The Master Key (1914)
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- Episode 1: "Gold Madness" Two mining prospectors. James Gallon and his partner, Wilkerson, in a temporary camp, have been searching for gold. Gallon has made a lucky strike and has tried to conceal the fact from Wilkerson, who already suspects his partner is not giving him a square deal. The partners are sitting around the campfire one evening when suddenly Wilkerson becomes thirsty. After taking innumerable drinks of water, he falls asleep. Gallon walks off some distance from the sleeper and starts drawing the plans of his great find, but every now and again he furtively turns his eyes in the direction of Wilkerson, fearing he may awaken and discover his secret. Wilkerson awakens, observes Gallon and wonders what he is doing. Quietly he crawls on his hands and knees until he can peer over Gallon's shoulder; and in his eagerness to see he accidentally touches him. Gallon discovers Wilkerson is looking at him, and starts running away, with Wilkerson in pursuit. Gallon grabs his gun, turns and fires at Wilkerson. A terrific fight follows. Gallon leaves Wilkerson apparently dead. Gallon, after hours of wandering, reaches the small mining town of Jacito. A stranger takes him to the sheriff's office. Gallon tells the sheriff he and his partner were attacked by outlaws and his partner was killed. The sheriff, accompanied by his deputy and Gallon, goes toward the saloon and calls for volunteers. A crowd soon collects. Out of the saloon comes a half drunken boy, who cries, "I'm game," jumps on a horse, and the posse are off. As they gallop up the hill, the drunken boy is thrown to the ground when his horse stumbles. The others ride on. The boy lies dazed. His horse gets upon its feet and whinnies. "Who's coming?" mutters the boy. Through the brush he distinguishes a faint form; it is a man. Could this be one of the outlaws? He wonders. He pulls his revolver. "I'm Wilkerson." replies the voice. Wilkerson confides his story to the boy and asks his help. The boy consents and the two go slowly on. At the camp, the sheriff and deputy find no one. The sheriff returns and orders Gallon's arrest. The boys bind him. Evening comes on the posse camp, leaving Gallon tied by the fire. A cowboy is left on watch. In time the watcher falls asleep. Gallon manages to sever his bonds by holding his hands over the fire. He manages to get to a horse and escape. The posse pursue him. Gallon has reached the thick brush, and when he knows he is safe he lies down and takes out the plans he had drawn, also a picture of a twelve-year-old girl, his only daughter, Ruth, and with that picture clasped tightly to his heart he falls asleep, muttering, "I'll save 'The Master Key' for Ruth." Fearing to return to the scene of his supposed crime, Gallon leaves San Francisco by ship for his home. Visions of Wilkerson appear before him. His conscience is troubled. Shortly after boarding the ship, he finds an old sea chest, which he opens. He takes out a curious Japanese idol. In the head of this he hides the plan to his mine. The captain of the vessel is a brute. Once out to sea a mutiny ensues, during which the ship catches fire. Shortly after it sinks, Gallon is washed ashore. Realizing he has nothing to indicate the location of the disaster, he engraves the approximate longitude and latitude where the ship went down on the key to the chest, known afterward as "The Master Key." Later, he is rescued and returns home, where he meets his daughter, Ruth. Five years ensue. Gallon returns to the mines, which he begins developing. He keeps a diary, and in this writes a notation to the effect that he has been seeking for the secret of his lost plans. About this time Gallon writes to a New York stock broker, named Gates, asking him for advice relative to floating "The Master Key" mines. On the day Gates receives Gallon's letter, John Dore, a young mining engineer, calls upon the former and is engaged as consulting and construction engineer for Gallon. He goes West to take up his work. Here he meets Gallon's daughter. Gallon takes his diary from his safe and writes: "This day has been a repetition of all those gone before for the past five years. I am still seeking for the secret of my lost plans. I had not yet discovered"
Episode 2: "A Ship Wreck and Wrecked Hopes" Many a man writes down on paper the things he cannot articulate. James Gallon, dreaming of two women, taciturn and silent as he was, wrote down the thoughts which he could not express in speech. His diary, well thumbed, held the history of many a lonely night, but of all these nights there was one that stood out in his mind. It was the darkness enclosing a woman on a bed. He still heard her whispered cry, "You speak of God, Tom, but I have no religion but motherhood." Before his closed eyes came the vision of a lamp lit, then almost an apparition, the face of his daughter. One life had fled, possibly appalled by the horrors of a world that reeks not of our poor humanity. Yet there was in the dead woman's arms a child grotesquely asleep, as if unawakened mother had known. "Ruth," he cried. There was no answer from in the darkness, but thus he had christened his only child. And Gallon knew he was getting old. The problem before him was no longer dim and vague, as it had been in the days of his prime, but absolutely distinct and clear. What was to become of Ruth when he died. He sternly put out of his mind the thought of his former