Part 3 out of 5
and shades of life in the City, never saw Rayner in any of his own
purlieus. Accordingly, he came to the conclusion that Rayner's business,
whatever it was, did not take him to the City. Nevertheless, it was
certain, in Appleyard's opinion, that he was in business, and paid
scrupulous attention to his daily duties.
Over the edge of his newspaper he watched Rayner and Miss Slade meet,
exchange a word or two, and retire to a corner of an inner lounge in
which they often sat talking together. He had often seen them talking
together, and it had struck him that they seemed to talk with more than
ordinary confidence. The hunchback was on terms of easy familiarity with
everybody in the house, and he had a remarkable range of topics. He could
talk sport, books, finance, politics, art, science, history,
theology--the variety of his conversation was astonishing. But Appleyard
had begun to notice that he rarely talked to any single person with the
exception of Miss Slade--he would join a group in smoking-room or
drawing-room and enter gaily into whatever was being discussed, but he
seemed to have no desire to hold a _tete-a-tete_ talk with any one except
this young woman, who was now as much an object of mystery and
speculation to Appleyard as he himself was. They were often seen talking
together in quiet corners--and some of the old maids and eligible widows
were already saying that Miss Slade was setting her cap at Mr. Rayner's
evident deep purse.
Ambler Appleyard went to bed that night wondering greatly about two
matters--first, why Miss Slade was Miss Slade in Bayswater and Mrs.
Marlow at Fullaway's office; second, if Miss Slade or Mrs. Marlow,
whichever she really was, had any secrets with the mysterious Mr.
Rayner. From that he got to wondering who Rayner really was, and what
his business was. And this process of speculation began again next
morning, and continued all the way to the Gresham Street warehouse,
and by the time he had arrived there he had half-determined to find
out more about Miss Slade than was known to him up to then--and also,
since he appeared to be such great friends with Miss Slade, about Mr.
"But how?" he mused as he ran up the steps to the warehouse. "I'm not a
private detective, and I don't propose to employ one. If I knew some
Just then he caught sight of Gaffney, who sat on a bale of goods within
the warehouse door, holding a note in his hand. He stood up with a grin
of friendly recognition when he saw Appleyard.
"Morning, sir," he said. "Letter from Mr. Allerdyke for you. No answer,
but I was to wait till you'd read it."
Appleyard opened the note there and then. It was a mere hurried scrawl,
saying that Allerdyke was just setting off for Hull, in obedience to a
call from the police; as Gaffney had nothing to do, would Appleyard make
use of him during Allerdyke's absence?
Appleyard bade Gaffney wait a while, went into his office, ran through
his correspondence, gave the morning's orders out to the warehouseman,
and called the chauffeur inside.
"Gaffney," he said as he carefully closed the door on them, "you're a
Londoner, aren't you?"
Gaffney smiled widely.
"Ought to be, Mr. Appleyard," he answered. "I was born within sound of
Bow Bells, anyhow. Off Aldersgate Street, sir. Yes, I'm a Cockney,
"Then you know London well, of course," suggested Appleyard.
"Never went out of it much, sir, till I went down to Bradford to this
present job," replied Gaffney. "I shouldn't have left it if Mr. Allerdyke
hadn't given me extra good wages and a real good place."
Appleyard tossed Allerdyke's note across his desk.
"You see what Mr. Allerdyke says," he remarked. "Wants me to find you
something to do while he's off. How long is he likely to be off?"
"He said he might be back to-morrow night, sir," answered Gaffney,
glancing at the note. "But possibly not till the day after to-morrow."
"Well, I don't know that there's anything you can do here," said
Appleyard. "We're not particularly busy, and we've a full staff. But," he
continued, with a sharp glance at the chauffeur, "there's something you
can do for me, privately, to-morrow morning--a quite private matter--a
matter entirely between ourselves. I'll account to Mr. Allerdyke for your
time, but I don't want even him to know about this job that you can do
for me--I'll pay you for doing it out of my own pocket."
"Just as you think right, sir," answered Gaffney. "So long as you make it
right with the guv'nor, I'm willing."
"Very well," said Appleyard. He paused a moment, and then lowered his
voice. "You've seen about this tremendous reward that's being offered in
Mr. James Allerdyke's case?" he asked, with another sharp look. "You know
what I mean?"
Gaffney's shrewd face grew shrewder, and he nodded knowingly.
"I know!" he said. "Fifty thousand! A fortune, sir!"
