climbed the stairs. 'Teddy'that is, the president'isn't it strange to call him that, John'? And indeed it was; but when Roosevelt was at headquarters, which was ruled by a board of four commissioners of which he was chief, he was distinguished from the other three by the title 'president.' Very few of us guessed at the time that he would answer to an identical title in the none-too-distant future. 'Well, he's been in one of his whirlwinds over the Santorelli case. Every kind of person has been in and out'? Just then Theodore's voice came booming down from the secondstory hallway: 'And don't bother bringing your friends at Tammany into this, Kelly! Tammany is a monstrous Democrat creation, and this is a reform Republican administration'you've earned no favors here with your shoulder-hitting! I advise you to cooperate!' Deep chuckles from a pair of voices inside the staircase were the only reply to this, and the sounds were moving our way. Within seconds Sara and I were faceto-face with the foppishly dressed, cologne-drenched, enormous figure of Biff Ellison, as well as his smaller, more tastefully clad, and less aromatic criminal overseer, Paul Kelly. The days when Lower Manhattan's underworld affairs were parceled out among dozens of freewheeling street gangs had for the most part come to an end by 1896, and dealings had been taken over and consolidated by larger groups that were just as deadly but far more businesslike in their approach. The Eastmans, named for their colorful chief, Monk Eastman, controlled all territory east of the Bowery between Fourteenth Street and Chatham Square; on the West Side, the Hudson Dusters, darlings of many New York intellectuals and artists (largely because they all shared a seemingly insatiable appetite for cocaine), ran affairs south of Thirteenth Street and west of Broadway; the area above Fourteenth Street on that side of town belonged to Mallet Murphy's Gophers, a group of cellardwelling Irish creatures whose evolution even Mr. Darwin would have been hard-pressed to explain; and between these three virtual 40 C A L E B C A R R

armies, at the eye of the criminal hurricane and just blocks from Police Headquarters, were Paul Kelly and his Five Pointers, who ruled supreme between Broadway and the Bowery and from Fourteenth Street to City Hall. Kelly's gang had been named after the city's toughest neighborhood in an attempt to inspire fear, though in reality they were far less anarchic in their dealings than the classic Five Points bands of an earlier generation (the Whyos, Plug Uglies, Dead Rabbits, and the rest), remnants of which still haunted their old neighborhood like violent, disaffected ghosts. Kelly himself was reflective of this change in style: his sartorial acumen was matched by polished speech and manners. He also possessed a thorough knowledge of art and politics, his taste in the former running toward modern and in the latter toward socialism. But Kelly knew his customers, too; and tasteful was not the word to describe the New Brighton Dance Hall, the Five Pointers? headquarters on Great Jones Street. Overseen by a singular giant known as Eat'Em-Up Jack McManus, the New Brighton was a garish mass of mirrors, crystal chandeliers, brass railings, and scantily clad 'dancers,' a flash palace unequaled even in the Tenderloin, which, before Kelly's rise, had been the unquestioned center of outlaw opulence. James T. 'Biff? Ellison, on the other hand, represented the more traditional sort of New York thug. He had begun his career as a particularly unsavory saloon bouncer, and had first gained notoriety by beating and stomping a police officer nearly to death. Though he aspired to his boss's polish, on Ellison'ignorant, sexually depraved, and drug-ridden as he was'the attempt became grotesquely ostentatious. Kelly had murderous lieutenants whose doings were infamous and even daring, but none save Ellison would have dared to open Paresis Hall, one of the mere three or four saloons in New York that openly? indeed, exuberantly'catered to that segment of society which Jake Riis so assiduously refused to believe existed. 'Well, now,' Kelly said amiably, the stud in his cravat gleaming as he approached, 'it's Mr. Moore of the Times'along with one of the lovely new ladies of the Police Department.' Taking Sara's hand, Kelly lowered his chiseled, Black Irish features and kissed it. 'It certainly is more enjoyable getting summoned to headquarters these days.' His smile as he stared at Sara was well practiced and confident; none of which changed the fact that the air in the staircase had suddenly become charged with oppressive threat. T H E A L I E N I S T 41