partner, the man, was he dead? If he had not died that night in the gulch, if he were still alive, knowing the secret of "The Master Key," who could save Ruth from his vengeance? Then there rose before Gallon's mind the straight, strong, almost austere figure of his mining engineer, John Dore. Youthful, of course, but he had proved himself wholly competent in almost every task that had been given him. And as though Fate desired to give further proof of Dore's manliness, she arranges for him, shortly after this, a fearful undertaking. Ruth, while exploring the tunnels, is thrown into an ore car by a terrific explosion. This explosion sends the car on its downward flight out through the tunnel and over the trestle. She is in danger of tragic death if the car goes over the dump at the end. Dore, superintending the operations of a traveling bucket, sees her predicament. He orders the bucket swung loose by its cable and, hanging down by his legs, he swings over the girl and pulls her up to him, the car rushing on and smashing over the ore dump. But what of Gallon? Those whom we most want to forget reappear at strange times. James Gallon saw the ghost of the partner he had murdered on the crest of the hill above the mine they had discovered years ago together. Yes, Wilkerson, the partner, was alive. He had continually searched for Gallon. In some vague way Gallon had realized this, and his fears had been summarized by the words written down in the diary: "Wilkerson still alive by night. When will he come into the day? He shall never have the key that will unlock the secret to my little girl's happiness. I will trust John Dore." But it was no apparition that Gallon had seen, first on the crest of the hill and men at the window; it was really Wilkerson who, after one satisfied glance, rode swiftly away toward Valle Vista. It was midnight when he rapped at the door of the railroad station and called the sleepy agent waiting for the express. This is the telegram he sent: "Valle Vista, Cal. Jean Darnell, Astor House, New York City, N.Y: Have found Gallon at last. Address Master Key Mine to-morrow. Wilkerson." Who was Jean Darnell? Well, she had a mission of vengeance, too. Incidentally, she welcomed money. Wilkerson had to have it if he ever expected to possess her. When Ruth came to make her fight, with the help of her sweetheart, John Dore, she had two crafty persons to deal with.
Episode 3: "The Ghost Appears" Hounded by Wilkerson, Gallon is made to realize that his former partner is a real being and not an apparition. It is this knowledge which breaks the spirit of Gallon and prepares him for death. Wilkerson compels Gallon to employ him as superintendent of the mine. It is the last straw; Gallon sinks fast, and as his life is about to flicker out, his daughter, John Dore and the old cook are gathered in the death-room. Supported in Ruth's arms, Gallon writes his last will. It reads: "I leave all my property to my daughter Ruth, to come into her full possession on her eighteenth birthday. I direct her never to let go of 'The Master Key,' which will make my little girl happy. I direct that my daughter keep Harry Wilkerson as superintendent until she is eighteen. I appoint as executor or this, my last will and testament, John Dore." When Gallon dies Dore finds in the desk a sealed envelope, addressed to him, which reads: "To be opened on Ruth's eighteenth birthday, sooner if her welfare is threatened." It is hard for Dore and Ruth to appreciate all that has and is happening; much of it is a mystery to them. Vaguely they realize that Gallon had a dread of Wilkerson, that he had evidently wronged him, and that Wilkerson, in his turn, has a mission of vengeance. At the "Master Key" mine matters come to a critical point when Wilkerson, now in full charge, posts a notice to the effect that "After this day all wages in this mine will be reduced 25 per cent." The man is after money, as much of it as he can get. He also sees that Dore is a stumbling block to his schemes. Of an afternoon Dore interferes when Wilkerson knocks a miner down. It is the excuse for Wilkerson firing him as the mine engineer. Following this move, the miners decide to strike. Wilkerson's domineering manner has earned the dislike of every one of them. There is a fight in the office between Wilkerson and an old miner. The former draws a gun, and is only prevented from shooting the miner by the timely appearance of Dore. But the incident is sufficient excuse for the rough miners to seek Wilkerson's life. They secure a rope and prepare to lynch him. Because of Ruth, because he cannot see murder done even in the heat of passion, Dore goes to the defense of the cornered rat. Standing on a box, he tells the miners in a few brief words the exact situation so far as he is concerned, begs them not to risk Ruth's property. For a time the men listen, and then they seem to get out of hand. Ruth climbs onto the box beside her sweetheart and joins her own appeal with his. And this proves successful, so far as the life of Wilkerson is concerned. But the strike; it must be ended. Wilkerson realized this if he hoped to continue the mine operations and secure money, his life would be threatened at any moment so long as the strike lasted. It is a bitter draught to swallow, but Wilkerson announces to the men that the former scale of wages will be again put in force, and that John Dore will be appointed superintendent of the mine. He is ready to bide his time for revenge.
