Part 6 out of 6
fortunate circumstance, suspected. That cigarette, my dear young
friend, stood you in very good stead. It was fortunate that I gave it
"By this time the driver of the car has, of course, recovered and told
his story," Hugh remarked.
"And by this time the police probably know that you have come to
Paris," remarked The Sparrow. "Now, Mr. Henfrey, only an hour ago I
learnt something which has altered my plans entirely. There is a
traitor somewhere--somebody has given you away."
"At present I have not decided. But we must all be wary and watchful,"
was The Sparrow's reply. "In any case, it is a happy circumstance that
you saw through the ruse of the police to get you to Cette. First the
Madrid police were put upon your track, and then, as you eluded them,
the Marseilles police were given timely information--a clever trap,"
he laughed. "I admire it. But at Marseilles they are even more shrewd
than in Paris. Maillot, the /chef de la Surete/ at Marseilles, is a
really capable official. I know him well. A year ago he dined with me
at the Palais de la Bouillabaisse. I pretended that I had been the
victim of a great theft, and he accepted my invitation. He little
dreamed that I was Il Passero, for whom he had been spreading the net
"You are really marvellous, Mr. Peters," remarked Hugh. "And I have to
thank you for the way in which you have protected me time after time.
Your organization is simply wonderful."
The man with the black glove laughed.
"Nothing really wonderful," he said. "Those who are innocent I
protect, those who are traitors I condemn. And they never escape me.
We have traitors at work now. It is for me to fix the identity. And in
this you, Mr. Henfrey, must help me. Have you heard from Miss
"No. Not a word," replied the young man. "I dare not write to her."
"No, don't. A man from Scotland Yard went to see her. So it is best to
remain apart--my dear boy--even though that unfortunate
misunderstanding concerning Louise Lambert has arisen between you."
"But I am anxious to put it right," the young fellow said. "Dorise
"Ah! I know. But at present you must allow her to think ill of you.
You must not court arrest. We now know that you have enemies who
intend you to be the victim, while they reap the profit," said The
Sparrow kindly. "Leave matters to me and act at my suggestion."
"That I certainly will," Hugh replied. "You have never yet advised me
"Ah! I am not infallible," laughed the master criminal.
Then he rose, and crossing to the telephone, he inquired for the Grand
Hotel. After a few minutes he spoke to Mademoiselle Lisette, telling
her that she need not go to Marseilles, and asking her to call upon
him again at nine o'clock that night.
"Monsieur Hugh has returned from the south," he added. "He is anxious
to see you again."
"/Tres bien, m'sieur/," answered the smart Parisienne. "I will be
there. But will you not dine with me--eh? At Vian's at seven. You know
"Mademoiselle Lisette asks us to dine with her at Vian's," The Sparrow
said, turning to Hugh.
"Yes, I shall be delighted," replied the young man.
So The Sparrow accepted the girl's invitation.
On that same morning, Dorise Ranscomb had, after breakfast, settled
herself to write some letters. Her mother had gone to Warwickshire for
the week-end, and she was alone with the maids.
The whole matter concerning Hugh puzzled her. She could not bring
herself to a decision as to his innocence or his guilt.
As she sat writing in the morning-room, the maid announced that Mr.
Shrimpton wished to see her.
She started at the name. It was the detective inspector from Scotland
Yard who had called upon her on a previous occasion.
A few moments afterwards he was shown in, a tall figure in a rough
"I really must apologize, Miss Ranscomb, for disturbing you, but I
have heard news of Mr. Henfrey. He has been in Marseilles. Have you
heard from him?"
"Not a word," the girl replied. "And, Mr. Shrimpton, I am growing very
concerned. I really can't think that he tried to kill the young
Frenchwoman. Why should he?"
"Well, because she had connived at his father's death. That seems to
"Then your theory is that it was an act of vengeance?"
"Exactly, Miss Ranscomb. That is our opinion, and a warrant being out
for his arrest both in France and in England, we are doing all we can
to get him."
"But are you certain?" asked the girl, much distressed. "After all,
though on the face of things it seems that there is a distinct motive,
I do not think that Hugh would be guilty of such a thing."
"Naturally. Forgive me for saying so, miss, but I quite appreciate
your point of view. If I were in your place I should regard the matter
in just the same light. I, however, wondered whether you had heard
news of him during the last day or two."
"No. I have heard nothing."