'Mr. Kelly,' Sara answered with a brave nod, though I could see that she was quite nervous. 'A pity your charm isn't matched by the company you choose to keep.' Kelly laughed, but Ellison, who already towered over Sara and me, rose up even higher, his fleshy face and ferret's eyes darkening. 'It'd be best to watch your mouth, missy'it's a long walk from headquarters to Gramercy Park. A lot of unpleasant things could happen to a girl all alone.' 'You're a real rabbit, aren't you, Ellison'? I said, although the man could have broken me in half without much thought. 'What's the matter'run out of little boys to push around, you need to start on women'? Ellison's face went positively red. 'Why, you miserable piece of scribbling shit'sure, Gloria was trouble, a whole bundle of trouble, but I wouldn't a cooked her for it, and I'll kill any man says I'? 'Now, now, Biff.' Kelly's tone was pleasant, but his meaning was unmistakable: Knock it off. 'There's no cause for any of that.' And then to me: 'Biff had nothing to do with the boy's murder, Moore. And I don't want to see my name connected with it, either.' 'Hell of a time to think of that, Kelly,' I answered. 'I saw his body'it was worthy of Biff, all right.' In fact, not even Ellison had ever done anything so horrendous, but there was no reason to acknowledge that to them. 'He was just a boy.' Kelly chuckled as he took a few steps farther down the stairs. 'Yes, and a boy playing a dangerous game. Come on, Moore, boys like that die every day in this town'why the interest? Did he have a secret relative somewhere? A bastard kid of Morgan's or Frick's'? 'Do you think that's the only reason the case would be investigated'? Sara asked, somewhat offended'she hadn't been working at headquarters very long. 'My dear girl,' Kelly answered, 'both Mr. Moore and I know that's the only reason. But have it your way'Roosevelt is championing the benighted!' Kelly continued down the stairs, and Ellison pushed by me to follow. They paused a little farther down and then Kelly turned, his voice for the first time hinting at his occupation. 'But I warn you, Moore'I do not want to see my name connected with this.' 'Don't worry, Kelly. My editors would never run the story.' He smiled again. 'Very sensible of them, too. There are momentous things going on in the world, Moore'why waste energy on a trifle'? With that they were gone, and Sara and I collected ourselves. Kelly 42 C A L E B C A R R

may have been a new breed of gangster, but he was a gangster all the same, and our encounter had been genuinely unsettling. 'Do you know,' Sara said thoughtfully as we started upstairs again, 'that my friend Emily Cort went slumming one night specifically to meet Paul Kelly'and that she found him the most entertaining man? But then, Emily always was an empty-headed little fool.' She took hold of my arm. 'By the way, John, why in the world did you call Mr. Ellison a rabbit? He's more like an ape.' 'In the language he speaks, a rabbit is a tough customer.' 'Oh. I must remember to write that down. I want my knowledge of the criminal class to be as thorough as possible.' I could only laugh. 'Sara'with all the professions open to women these days, why do you insist on this one? Smart as you are, you could be a scientist, a doctor, even'? 'So could you, John,' she answered sharply. 'Except that you don't happen to want to. And, by way of coincidence, neither do I. Honestly, sometimes you are the most idiotic man. You know perfectly well what I want.' And so did every other friend of Sara's: to be the city's first female police officer. 'But, Sara, are you any closer to your goal? You're only a secretary, after all.' She smiled wisely, with a hint of that same tense sharpness behind the smile. 'Yes, John'but I'm in the building, aren't I? Ten years ago that would have been impossible.' I nodded with a shrug, aware that it was useless to argue with her, and then looked around the second-floor hallway in an attempt to find a familiar face. But the detectives and officers that came from and went to the various rooms were all new to me. 'Hell's bells,' I said quietly, 'I don't recognize anyone up here today.' 'Yes, it's gotten worse. We lost a dozen more last month. They'd all rather resign or retire than face investigation.' 'But Theodore can't staff the whole force with googoos.' Such being the colloquial term for new officers. 'So everyone says. But if the choice is between corruption and inexperience, you know which way he'll go.' Sara gave me a firm push in the back. 'Oh, do stop dawdling, John, he wanted you right away.' We wove through uniformed leatherheads and 'fly cops? (officers dressed in civilian clothing) until we were at the end of the hall. 'And later,' Sara added, 'you must explain to me exactly why it is that cases like this one are not usually investigated.' Then, in a flurry, she rapped T H E A L I E N I S T 43

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