Episode 4: "Over the Divide" With his miners still hostile, Wilkerson realizes that he must get Dore out of the way, if only temporarily. Inasmuch as Dore has saved Wilkerson's life, thus preventing him from openly assaulting him, the scheming executor of Ruth Gallon's will plans to induce Dore to go to San Francisco. Accordingly he alters the books of "The Master Key" mine to make it appear that unless more capital is secured at once the mine will go into bankruptcy. Wilkerson suggests that Dore leave at once, but Ruth's protector scents another conspiracy, and arranges that Ruth, instead of himself, shall make the trip to secure more capital. Wilkerson, who plans to oust both Ruth, the rightful heir to "The Master Key" mine, and Dore, accepts Dore's counter proposition with bad grace. Making the most of the opportunity to rid himself of one of the obstacles to the success of his schemes, however, Wilkerson consents to Ruth's visiting San Francisco in Dore's place. Upon Ruth's departure Wilkerson wires Mrs. Darnell, an old flame, to introduce Ruth to a 'Frisco confidence man, Charles Drake, as the Mr. Everett with whom she is to make arrangements for securing further capital for the financing of the mine. Drake is instructed to gain control of the deeds which Ruth takes to San Francisco with her. Ruth, all unsuspecting of the net into which she is being drawn, is introduced to Drake, and entrusts him with the sending of a telegram to Dore, telling the young mine superintendent of her safe arrival in San Francisco. Drake sends the telegram after making himself acquainted with its contents. Dore, back at his mine, receives Ruth's telegram at the same time he is handed another puzzling wire from the real Mr. Everett, which reads: "Miss Gallon has not arrived; what is the trouble?" Upon comparing Ruth's telegram, which assures him that she has "met Mr. Everett at depot," Dore instantly realizes that something is amiss, and decides to leave for San Francisco at once to straighten out the matter. Hearing of Dore's plan to leave, Wilkerson resolves to prevent his departure at all costs. For several hours he considers several plans, and finally decides upon one which he hopes will rid him for all time of the young mining engineer. During the night he withdraws a pin from the brake on the rear wheel of the motor truck which Dore will use next day in making the journey from the mine to the railroad station. A half hour before Dore leaves Wilkerson rides ahead and fires the bridge at the foot of a steep decline down which Dore's truck must come. The bridge is hidden by a bend in the road, and the driver of Dore's truck fails to see the steadily mounting flames until he is halfway down the side of the steep hill. He at once applies the brakes to the truck, but the pin which Wilkerson has removed prevents the brakes from working, and the car soon attains a terrific momentum. Bounding from side to side of the narrow mountain roadway, the driver of the machine has great difficulty from preventing the truck from leaping the trail. Realizing that death awaits him when the truck strikes the blazing timbers of the bridge, the driver jumps for his life into a ditch alongside the road. Dore, anticipating the driver's desertion, springs to the steering wheel of the truck just in time to prevent it from overturning. He applies the brakes frantically in an attempt to control the runaway car, but with no success. With the flames of the bridge already beating in his face, Dore jumps at the last moment from the car, rolls down the hillside, and hangs unconscious over the edge of the canyon, into which the massive motor truck plunges through the rotten timbers of the blazing plank bridge. The heat from the burning structure and the crackling of flames in nearby bushes and mountain grass brings Dore to semi-consciousness and a realization of his danger. Painfully crawling away from the canyon's edge to a bare rock where the flames cannot reach him, he again falls unconscious from his injuries. Wilkerson, meanwhile, has reached the station, and catches the local for San Francisco, believing that Dore has plunged into the depth of the canyon.
Episode 5: "The Lost Vein" At the conclusion of the fourth episode Dore barely saved himself from plunging through a blazing bridge into the depths of the canyon. The introduction of the fifth episode of the serial shows Tom Kane cook of "The Master Key" mine, coming to the rescue of Dore as he lies half-conscious on the brink of the precipice. Wilkerson, who set fire to the bridge, meanwhile, is on his way toward San Francisco. En route he sends a telegram to Drake and the latter meets him at the station. Mrs. Darnell, Drake and Ruth are registered at the Manx Hotel, the adventuress and confidence man passing off the pretty young woman as their daughter. Upon arriving at the hotel Drake, Wilkerson and Mrs. Darnell discuss their plan to secure control of "The Master Key" mine. Ruth, secreted in her room, overhears the conversation and learns for the first time that she has been trapped by her dead father's enemies. In order to prevent the conspirators from securing the deeds to "The Master Key" mine, Ruth locks them in a dresser drawer and puts the key in her grip. The conspirators enter Ruth's room soon afterward and, realizing that she has been listening, seize her. In the struggle Ruth faints and the conspirators decide to get her out of the hotel at once. They 'phone for a taxi, bundle Ruth up and rush her downstairs through the lobby of the hotel to the taxi only stopping long enough to pay their bill. The hotel clerk and house detective think the hurried departure strange, and try to stop Drake and Mrs. Darnell. Failing in this they give chase in another taxicab. The pursuit brings them to Chinatown, where they arrive in time to see Wilkerson force Ruth into an opium den owned by Sing Wah, a former opium smuggler. Dore meanwhile arrives in San Francisco, and goes to the Manx Hotel. The only suite vacant is that just given up by the conspirators. Dore unpacks his personal effects in the room from which Ruth has just been hurried away. One of the dresser drawers is locked and Dore sends for a key. The drawer is opened and, to his surprise, the young mining engineer finds deeds to "The Master Key" mine within.