"What I want you to do," continued Appleyard, "may lead to something
relating to that, and it mayn't. Anyway, I'll make you all right. Now,
listen carefully. Do you think you could get hold of a private motor
to-morrow morning? A smart, private cab in which you could put a friend
of yours--well dressed--would be the thing. Early."
"Easy as winking, sir," answered Gaffney. "Know the cab, and know a
friend o'mine who'd sit in it--as long as you like."
"Very good," said Appleyard. "Now, then, do you know Lancaster Gate?"
"Do I know St. Paul's?" exclaimed Gaffney, half-derisively. "Used to
drive for an old gent who lived in Porchester Terrace."
"Oh!" replied Appleyard. "Then I daresay you know the Pompadour
"As well as I know my own fingers," responded Gaffney. "Driven to and
from it many a hundred times."
"Just the man I want, then," continued Appleyard. "Now, to-morrow
morning, get your cab early--put your friend in it--dressed up, of
course--and at half-past nine to the very minute drive slowly past the
front door of the Pompadour. You'll see a private motor-brougham
there--dark green--you'll also see a hunchbacked gentleman enter it--you
can't mistake him. Follow him! Never mind where he goes, or how long it
takes to get there--or how few minutes it takes to get there, for that
matter!--follow him and find out where that private cab puts him down.
Then--come and report to me. Is that all clear?"
"Clear as noonday, sir," answered Gaffney. "I understand--I've been at
that sort of game more than once."
"All right," said Appleyard. "I leave it to you. Take every care--I
don't want this man to get the least suspicion that he's followed.
And--" He hesitated, considering his plans over again. "Yes," he went
on, "there's just another detail that I may mention--it'll save time.
This hunchback gentleman's name is Rayner--Mr. Gerald Rayner. Can you
"As well as my own," answered Gaffney. "Mr. Gerald Rayner. I've got it."
"Very good. Now, then, can you trust this friend of yours?" asked
Appleyard. "Is he a chap of common sense?"
"It's my own brother," replied Gaffney. "Some people say I'm the sharper
of the two, some say he is. There's a pair of us, anyhow."
"That'll do," said Appleyard. "Now, wherever you see this Mr. Rayner set
down, let your brother get out of your cab and take particular notice if
he goes into any shop, office, flats, buildings, anything of that sort
which bears his name--Rayner. D'you see? I want to know what his business
is. And now that you know what I want, you and your brother put your
heads together and try to find it out, and come to me when you've done,
and I'll make it worth your while. You'd better go now and make your
Gaffney went away, evidently delighted with his commission, and Appleyard
turned to his business of the day, wondering if he was not going to waste
the chauffer's time and his own money. Next morning he purposely hung
about the Pompadour until the time for Rayner's departure arrived; from
one of the front windows he saw the hunchback enter his brougham and
drive away; at the same moment he saw a neat private cab, driven by
Gaffney, and occupied by a smart-looking young gentleman in a silk hat,
come along and follow in quite an ordinary and usual manner. And on that
he himself went to Gresham Street and waited.
Gaffney and his brother turned in during the morning, both evidently
primed with news. Appleyard shut himself into his office with them.
"Well?" he asked.
"Easy job, Mr. Appleyard," replied Gaffney. "Drove straight through the
Park, Constitution Hill, the Mall, Strand, to top of Arundel Street.
There he got out; brougham went off--back--he walked down street. So my
brother here he got out too, and strolled down street after him. He'll
tell you the rest, sir."
"Just as plain as what he's told," said the other Gaffney. "I followed
him down the street; he walked one side, I t'other side. He went into
Clytemnestra House--one of those big houses of business flats and
offices--almost at the bottom. I waited some time to see if he was
settled like, or if it was only a call he was making. Then I went into
the hall of Clytemnestra House, as if I was looking for somebody. There
are two boards in that hall with the names of tenants painted on 'em. But
there's not that name--Gerald Rayner. Still, I'll tell you what there is,
sir--there's a name that begins with the same initials--G.R."
"What name?" asked Appleyard.
"The name," replied the second Gaffney, "is Gavin Ramsay--Agent."
Allerdyke went off to Hull, post-haste, because of a telephone call which
roused him out of bed an hour before his usual time. It came from
Chettle, the New Scotland Yard man who had been sent down to Hull as soon
as the news of Lydenberg's murder arrived. Chettle asked Allerdyke to
join him by the very next express, and to come alone; he asked him,
moreover, not to tell Mr. Franklin Fullaway whither he was bound. And
Allerdyke, having taken a quick glance at a time-table, summoned Gaffney,
told him of his journey, bade him keep his tongue quiet at the Waldorf,
wrote his hasty note to Appleyard, dressed, and hurried away to King's
Cross. He breakfasted on the train, and was in Hull by one o'clock, and
Chettle hailed him as he set foot on the platform, and immediately led
him off to a cab which awaited them outside the station.