"And," he said, "I suppose if you did hear, you would not tell me?"
"That is my own affair, Mr. Shrimpton," she replied resentfully. "If
you desire to arrest Mr. Henfrey it is your own affair. Why do you ask
me to assist you?"
"In the interests of justice," was the inspector's reply.
"Well," said the girl, very promptly, "I tell you at once that I
refuse to assist you in your endeavour to arrest Mr. Henfrey. Whether
he is guilty or not guilty I have not yet decided."
"But he must be guilty. There was the motive. He shot the woman who
had enticed his father to his death."
"And how have you ascertained that?"
"By logical deduction."
"Then you are trying to convict Mr. Henfrey upon circumstantial
"Others have gone to the gallows on circumstantial evidence--Crippen,
for instance. There was no actual witness of his crime."
"I fear I must allow you to continue your investigations, Mr.
Shrimpton," she said coldly.
"But your lover has deceived you. He was staying down in Surrey with
the girl, Miss Lambert, as his fellow-guest."
"I know that," was Dorise's reply. "But I have since come to the
conclusion that my surmise--my jealousy if you like to call it so--is
"Ah! then you refuse to assist justice?"
"No, I do not. But knowing nothing of the circumstances I do not see
how I can assist you."
"But no doubt you know that Mr. Henfrey evaded us and went away--that
he was assisted by a man whom we know as The Sparrow."
"I do not know where he is," replied the girl with truth.
"But you know The Sparrow," said the detective. "You admitted that you
had met him when I last called here."
"I have met him," she replied.
"Where does he live?"
She smiled, recollecting that even though she had quarrelled with
Hugh, the strange old fellow had been his best friend. She remembered
how the White Cavalier had been sent by him with messages to reassure
"I refuse to give away the secrets of my friends," she responded a
"Then you prefer to shield the master criminal of Europe?"
"I have no knowledge that The Sparrow is a criminal."
"Ask the police of any city in Europe. They will tell you that they
have for years been endeavouring to capture Il Passero. Yet so
cleverly is his gang organized that never once has he been betrayed.
All his friends are so loyal to him."
"Yet you want me to betray him!"
"You are not a member of the gang of criminals, Miss Ranscomb,"
"Whether I am or not, I refuse to say a word concerning anyone who has
been of service to me," was her stubborn reply. And with that the man
from the Criminal Investigation Department had to be content.
Even then, Dorise was not quite certain whether she had misjudged the
man who loved her so well, but who was beneath a cloud. She had acted
hastily in writing that letter, she felt. Yet she had successfully
warned him of his peril, and he had been able to extricate himself
from the net spread for him.
It was evident that The Sparrow, who was her friend and Hugh's, was a
most elusive person.
She recollected the White Cavalier at the ball at Nice, and how she
had never suspected him to be the deputy of the King of the
Underworld--the man whose one hand was gloved.
Within half an hour of the departure of her visitor from Scotland
Yard, the maid announced Mr. Sherrard.
Dorise, with a frown, arose from her chair, and a few seconds later
faced the man who was her mother's intimate friend, and who daily
forced his unwelcome attentions upon her.
"Your mother told me you would be alone, Dorise," he said in his
forced manner of affected elegance. "So I just dropped in. I hope I'm
not worrying you."
"Oh! not at all," replied the girl, sealing a letter which she had
just written. "Mother has gone to Warwickshire, and I'm going out to
lunch with May Petheridge, an old schoolfellow of mine."
"Oh! Then I won't keep you," said the smug lover of Lady Ranscomb's
choice. He was one of those over-dressed fops who haunted the lounges
of the Ritz and the Carlton, and who scraped acquaintance with anybody
with a title. At tea parties he would refer to Lord This and Lady That
as intimate friends, whereas he had only been introduced to them by
some fat wife of a fatter profiteer.
Sherrard saw that Dorise's attitude was one of hostility, but with his
superior overbearing manner he pretended not to notice it.
"You were not at Lady Oundle's the night before last," he remarked,
for want of something better to say. "I went there specially to meet
"I hate Lady Oundle's dances," was the girl's reply. "Such a lot of
fearful old fogies go there."
"True, but a lot of your mother's friends are in her set."
"I know. But mother always avoids going to her dances if she possibly
can. We had a good excuse to be away, as mother was packing."
"Elise was there," he remarked.
"And you danced with her, of course. She's such a ripping dancer."