Episode 6: "Wilkerson Strikes" Dore learns from the hotel authorities of the mysterious disappearance of Mrs. Darnell and her companions. Aided by the hotel detective they find the taxi driver who drove the party and direct him to take them to the place where he drove the others. An immediate search of Chinatown is begun. By accident Dore sees Drake enter a Chinese shop. Meanwhile, Mrs. Darnell and Wilkerson have discovered that the deeds to the mine are not in Ruth's grip, as they supposed. Believing that Ruth has them they send Drake to win her confidence and thus secure them. When he enters the shop Dore, the detective and the taxi driver follow. They see him disappear through a panel door and hurry out for police assistance. In the interim, Sing Wah, the Chinese, has decided to hold Ruth for his own purpose. When Drake comes for her, he escapes from the cylindrical trap room and takes her down to the bay, with the intention of carrying her to a safe hiding place. Dore and the detective with police assistance return quickly, and a general raid on the opium den is made. Drake evades the police. He does not meet Dore but escapes and returns to the lodging house, where he reports his failure to secure the papers. Dore and the detective are trapped in the cylindrical room by a Chinese woman who had previously guarded Ruth. Dore is slightly injured, and in the excitement of the moment the woman pulls a trap and drops the mining engineer and the detective into the water underneath the den. They swim to a rowboat and thus pass through the underground canal into the bay. They come upon Sing Wah with Ruth and an exciting chase follows, ending with the rescue of Ruth.
Episode 7: "The Battle in the Dark" Dore secures a room for Ruth in the same hotel where he is stopping in San Francisco and borrows some clothing for her, pending a trip to the shopping district. In order to take her mind off her experience, Dore takes Ruth on a trip to Cliff House. The trip and accompanying dinner take the greater part of the evening and upon her return Ruth goes down the hall into her room. Dore is inserting the key into the lock of his room down the hall when he hears Ruth scream. Running into her room he sees a figure crawling out on the fire escape. In their absence Wilkerson, by bribes and threats of exposure, has engaged Sam Pell, an ex-second story man and hotel worker, to make a further attempt to recover the deeds of "The Master Key" mine. Pell, by following Dore and Ruth, has learned their room number. He had about completed his night's work when Ruth and Dore returned and interrupted him. Dore fiercely pursued the second-story worker across the roof of the hotel, cornering him behind the great chimneys. Ruth, following closely after, witnesses the struggle between the two men. Pell has about overcome Dore when another figure crawls up the fire escape. It is Tom Kane, who has returned to San Francisco to report to Dore the distress among the miners of "The Master Key" workings. Tom immediately turns the tide of battle by drawing a gun on Pell. The slippery second-story man, however, eludes both Dore and Kane. Just as he reaches the edge of the roof, Dore again catches him and throws him so heavily that the criminal falls over the roof to the street below and is killed. Unnoticed by Dore, Kane or Ruth, Pell had skillfully thrown the deeds down the inner "well" of the hotel. Upon the arrival of hotel employees and the police, Pell's body is searched but no trace of the deeds is obtained. The police recognize Pell as an old criminal, and Dore's story is accepted without question. After a short investigation the police permit Dore and Ruth to leave. Kane assures Ruth that things are "going along fine" at the mine but secretly admits to Dore that the men are out of work and that there is extreme suffering among them. Wilkerson's man, Tubbs, has discharged Kane and taken things at the mine into his own hands. Dore at once realizes that something must be done to prevent Wilkerson from ruining the property through his hirelings.