"Much obliged to you for coming so promptly, Mr. Allerdyke," said the
detective. "And for coming by yourself--that was just what I wanted."
"Aye, and why?" asked Allerdyke. "Why by myself? I've been wondering
about that all the way down."
Chettle, a sleek, comfortable-looking man, with a quiet manner and a sly
glance, laughed knowingly, twiddling his fat thumbs as he leaned back in
the cab. "Oh, well, it doesn't do--in my opinion--to spread information
amongst too many people, Mr. Allerdyke," he said. "That's my notion of
things, anyway. I just wanted to go into a few matters with you, alone,
d'ye see? I didn't want that American gentleman along with you. Eh?"
"Now, why?" asked Allerdyke. "Out with it!"
"Well, you see, Mr. Allerdyke," answered the detective, "we know you.
You're a man of substance, you've got a big stake in the country--you're
Allerdyke, of Allerdyke and Partners, Limited, Bradford and London. But
we don't know Fullaway. He may be all right, but you could only call him
a bird of passage, like. He can close down his business and be away out
of England to-morrow, and, personally, I don't believe in letting him
into every secret about all this affair until we know more about him. You
see, Mr. Allerdyke, there's one thing very certain--so far as we've
ascertained at present, nobody but Fullaway, and possibly whoever's in
his employ, was acquainted with the fact that your cousin was carrying
those jewels from Russia to England. Nobody in this country, at any rate.
And--it's a thing of serious importance, sir."
Just what Appleyard had said!--what, indeed, no one of discernment could
help saying, thought Allerdyke. The sole knowledge, of course, was with
Fullaway and his lady clerk--so far as was known. Therefore--
"Just so," he said aloud. "I see your point--of course, I've already seen
it. Well, what are we going to do--now? You've brought me down here for
something special, no doubt."
"Quite so, sir," answered Chettle composedly. "I want to draw your
attention to some very special features and to ask you certain questions
arising out of 'em. We'll take things in order, Mr. Allerdyke. We're
driving now to the High Street--I want to show you the exact spot where
Lydenberg was shot dead. After that we'll go to the police-station and
I'll show you two or three little matters, and we'll have a talk about
them. And now, before we get to the High Street, I may as well tell you
that on examining Lydenberg's body very little was found in the way of
papers--scarcely anything, and nothing connecting him with your cousin's
affair--in fact, the police here say they never saw a foreign gentleman
with less on him in that way. But in the inside pocket of his overcoat
there was a postcard, which had been posted here in Hull. Here it
is--and you'll see that it was the cause of taking him to the spot where
he was shot."
Chettle took from an old letter-case an innocent-looking postcard, on one
corner of which was a stain.
"His blood," he remarked laconically. "He was shot clean through the
heart. Well, you see, it's a mere line."
Allerdyke took the card and looked at it with a mingled feeling of
repulsion and fascination. The writing on it was thin, angular, upright,
and it suggested foreign origin. And the communication was brief--and
"High Street morning eleven sharp left-hand side old houses."
"You don't recognize that handwriting, of course, Mr. Allerdyke?" asked
Chettle. "Never seen it before, I suppose?"
"No!" replied Allerdyke. "Never. But I should say it's a foreigner's."
"Very likely," assented Chettle. "Aye, well, sir, it lured the man to his
death. And now I'll show you where he died, and how easy it was for the
murderer to kill him and get away unobserved."
He pulled the cab up at the corner of the High Street, and turned
southward towards the river, looking round at his companion with one of
his sly smiles.
"I daresay that you, being a Yorkshireman, Mr. Allerdyke, know all about
this old street," he remarked as they walked forward. "I never saw it,
never heard of it, until the other day, when I was sent down on this
Lydenberg business, but it struck me at once. I should think it's one of
the oldest streets left in England."
"It is," answered Allerdyke. "I know it well enough, and I've seen it
changed. It used to be the street of the old Hull merchants--they had
their houses and warehouses all combined, with gardens at the back
running down to the river Hull. Queer old places there used to be in this
street, I can tell you when I was a lad!--of late years they've pulled a
lot of property down that had got what you might call thoroughly
worm-eaten--oh, yes, the place isn't half as ancient or picturesque as it
was even twenty years ago!"