"Twice. When I found you were not there I went on to the club," he
replied, with his usual air of boredom. "When do you expect your
"Next Tuesday. I'm going down to Huntingdon to-morrow to stay with the
"Oh! by the way," he remarked suddenly. "Tubby Hall, who is just back
from Madrid, told me in the club last night that he'd seen your friend
Henfrey in a restaurant there with a pretty French girl."
"In Madrid!" echoed Dorise, for she had no idea of her lover's
whereabouts. "He must have been mistaken surely."
"No. Tubby is an old friend of Henfrey's. He says that he and the girl
seemed to be particularly good friends."
"You tell me this in order to cause me annoyance!" she exclaimed.
"Not at all. I've only told you what Tubby said."
"Did your friend speak to Mr. Henfrey?"
"I think not. But I really didn't inquire," Sherrard replied, not
failing, however, to note how puzzled she was.
Lady Ranscomb was already assuring him that the girl's affection for
the absconding Henfrey would, sooner or later, fade out. More than
once he and she had held consultation concerning the proposed
marriage, and more than once Sherrard had been on the point of
withdrawing from the contest for the young girl's heart. But her
mother was never tired of bidding him be patient, and saying that in
the end he would obtain his desire.
Sherrard, however, little dreamed how great was Dorise's love for
Hugh, and how deeply she regretted having written that hasty letter to
Yet one of Hugh's friends had met him in Madrid in company with what
was described as a pretty young French girl!
What was the secret of it all? Was Hugh really guilty of the attempt
upon the notorious Mademoiselle? If not, why did he not face the
charge like a man?
Such were her thoughts when, an hour later, her mother's car took her
out to Kensington to lunch with her old school friend who was on the
point of being married to a man who had won great distinction in the
Air Force, and whose portrait was almost daily in the papers.
Would she ever marry Hugh, she wondered, as she sat gazing blankly out
upon the London traffic. She would write to him, but, alas! she knew
neither the name under which he was going, nor his address.
And a telephone message to Mr. Peters's house had been answered to the
effect that the man whose hand was gloved was abroad, and the date of
his return uncertain.
THE SPARROW'S NEST
Mademoiselle Lisette met her two guests at Vian's small but exclusive
restaurant in the Rue Daunou, and all three had a merry meal together.
Afterwards The Sparrow smoked a good cigar and became amused at the
young girl's chatter.
She was a sprightly little person, and had effectively brought off
several highly successful coups. Before leaving his cosy flat in the
Rue des Petits Champs, The Sparrow had sat for an hour calmly
reviewing the situation in the light of what Lisette had told him and
of Hugh's exciting adventure on the Arles road.
That he had successfully escaped from a very clever trap was plain,
but who was the traitor? Who, indeed, had fired that shot which,
failing to kill Yvonne, had unbalanced her brain so that no attention
could be paid to her wandering remarks?
He had that morning been on the point of trying to get into touch with
his friend Howell, but after Lisette's disclosures, he was very glad
that he had not done so. His master-mind worked quickly. He could sum
up a situation and act almost instantly where other men would be
inclined to waver. But when The Sparrow arrived at a decision it was
unalterable. All his associates knew that too well. Some of them
called him stubborn, but they had to agree that he was invariably
right in his suspicions and conclusions.
He had debated whether he should tell Hugh what Lisette had alleged
concerning the forgery of his father's will, but had decided to keep
the matter to himself and see what further proof he could obtain.
Therefore he had forbidden the girl to tell Henfrey anything, for,
after all, it was quite likely that her statements could not be
After their coffee all three returned to the Rue des Petits Champs
where Lisette, merry and full of vivacity, joined them in a cigarette.
The Sparrow had been preoccupied and thoughtful the whole evening. But
at last, as they sat together, he said:
"We shall all three go south to-morrow--to Nice direct."
"To Nice!" exclaimed Lisette. "It is hardly safe--is it?"
"Yes. You will leave by the midday train from the Gare de Lyon--and go
to Madame Odette's in the boulevard Gambetta. I may want you. We shall
follow by the /train-de-luxe/. It is best that Mr. Henfrey is out of
Paris. The Surete will certainly be searching for him."
Then, turning to Hugh, he told him that he had better remain his guest
that night, and in the morning he would buy him another suit, hat and
"There will not be so much risk in Nice as here in Paris," he added.