Episode 8: "The Struggle on the Roof" As a matter of form, John Dore is arrested for the death of Pell. Everett goes with him to arrange for his release on bail. Ruth is left in the care of Tom Kane. Kane tells her that the miners are out of work and threatened with starvation. Ruth listens sympathetically as Kane tells her how he opened the cook house to the wives of the miners and supplied them with food. She is pleased to learn that when the engineer interfered he was only saved from being mobbed by Kane, although Kane could not stop the miners from running the engineer out of camp. These events, Kane explains, made him resolve to go to John and Ruth to obtain their assistance in raising funds to help the starving people. Wilkerson and Mrs. Darnell learn of the death of Pell and decide to forge a note, supposedly from Dore, asking Ruth to visit him at the jail. Drake, disguised as a chauffeur, takes the note and after getting Ruth in the cab is to take her to a deserted part of town, where Wilkerson will meet him and thus secure the deeds. Ruth shows the note to Kane. The old miner is suspicious and when she leaves he accompanies her. When the cab stops, Wilkerson appears and threatens Ruth, but Kane defeats their purpose and has Drake arrested for attempted abduction. Wilkerson escapes. In the meantime, an ashman cleaning in the alley at the rear of the hotel, finds the deeds and takes them home. He advertises his find, and Wilkerson, seeing the "ad," compels the maid to disguise and go for the papers. The ashman is suspicious at first, but after she offers him a sum of money, he forgets his scruples and delivers them to her. Dore is released on bail and coming to the hotel finds Ruth has gone. The clerk informs him of her departure and shows Dore the note she had received. He is immediately suspicious. While he is deciding on a plan of action, Ruth and Kane come in and tell of their experiences. Everett is nearby reading the papers, when he suddenly shows them the ashman's advertisement. All go to the address mentioned in the advertisement, but find that Wilkerson's emissary has forestalled them. Ruth breaks down and the doctor advises them to take her to the southern part of the state for a change of climate. Wilkerson, Mrs. Darnell and the maid have all disguised themselves and secured tickets to Los Angeles via boat. They get aboard safely and find that Dore. Ruth and their party are on the same boat. Ruth's party, however, do not recognize Wilkerson and Mrs. Darnell on account of their disguises.
Episode 9: "Arrested for Murder" John Dore, Tom Kane and Ruth Gallon arrives in Los Angeles from San Francisco and go to the Beverly Hills Hotel for a few days' rest. Harry Wilkerson and Mrs. Darnell also arrive in the city and discover that the deeds to the Master Key Mine, which they secured from the ashman in San Francisco, are worthless to them because no conveyance of the property has been made out. Wilkerson forgets this and they then take steps to seize the mine. Wilkerson wires Drake in San Francisco to go to Silent Valley and represent him there until further notice. He also sends word to the engineer at the mine that Dore is no longer in the company's employ and to recognize the authority of Drake until he can reach the property. At the Beverley Hills Hotel, Ruth meets a young Englishman, heir to a title, who is somewhat of a fortune seeker. He is a new type to her and his breeding and sartorial good taste makes an impression on the young girl. She is not infatuated although John Dore is led to believe that she is, and as a consequence a slight coldness arises between them which neither can explain to the other. Everett follows them from San Francisco to continue his work of raising money to develop the mine, but shows them that he can do nothing unless they secure the deeds of ownership. They, therefore, begin tracking Wilkerson and Mrs. Darnell. With a few hundred dollars, which Everett has loaned Dore, the latter repays his debt to Tom Kane and sends him to Silent Valley to care for the starving miners. Kane finds the mine in the possession of Drake. Kane wires Dore, who leaves at once for Los Angeles with Ruth, arriving at the mine the next day. An open war follows, Wilkerson hurrying to the scene of action on hearing from Drake that trouble is brewing. Without any trouble Dore drives off the intruders and prepares for further attacks. Wilkerson returns with a band of Mexicans from the southern part of the state and opens on Dore and his followers. Many miners and Mexicans are killed in the battle which rages all over the property. Ruth has a narrow escape but is again saved by Dore. In a hand-to-hand fight Wilkerson is thrown from a high trestle down the side of an ore dump. Dore fears that he has killed Wilkerson but in the gathering darkness cannot make sure.
