The Spider Strain
The Spider sat in the usual place behind his big mahogany desk, in his invalid's chair, his fat hands spread out before him, his flabby cheeks shaking, and his little, pig-like eyes glittering in a peculiar fashion.
"Sit down!" the supercriminal commanded; and once more he spoke in a gruff voice.
John Warwick sat down, and the Spider looked at him until Warwick began to feel uncomfortable.
"Say it, jolly old sir, and get it out of your system!" Warwick suggested finally.
"There doesn't seem to be much for me to say, Warwick. I want to secure the happiness of my niece, of course. It was a great shock to me to learn that she was aware of the nature of my business. I had believed that she was ignorant of it."
"Deuce of a shock to me, too, sir," John Warwick admitted. "I had no idea that she had guessed the truth."
"Perhaps it is for the best that things have worked out in this manner," The Spider went on. "She tells me that you will not marry while you a