"After all, we ought not to have ventured out to Vian's."
Later he sat down, and after referring to a pocket-book containing
certain entries, he scribbled four cryptic telegrams which were,
apparently, Bourse quotations, but when read by their addressees were
of quite a different character.
He went out and himself dispatched these from the office of the Grand
Hotel. He never entrusted his telegrams of instructions to others.
When he returned ten minutes later he took up /Le Soir/, and searching
it eagerly, suddenly exclaimed:
"Ah! Here it is! Manfield has been successful and got away all right
with the German countess's trinkets!"
And with a laugh he handed the paper to Lisette, who read aloud an
account of a daring robbery in one of the best hotels in Cologne--
jewels valued at a hundred thousand marks having mysteriously
disappeared. International thieves were suspected, but the Cologne
police had no clue.
"M'sieur Manfield is always extremely shrewd. He is such a real
ladies' man," laughed Lisette, using some of the /argot/ of the
"Yes. Do you recollect that American, Lindsay--with whom you had
something to do?"
"Oh, yes, I remember. I was in London and we went out to dinner
together quite a lot. Manfield was with me and we got from his
dispatch-box the papers concerning that oil well at Baku. The company
was started later on in Chicago, and only two months ago I received my
"Teddy Manfield is a very good friend," declared the man with the
gloved hand. "Birth and education always count, even in these days. To
any ex-service man I hold out my hand as the unit who saved us from
becoming a German colony. But do others? I make war upon those who
have profited by war. I have never attacked those who have remained
honest during the great struggle. In the case of dog-eat-dog I place
myself on the side of the worker and the misled patriot--not only in
Britain, but in all the countries of the Allies. If members of the
Allied Governments are profiteers what can the man-in-the-street
expect of the poor little scraping-up tradesman oppressed by taxation
and bewildered by waste? But there!" he added, "I am no politician! My
only object is to solve the mystery of who shot poor Mademoiselle
The pretty decoy of the great association of /escrocs/ smoked another
cigarette, and gazed into the young man's face. Sometimes she
shuddered when she reflected upon all she knew concerning his father's
unfortunate end, and of the cleverly concocted will by which he was to
marry Louise Lambert, and afterwards enjoy but a short career.
Fate had made Lisette what she was--a child of fortune. Her own life
would, if written, form a strange and sensational narrative. For she
had been implicated in a number of great robberies which had startled
She knew much of the truth of the Henfrey affair, and she had now
decided to assist Hugh to vanquish those whose intentions were
At last she rose and wished them /bon soir/.
"I shall leave the Gare de Lyon at eleven fifty-eight to-morrow, and
go direct to Madame Odette's in Nice," she said.
"Yes. Remain there. If I want you I will let you know," answered The
And then she descended the stairs and walked to her hotel.
Next evening Hugh and The Sparrow, both dressed quite differently,
left by the Riviera /train-de-luxe/. As The Sparrow lay that night in
the /wagon-lit/ he tried to sleep, but the roar and rattle of the
train prevented it. Therefore he calmly thought out a complete and
From one of his friends in London he had had secret warning that the
police, on the day he left Charing Cross, had descended upon Shapley
Manor and had arrested Mrs. Bond under a warrant applied for by the
French police, and he also knew that her extradition for trial in
Paris had been granted.
That there was a traitor in the camp was proved, but happily Hugh
Henfrey had escaped just in time.
For himself The Sparrow cared little. He seemed to be immune from
arrest, so cleverly did he disguise his true identity; yet now that
some person had revealed his secrets, what more likely than the
person, whoever it was, would also give him away for the sake of the
big reward which he knew was offered for his apprehension.
Before leaving Paris that evening he had dispatched a telegram, a
reply to which was handed him in the train when it stopped at Lyons
early next morning.
This decided him. He sent another telegram and then returned to where
Hugh was lying half awake. When they stopped at Marseilles, both men
were careful not to leave the train, but continued in it, arriving at
the great station of Nice in the early afternoon.
They left their bags at a small hotel just outside the station, and
taking a cab, they drove away into the old town. Afterwards they
proceeded on foot to the Rue Rossetti, where they climbed to the flat
occupied by old Giulio Cataldi.
The old fellow was out, but the elderly Italian woman who kept house
for him said she expected him back at any moment. He was due to come
off duty at the cafe where he was employed.