Episode 10: "The Fight for the Mine" At the end of Episode Nine of this serial it will be remembered that John Dore throws Wilkerson from a high trestle to the foot of an ore dump near the mine. Wilkerson, although fearfully bruised, revives and drags himself to a spot where he is found by his Mexican hirelings. The Governor of the State, upon the request of the local sheriff, sends a troop of state cavalry to quell the disturbance at the mine. The captain of the company sends for the two leaders and demands an explanation. Both claim ownership of the mine, Dore on behalf of Ruth and Wilkerson for himself. The officer places the camp under martial law and gives the opposing leaders the liberty of the village. Dore accuses Wilkerson of abduction and forgery, but the captain and the sheriff are officially powerless to make an arrest. Dore thereupon sends Tom Kane to the nearest county seat to swear out a warrant for Wilkerson's arrest. Dore lives meanwhile at his own house and Ruth in her old home where she is chaperoned by one of the miner's wives. Wilkerson bunks in one of the miner's cabins. Dore thinks the situation is serious enough to warrant his opening a letter left in his care by Tom Gallon which was to be opened on Ruth's eighteenth birthday or prior to that date should her welfare be threatened. Dore opens the letter which reads as follows: "Silent Valley, Cal., June 20, 1914. Little Girl, read carefully what I now write. On this depends your future welfare. The Master Key mine discovered by me five years ago contains a mother lode of inestimable worth. The exact location of the lode is written on a slip of paper which I placed in the head of an Indian idol, hidden in an old sea chest which sank on the ship on which I was wrecked. On the Master Key, the key to that chest which you wear on your neck, is carved the latitude and longitude where the vessel went down. Find that slip of paper and wealth is yours. Your devoted daddy, JOHN GALLON." In opening the letter with a paper knife, Dore accidentally cuts the letter into two parts. He pieces it together in reading it but in putting the letter into his pocket a part containing the last paragraph drops on the floor. One of Wilkerson's henchmen, who has been instructed to shadow Dore, sees this through the window and when Dore goes out, enters the house and picks up the paper. The Mexican hurries with this part of the letter to Wilkerson and the latter, who always realized that the mine was not located correctly, is elated at the discovery. His next move is to get the key from Ruth. Dore starts to read the letter to Ruth and discovers that half of it is gone. Although he makes a careful search he fails to find it. Dore tells Ruth what the letter contained and copies from the key she wears the numerals so crudely carved by her father five years before and which always have been a puzzle to her. That night the "greaser" steals the key from Ruth's neck and takes it to Wilkerson. Wilkerson leaves camp at once but is pursued to the mine entrance and its caverns by Dore's men. Eluding his pursuers he escapes through the caverns of the mine through a secret opening at the back of the cliff. With a rope he drops over the ledge and lowers himself downward. The soldiers seize the rope and are about to haul Wilkerson up when he drops, lands unscathed in a bush and hurries away. Jumping a freight, he lands in San Diego, secures the services of a diver, wires Mrs. Darnell to join him and then sets out for the sunken ship. Dore, meanwhile, leaves for San Pedro with Ruth, leaving word for Kane to remain in charge of affairs at the mine. At the port of Los Angeles, Dore secures a boat and diver with a hoisting apparatus. Dore and Wilkerson approach the latitude and longitude indicated on "The Master Key" at about the same time. Wilkerson's diver is already down on the sea bottom when Dore's diver puts on his harness and sinks into the waves. Wilkerson's party attempts to prevent the diver from going to work, but Dore and his men hold them back with their rifles and revolvers. Wilkerson's diver finds the chest and it is hauled upward just as Dore's diver crawls along the sea bottom toward him.
Episode 11: "The Secret of the Chest" It will be remembered that Wilkerson and Dore are both striving to recover the secret to the rich lode of ore in the mine, which secret is contained in a sea-chest, which Wilkerson has recovered from the depths of the Pacific Ocean. Wilkerson's ship continues toward land, and he at once forces the chest open and makes a search for the paper, from which he hopes to learn the secret of "The Master Key"' mine. He fails to find any such slip, but does find the Indian idol, which he casts aside with the other contents as being worthless. Meantime, Dore's boat, which has been pursuing Wilkerson's vessel, reaches shore. Mrs. Darnell upbraids Wilkerson for his seeming stupidity, and another quarrel between them ensues. Members of the crew examine the seemingly worthless contents of the chest, and one of the sailors appropriates the idol among other articles, with a view to selling them in port. Upon arriving in San Diego, Mrs. Darnell goes to a hotel, while Wilkerson remains to pay off the captain and crew. Dore's boat puts into dock, and with the captain and Ruth, he hastens to find Wilkerson and the mysterious idol. In the interim, the sailor, with his idol, goes ashore and seeks out a pawnshop where he may sell his treasures. On the arrival of Dore and Ruth at Wilkerson's boat another altercation ensues between the two enemies, the respective sea captains interfering. Wilkerson gives Dore the laugh, but the latter at once realizes that Harry Wilkerson has not found the papers. Wilkerson goes into town to cash a check with which to pay off the captain. Dore thereupon questions the latter regarding the idol and is referred to members of the crew. He learns that one of the sailors had taken some of the articles in the chest, and search is at once continued. Wilkerson returns to the ship with the cash, and from the captain learns of Dore's inquiry. Thus Wilkerson realizes that he has missed the clue to his search. He goes ashore to shadow Dore. A Hindu peddler visits the pawnshop to sell his wares, consisting of a few Oriental rugs. In the shop he sees the idol, recognizes it and hastens to his squalid quarters, where he holds it close to him in a pathetic manner. As he gazes at the little image it seems to dissolve from view, and a series of pictures of the past appears. The Hindu sees himself as a watcher in a temple. A sailor enters the sacred confines and watches him roam about. He sees him standing before a sacred shrine. The Hindu turns from the visitor and takes up his religious duties where he had left off when he first saw the visitor. Later he notices that the sailor is gone, and, on walking to the shrine, in the performance of a sacred rite, he finds that one of the idols is gone. He immediately commences a search for it and, recalling the incident of the sailor, he runs forth and gives an alarm. He is severely censured by the high priest and is sent forth to find the idol. He visits the wharves and when boarding one of the ships he peers through a porthole and in a cabin sees the sailor gloating over the idol. He moves nearer and the sailor, seeing him, thrusts the idol into his chest and closes the lid. Other sailors come along the dock and question the Hindu. The first sailor comes from his cabin and joins the party. Realizing that the Hindu is searching for the idol, the sailor tells his comrades to throw him overboard. The Hindu is thereupon seized and thrown into the water. He swims ashore and, on being unable to board the ship again, is forced to watch her as she sails away. He returns to the temple and is told that he is banished until he returns with the sacred image. He returns to the wharves and boards another vessel. The Hindu's vision then closes and Ruth and Dore are seen to enter the pawnshop with Wilkerson following close behind, although they are unaware of it. Ruth and Dore question the shopkeeper closely, but the latter evades their queries.
