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THE RASCON REPORTS We found The Ship Café, which Brooks had already investigated, on a river-front street in the outskirts of the Greenwich Village section of the city. "The Ship" was a disreputable-looking frame building, a tavern of several generations ago, once historically famous, but now, like a decayed man about town, relegated to the company of those whom formerly he would have scorned

. Not many months ago it had been a saloon. Now a big s

ign declared that only soft drinks were sold in it. Even that change did not seem to have done much for the respectability of the place. The neighborhood was still quite as tough and squalid and "The Ship," itself, with a coat of paint, had not become even a whited sepulcher. Kennedy, Brooks, and myself entered and passed into a typical, low-ceilinged back room of the old days. There at a numbe

r of greasy, dirty round tables sat a miscellaneous collec

tion of river-rats, some talking and smoking ill-favored pipes, others [154] reading newspapers. I felt sure that they were drinking something other than soft drinks, and wondered whence the stuff had come. Had it been smuggled in on vessels from the near-by wharves? We sat down and for some moments Brooks and I did most of the talking, being careful to cover ourselves and pose neither as detec

tives nor even as newspaper men, lest the slightest slip m