So Hugh and his companion waited, examining the poorly-furnished
Now The Sparrow entertained a strong suspicion that Cataldi knew more
of the tragedy at the Villa Amette than anyone else. Indeed, of late,
it had more than once crossed his mind that he might be the actual
At last the door opened and the old man entered, surprised to find
himself in the presence of the master criminal, The Sparrow, whom he
had only met once before.
He greeted his visitors rather timidly.
After a short chat The Sparrow, who had offered the old man a
cigarette from a cheap plated case much worn, began to make certain
"This is a very serious and confidential affair, Cataldi," he said. "I
want to know the absolute truth--and I must have it."
"I know it is serious, signore," replied the old man, much perturbed
by the unexpected visit of the king of the underworld, the elusive
Sparrow of whom everyone spoke in awe. "But I only know one or two
facts. I recognize Signor Henfrey."
"Ah! Then you know me!" exclaimed Hugh. "You recognized me on that
night at the Villa Amette, when you opened the door to me."
"I do, signore. I recollect everything. It is all photographed upon my
memory. Poor Mademoiselle! You questioned her--as a gentleman would--
and you demanded to know about your father's death. She prevaricated--
"Then you overheard it?" said Hugh.
"Yes, I listened. Was I not Mademoiselle's servant? On that night she
had won quite a large sum at the Rooms, and she had given me--ah! she
was always most generous--five hundred francs--twenty pounds in your
English money. And they were acceptable in these days of high prices.
I heard much. I was interested. Mademoiselle was my mistress whom I
had served faithfully."
"You wondered why this young Englishman should call upon her at that
hour?" said The Sparrow.
"I did. She never received visitors after her five o'clock tea. It was
the habit at the Villa Amette to lunch at one o'clock, English tea at
five o'clock, and dinner at eight--when the Rooms were slack save for
the tourists from seven till ten. Strange! The tourists always think
they can win while the gambling world has gone to its meals! They get
seats, it is true, but they always lose."
"Yes," replied The Sparrow. "It is a strange fact that the greatest
losses are sustained by the players when the Rooms are most empty.
Nobody has yet ever been able to account for it."
"And yet it is so," declared old Cataldi. "I have watched it day by
day. But poor Mademoiselle! What can we do to solve the mystery?"
"Were you not with Mademoiselle and Mr. Benton when you both brought
off that great coup in the Avenue Louise, in Brussels?" asked The
"Yes, signore," said the old man. "But I do not wish to speak of it
"Quite naturally. I quite appreciate it. Since Mademoiselle's--er--
accident you have, I suppose, been leading an honest life?"
"Yes. I have tried to do so. At present I am a cafe waiter."
"And you can tell me nothing further regarding the affair at the Villa
Amette?" asked The Sparrow, eyeing him narrowly.
"I regret, signore, I can tell you nothing further," replied the
staid, rather sad-looking old man; "nothing." And he sighed.
"Why?" asked the man whose tentacles were, like an octopus, upon a
hundred schemes, and as many criminal coups in Europe. He sought a
solution of the problem, but nothing appeared forthcoming.
He had strained every effort, but he could ascertain nothing.
That Cataldi knew the key to the whole problem The Sparrow felt
assured. Yet why did not the old fellow tell the truth?
At last The Sparrow rose and left, and Hugh followed him. Both were
bitterly disappointed. The old man refused to say more than that he
was ignorant of the whole affair.
Cataldi's attitude annoyed the master criminal.
For three days he remained in Nice with Hugh, at great risk of
recognition and arrest.
On the fourth day they went together in a hired car along the winding
road across the Var to Cannes.
At a big white villa a little distance outside the pretty winter town
of flowers and palms, they halted. The house, which was on the Frejus
road, was once the residence of a Russian prince.
With The Sparrow Hugh was ushered into a big, sunny room overlooking
the beautiful garden where climbing geraniums ran riot with carnations
and violets, and for some minutes they waited. From the windows spread
a wide view of the calm sapphire sea.
Then suddenly the door opened.
THE STORY OF MADEMOISELLE
Both men turned and before them they saw the plainly dressed figure of
a beautiful woman, and behind her an elderly, grey-faced man.
For a few seconds the woman stared at The Sparrow blankly. Then she
turned her gaze upon Hugh.
Her lips parted. Suddenly she gave vent to a loud cry, almost of pain,
and placing both hands to her head, gasped:
It was Yvonne Ferad. And the cry was one of recognition.