Episode 12: "The Quest for the Idol" It will be remembered that in the eleventh episode of "The Master Key" that a Hindu peddler, visiting a pawnshop to sell his wares, consisting of a few Oriental rugs, sees the idol, recognizes it as one which was stolen from him in India years before, and immediately purchases it. The idol has a long history, of which Dore and Ruth know nothing. Upon tracing it to the pawnshop, however, they learn that the Hindu has forestalled them, and that the idol is gone. Wilkerson, also searching for the valuable little idol, which he has permitted to slip through his fingers, trails Ruth and Dore. The pawnbroker tells Ruth and Dore of the strange Hindu to whom he sold it. Dore decides that the oriental is likely to return to India with it, and through the captain of the steamer he traces the Hindu to a ship bound for the Orient. Everett again assists them with money for the voyage. Sir Donald Faversham, learning that Ruth is in Los Angeles, calls on her to renew their friendship, and, learning that they are going to the Orient, he offers his services, he having been previously stationed in India as a British officer. In passing through the streets Ruth's sympathy is aroused in the interest of a poor beggar who is being tormented by the natives, and she goes to his rescue. Later this native proves his gratitude to her. A former servant of Sir Donald is engaged to assist them, and in the guise of natives they visit the temple, after having found where the sacred image has been hidden. In attempting to steal it Dore is captured. Sir Donald returns to Ruth with the news. She begs him to assist Dore to escape, and the Englishman offers to do so on condition that Ruth will promise to marry him if he succeeds. Torn between conflicting emotions, Ruth forces herself to accept the proposition. Sir Donald thereupon secures the services of other former troopers, and with his old servant he rescues Dore after a desperate struggle, in which Hindus and soldiers take part.
Episode 13: "A Queer Alliance" Episode Thirteen opens with the same balcony scene which closed Episode Twelve. Ruth and Sir Donald are seen together. Sir Donald makes it plain that he feels much satisfaction at having rescued Dore and forces things to a point where Ruth must live up to her promise to marry him. Dore sees the exchange of glances between Sir Donald and Ruth and is much perplexed. Meanwhile there is much confusion in the temple. The high priest, angered at the desecration of the Temple by Sir Donald's Hindus, calls for vengeance. They start out to make a tour of the European hotels in their efforts to find Dore and Sir Donald. Ruth is bathing Dora's wound and Sir Donald is outside smoking when the Hindus come up the street. Wilkerson and Drake see the mob approaching the square yelling excitedly. The native police are quite unable to quiet the mob. Sir Donald is warned by a Hindu servant of his danger. He goes into the room where Ruth is attending to Dore and seizes her by the wrist. Ruth breaks from him and flees with Dore, who straps on his revolver. The mob arrives as they descend and bombards the hotel with stones. The porter of the hotel, fearing the vengeance of the high priests, opens the gates and permits the mob to enter. Meanwhile Dore, Ruth and Sir Donald, guided by a servant, dart into a side passage, which leads into a walled court. Ruth recognizes among the crowd of beggars in the courtyard the one she befriended some time previously. While the mob is besieging the front gates the beggar tells Ruth to get into a basket nearby. The beggar then closes the lid and opens a door leading down into a cellar. Dore and Sir Donald follow into the cellar and the beggar closes the door upon them. The mob then surges into the court. The beggar leads them into a blind passage. Meanwhile he hurries Ruth, Dore and Sir Donald into vegetable carts and covers them with rugs. Other beggars then run off with the two-wheeled carts through another passage just as the mob, seeing that they have been tricked, runs back into the court. The mob searches the cellar thoroughly but fails to find the Europeans. Ruth, Dore and Sir Donald are meanwhile wheeled off in safety while the police scatter the mob. His vengeance frustrated, the high priest decides to send the idol to a distant temple for safe keeping. The idol is wrapped up and the high priest with his acolytes engage eight donkeys and start inland with the precious idol. Ruth, Dore and Sir Donald are well taken care of by the beggars meanwhile. Through the English papers Wilkerson, Mrs. Darnell and Drake learn of the riot among the natives in Calcutta and of the attempted stealing of an idol. Drake suggests