Hugh dashed forward with the doctor, for she was on the point of
collapse at recognizing them. But in a few seconds she recovered
herself, though she was deathly pale and much agitated.
"Yvonne!" exclaimed The Sparrow in a low, kindly voice. "Then you know
who we really are? Your reason has returned?"
"Yes," she answered in French. "I remember who you are. Ah! But--but
it is all so strange!" she cried wildly. "I--I--I can't think! At
last! Yes. I know. I recollect! You!" And she stared at Hugh. "You--
you are /Monsieur Henfrey/!"
"That is so, mademoiselle."
"Ah, messieurs," remarked the elderly doctor, who was standing behind
his patient. "She recognized you both--after all! The sudden shock at
seeing you has accomplished what we have failed all these months to
accomplish. It is efficacious only in some few cases. In this it is
successful. But be careful. I beg of you not to overtax poor
mademoiselle's brain with many questions. I will leave you."
And he withdrew, closing the door softly after him.
For a few minutes The Sparrow spoke to Mademoiselle of Monte Carlo
about general things.
"I have been very ill," she said in a low, tremulous voice. "I could
think of nothing since my accident, until now--and now"--and she gazed
around her with a new interest upon her handsome countenance--"and now
I remember!--but it all seems too hazy and indistinct."
"You recollect things--eh?" asked The Sparrow in a kindly voice,
placing his hand upon her shoulder and looking into her tired eyes.
"Yes. I remember. All the past is slowly returning to me. It seems
ages and ages since I last met you, Mr.--Mr. Peters," and she laughed
lightly. "Peters--that is the name?"
"It is, mademoiselle," he laughed. "And it is a happy event that, by
seeing us unexpectedly, your memory has returned. But the reason Mr.
Henfrey is here is to resume that conversation which was so suddenly
interrupted at the Villa Amette."
Mademoiselle was silent for some moments. Her face was averted, for
she was gazing out of the window to the distant sea.
"Do you wish me to reveal to Monsieur Henfrey the--the secret of his
father's death?" she asked of The Sparrow.
"Certainly. You were about to do so when--when the accident happened."
"Yes. But--but, oh!--how can I tell him the actual truth when--when,
alas! I am so guilty?" cried the woman, much distressed.
"No, no, mademoiselle," said Hugh, placing his hand tenderly upon her
shoulder. "Calm yourself. You did not kill my father. Of that I am
quite convinced. Do not distress yourself, but tell me all that you
"Mr. Peters knows something of the affair, I believe," she said
slowly. "But he never planned it. The whole plot was concocted by
Benton." Then, turning to Hugh, Mademoiselle said almost in her
natural tone, though slightly high-pitched and nervous:
"Benton, the blackguard, was your father's friend at Woodthorpe. With
a man named Howell, known also as Shaw, he prepared a will which your
father signed unconsciously, and which provided that in the event of
his death you should be cut off from almost every benefit if you did
not marry Louise Lambert, Benton's adopted daughter."
"But who is Louise actually?" asked Hugh interrupting.
"The real daughter of Benton, who has made pretence of adopting her.
Of course Louise is unaware of that fact," Yvonne replied.
Hugh was much surprised at this. But he now saw the reason why Mrs.
Bond was so solicitous of the poor girl's welfare.
"Now I happened to be in London, and on one of your father's visits to
town, Benton, his friend, introduced us. Naturally I had no knowledge
of the plot which Benton and Howell had formed, and finding your
father a very agreeable gentleman, I invited him to the furnished flat
I had taken at Queen's Gate. I went to the theatre with him on two
occasions, Benton accompanying us, and then your father returned to
the country. One day, about two months later Howell happened to be in
London, and presumably they decided that the plot was ripe for
execution, for they asked me to write to Mr. Henfrey at Woodthorpe,
and suggest that he should come to London, have an early supper with
us, and go to a big charity ball at the Albert Hall. In due course I
received a wire from Mr. Henfrey, who came to London, had supper with
me, Benton and Howell being also present, while Howell's small closed
car, which he always drove himself, was waiting outside to take us to
Then she paused and drew a long breath, as though the recollection of
that night horrified her--as indeed it did.
"After supper I rose and left the room to speak to my servant for a
moment, when, just as I re-entered, I saw Howell, who was standing
behind Mr. Henfrey's chair, suddenly bend, place his left arm around
your father's neck, and with his right hand press on the nape of the
neck just above his collar. 'Here!' your father cried out, thinking it
was a joke, 'what's the game?' But the last word was scarcely audible,
for he collapsed across the table. I stood there aghast. Howell,
suddenly noticing me, told me roughly to clear out, as I was not
wanted. I demanded to know what had happened, but I was told that it
did not concern me. My idea was that Mr. Henfrey had been drugged, for
he was still alive and apparently dazed. I afterwards heard, however,
that Howell had pressed the needle of a hypodermic syringe containing
a newly discovered and untraceable poison which he had obtained in
secret from a certain chemist in Frankfort, who makes a speciality of
"And what happened then?" asked Hugh, aghast and astounded at the
"Benton and Howell sent me out of the room. They waited for over an
hour. Then Howell went down to the car. Afterwards, when all was
clear, they half carried poor Mr. Henfrey downstairs, placed him in
the car, and drove away. Next day I heard that my guest had been found
by a constable in a doorway in Albemarle Street. The officer, who
first thought he was intoxicated, later took him to St. George's
Hospital, where he died. Afterwards a scratch was found on the palm of
his hand, and the doctors believed it had been caused by a pin
infected with some poison. The truth was, however, that his hand was
scratched in opening a bottle of champagne at supper. The doctors
never suspected the tiny puncture in the hair at the nape of the neck,
and they never discovered it."
"I knew nothing of the affair," declared The Sparrow, his face clouded
by anger. "Then Howell was the actual murderer?"
"He was," Yvonne replied. "I saw him press the needle into Mr.
Henfrey's neck, while Benton stood by, ready to seize the victim if he
resisted. Benton and Howell had agreed to kill Mr. Henfrey, compel his
son to marry Louise, and then get Hugh out of the world by one or
other of their devilish schemes. Ah!" she sighed, looking sadly before
her. "I see it all now--everything."
"Then it was arranged that after I had married Louise I should also
meet with an unexpected end?"
"Yes. One that should discredit you in the eyes of your wife and your
own friends--an end probably like your father's. A secret visit to
London, and a mysterious death," Mademoiselle replied.
She spoke quite calmly and rationally. The shock of suddenly
encountering the two persons who had been uppermost in her thoughts
before those terrible injuries to her brain had balanced it again.
Though the pains in her head were excruciating, as she explained, yet
she could now think, and she remembered all the bitterness of the
"You, M'sieur Henfrey, are the son of my dead friend. You have been
the victim of a great and dastardly conspiracy," she said. "But I ask
your forgiveness, for I assure you that when I invited your father up
from Woodthorpe I had no idea whatever of what those assassins
"Benton is already under arrest for another affair," broke in The
Sparrow quietly. "I heard so from London yesterday."
"Ah! And I hope that Howell will also be punished for his crime," the
handsome woman cried. "Though I have been a thief, a swindler, and a
decoy--ah! yes, I admit it all--I have never committed the crime of
murder. I know, messieurs," she went on--"I know that I am a social
outcast, the mysterious Mademoiselle of Monte Carlo, they call me! But
I have suffered. I have indeed in these past months paid my debt to
Society, and of you, Mr. Henfrey, I beg forgiveness."
"I forgive you, Mademoiselle," Hugh replied, grasping her slim, white
"Mademoiselle will, I hope, meet Miss Ranscomb, Mr. Henfrey's fiancee,
and tell her the whole truth," said The Sparrow.
"That I certainly will," Yvonne replied. "Now that I can think I shall
be allowed to leave this place--eh?"
"Of course. I will see after that," said the man known as Mr. Peters.
"You must return to the Villa Amette--for you are still Mademoiselle
of Monte Carlo, remember! Leave it all to me." And he laughed happily.
"But we are no nearer the solution of the mystery as to who attempted
to kill you, Mademoiselle," Hugh remarked.
"There can be but one person. Old Cataldi knows who it is," she
"Cataldi? Then why has he not told me? I questioned him closely only
the other day," said The Sparrow.
"For certain reasons," Mademoiselle replied. "He /dare/ not tell the
"Why?" asked Hugh.
"Because--well----" and she turned to The Sparrow. "You will recollect
the affair we brought off in Brussels at that house of the Belgian
baroness close to the Bois de la Cambre. A servant was shot dead.