bribing their guide to find out where the idol is being taken by the priests of the temple. The scheme works and the bribed guide returns with the information regarding the destination of the priests and the idol. Wilkerson follows the high priests, with the Hindu for a guide, and engages a number of English sailors and roustabouts to waylay the party and to secure the idol. They surround the camp of the priests. The sailors and roughs kill all the priests in a hand to band fight. When they have finished Wilkerson and Drake search the mule packs. The idol is soon found. When the eye of the idol is removed the plan of "The Master Key" mine is seen to be within. Wilkerson withdraws and examines them carefully. He then secretes the plans in his bosom. The last scene of the episode shows Ruth snuggled closely against Dore waiting for the dawn to come. Ruth is uneasy, although she does not know why, and seems to sense that something has gone wrong.
Episode 14: "The God Takes All" After spending the night in the camp of the beggars, Ruth, Dore and Sir Donald are given a hearty breakfast. Wilkerson has, meanwhile, decided to keep the idol and he and Drake, with their men, continue on their way back to the city. In the hills they become lost and take refuge in a deserted hut. The lone priest, who escaped from Wilkerson and his men, come upon a band of wandering hillmen and relate to them the story of the stealing of the idol and the murder of his comrades. The hillmen start out to avenge the deed. Dore places Ruth in the care of the American Consul, where Sir Donald also remains, while he goes into the hills to endeavor to find the elusive idol. Aided by his faithful Indian friends, he arrives in the hills where he is seen by the aroused Hindus. They pursue him to the deserted hut, where he comes unexpectedly upon Wilkerson. It is a case of race against race, and thus the two enemies are forced to bury the hatchet for the time being and fight side by side to save their lives. The hillmen are driven off, and Dore returns to the hut with Wilkerson and Drake. Ruth has been entertained at the consulate during Dore's absence, a small reception and dance being given. She meets a young American naval officer who later proves a connecting human link in her life of many experiences. After the guests have departed and she goes to the balcony overlooking the market square below her, she has a vision of Dore in trouble and her woman's intuition tells her he needs help, and at once.
Episode 15: "Fate Unlocks the Doors" Ruth, feeling more forcibly the danger that John Dore is in, hastens into the house to prepare to go with him. She is met by the Consul's wife, who tries to persuade her to do nothing so rash, but neither her words nor those of the consul are of any avail. While he is dressing to go out with her, the girl slips from the house and makes her way to the walled court where her beggar friends spends his nights. She arouses him and with his guidance hurries to the waterfront in hopes of finding the young naval officer she met at the dance. The hillmen have, meantime, renewed their attack upon Wilkerson and Dore, and the former, realizing that he will lose his life unless he can escape from the hut, leaves Dore bound to the chair to which he has tied him shortly after their return to the hut. Dore's remaining followers are set upon by Wilkerson's ruffians, the Hindu servant alone getting away. Ruth arouses the naval officer who comes to her aid with a squad of his marines. The British frontier troops have also been aroused by the continued firing and hasten to quell the disturbance. The Hindu servant meets Ruth and the officer on the road and guides them to the cabin, which has been set on fire by the hillmen. Wilkerson and Drake make a getaway and Dore is rescued by Ruth and her new friends. On their return to the city Dore learns that Wilkerson, Mrs. Darnell and Drake have sailed for America, carrying with them the secret to the mine. He cables Tom Kane at Silent Valley to arrest them on their arrival. This is done, and when Dore, Ruth and Sir Donald get back a consultation is held. It is decided not to prosecute Wilkerson and his allies in return for their giving up the plan to the mine. Wilkerson complies, but substitutes a false set of drawings. Dore, with Everett back of him, continues operations. Wilkerson proceeds to seek for the hidden gold at the spot near the original diggings. In a premature explosion he is killed. Dore finds on his body the real plans. Drake and Mrs. Darnell are apprehended for their part in this trickery. Sir Donald releases Ruth from her promise to marry him, and the story closes with a happy meeting between John and Ruth. END