Giulio Cataldi shot him in self-defence. But Howell knows of it."
"Well?" asked The Sparrow.
"Howell was in Monte Carlo on the night of the attempt upon me. I met
him in the Casino half an hour before I left to walk home. He no doubt
recognized Mr. Henfrey, who was also there, as the son of the man whom
he had murdered, watched him, and followed him up to my villa. He
suspected that Mr. Henfrey's object was to face me and demand an
"Do you really think so?" gasped Hugh.
"Of that I feel positive. Only Cataldi can prove it."
"Why Cataldi?" inquired Hugh.
"See him again and tell him what I have revealed to you," answered
Mademoiselle of Monte Carlo.
"Who was it who warned me against you by that letter posted in Tours?"
"It was part of Howell's scheme, no doubt. I have no idea of the
identity of the writer of any anonymous letter. But Howell, no doubt,
saw that if he rid himself of me it would be to his great advantage."
"Then Cataldi will not speak the truth because he fears Howell?"
remarked the notorious chief of Europe's underworld.
"Exactly. Now that I can think, I can piece the whole puzzle together.
It is all quite plain. Do you not recollect Howell's curious rifle
fashioned in the form of a walking-stick? When I halted to speak to
Madame Beranger on the steps of the Casino as I came out that night,
he passed me carrying that stick. Indeed, he is seldom without it. By
means of that disguised rifle I was shot!"
"But you speak of Cataldi. How can he know?"
"When I entered the house I told him quickly that I believed Howell
was following me. I ordered him to watch. This no doubt he did. He has
ever been faithful to me."
"Buy why should Howell have attempted to fix his guilt upon Mr.
Henfrey?" asked The Sparrow. "In doing so he was defeating his own
aims. If Mr. Henfrey were sent to prison he could not marry Louise
Lambert, and if he had married Louise he would have benefited Howell!
Therefore the whole plot was nullified."
"Exactly, m'sieur. Howell attempted to kill me in order to preserve
his secret, fearing that if I told Mr. Henfrey the truth he would
inform the police of the circumstances of his father's assassination.
In making the attempt he defeated his own ends--a fact which he only
realized when too late!"
The foregoing is perhaps one of the most remarkable stories of the
underworld of Europe.
Its details are set down in full in three big portfolios in the
archives of the Surete in Paris--where the present writer has had
access to them.
In that bald official narrative which is docketed under the heading
"No. 23489/263--Henfrey" there is no mention of the love affair
between Dorise Ranscomb and Hugh Henfrey of Woodthorpe.
But the true facts are that within three days of Mademoiselle's
recovery of her mental balance, old Giulio Cataldi made a sworn
statement to the police at Nice, and in consequence two gendarmes of
the Department of Seine et Oise went one night to a small hotel at
Provins, where they arrested the Englishman, Shaw, alias Howell, who
had gone there in what he thought was safe hiding.
The arrest took place at midnight, but Howell, on being cornered in
his bedroom, showed fight, and raising an automatic pistol, which he
had under his pillow, shot and wounded one of the gendarmes. Whereupon
his companion drew his revolver in self-defence and shot the
Benton, a few months later, was sentenced to forced labour for fifteen
years, while his accomplice, Molly Bond, received a sentence of ten
years. Only one case--that of jewel robbery--was, however, proved
Dorise, about six weeks after Mademoiselle Yvonne's explanation, met
her in London, and there she and Hugh became reconciled. Her jealousy
of Louise Lambert disappeared when she knew the actual truth, and she
admired her lover all the more for his generosity in promising, when
the Probate Court had set aside the false will, that he would settle a
comfortable income upon the poor innocent girl.
This, indeed, he did.
The Sparrow has never since been traced, though Scotland Yard and the
Surete have searched everywhere for him. But he is far too clever. The
writer believes he is now living in obscurity, but perfectly happy, in
a little village outside Barcelona. He loves the sunshine.
As for Hugh, he is now happily married to Dorise, and as the Probate
Court has decided that Woodthorpe and the substantial income are his,
he is enjoying all his father's wealth.
Yvonne Ferad is still Mademoiselle of Monte Carlo. She still lives on
the hill in the picturesque Villa Amette, and is still known to the
habitues of the Rooms as--Mademoiselle of Monte Carlo.
On most nights in spring she can be seen at the Rooms, and those who
know the truth tell the queer story which I have in the foregoing
pages attempted to relate.