"There's plenty of the ancient about it still, for all that," observed
Chettle, with a dry laugh. "There was more than enough of it for
Lydenberg the other day, at any rate. Now, then, you remember what it
said on the postcard--he was to walk down the High Street, on the
left-hand side, at eleven o'clock? Very well--down the High Street he
walks, on this side which we are now--he strolls along, by these old
houses, looking about him, of course, for the person he was to meet. The
few people who were about down here that morning, and who saw him, said
that he was looking about from side to side. And all of a sudden a shot
rang out, and Lydenberg fell--just here--right on this very pavement."
He pulled Allerdyke up in a narrow part of the old street, jointed to
the flags, and then to the house behind them--an ancient, ramshackle
place, the doors and windows of which were boarded up, the entire fabric
of which showed unmistakable readiness for the pick and shovel of the
house-breaker. And he laid a hand on one of the shattered windows, close
by a big hole in the decaying wood.
"There's no doubt the murderer was hidden behind this shutter, and that
he fired at Lydenberg from it, through this hole," he said. "So, you see,
he'd only be a few feet from his man. He was evidently a good shot, and a
fellow of resolute nerve, for he made no mistake. He only fired once, but
he shot Lydenberg clean through the heart, dead!"
"Anybody see it happen?" asked Allerdyke, staring about him at the scene
of the tragedy, and thinking how very ordinary and commonplace everything
looked. "I suppose there'd be people about, though the street, at this
end, anyway, isn't as busy as it once was?"
"Several people saw him fall," answered Chettle.
"They say he jumped, spun round, and fell across the pavement. And they
all thought it was a case of suicide. That, of course, gave the murderer
a bigger and better chance of making off. You see, as these people saw no
assailant, it never struck 'em that the shot had been fired from behind
this window. When they collected their thoughts, found it wasn't suicide,
and realized that it was murder, the murderer was--Lord knows where! From
behind these old houses, Mr. Allerdyke, there's a perfect rabbit-warren
of alleys, courts, slums, twists, and turns! The man could slip out at
the back, go left or right, mix himself up with the crowd on the quays
and wharves, walk into the streets, go anywhere--all in a minute or two."
"Clever--very clever! You've no clue?" asked Allerdyke.
"None; not a scrap!" replied the detective. "Bless you, there's score of
foreigners knocking about Hull. Scores! Hundreds! We've done all we can,
the local police and myself--we've no clue whatever. But, of course, it
was done by one of the gang."
"By one of the gang!" exclaimed Allerdyke. "Ah you've got a theory of
your own, then?"
Chettle laughed quietly as they turned and retraced their steps up
"It 'ud be queer if I hadn't, by this time," he answered. "Oh yes, I've
thought things out pretty well, and I should say our people at the Yard
have come to the same conclusion that I have--I'm not conceited enough,
Mr. Allerdyke, to fancy that I'm the only person who's arrived at a
reasonable theory, not I?"
"Well--what is your theory?" asked Allerdyke.
"This," replied the detective. "The whole thing, the theft of the
Princess Nastirsevitch's jewels from your cousin, of Miss de Longarde's
or Lennard's jewels, was the work of a peculiarly clever gang--though it
may be of an individual--who made use of both Lydenberg and the French
maid as instruments, and subsequently murdered those two in order to
silence them forever. I say it may be the work of an individual--it's
quite possible that the man who killed the Frenchwoman is also the man
who shot Lydenberg--but it may be the work of one, two, or three separate
persons, acting in collusion. I believe that Lydenberg was the actual
thief of the Princess's jewels from your cousin; that the Frenchwoman
actually stole her mistress's jewels. But as to how it was worked--as to
who invented and carried out the whole thing--ah!"
"And to that--to the real secret of the whole matter--we haven't the
ghost of a clue!" muttered Allerdyke. "That's about it, eh?"
Chettle laughed--a sly, suggestive laugh. He gave his companion one of
his half-apologetic looks.
"I'm not so sure, Mr. Allerdyke," he said. "We may have--and that's why I
wanted to see you by yourself. Come round to the police-station."
In a quiet room in the usual drab and dismal atmosphere which Allerdyke
was beginning to associate with police affairs, Chettle produced the
personal property of the dead man, all removed, he said, from the Station
Hotel, for safe keeping.
"There's little to go on, Mr. Allerdyke," he said, pointing to one
article after another. "You'll remember that the man represented himself
as being a Norwegian doctor, who had come to Hull on private business. He
may have been that--we're making inquiries about him in Christiania,
where he hailed from. According to those who're in a position to speak,
his clothing, linen, boots, and so on are all of the sort you'd get in
that country. But he'd no papers on him to show his business, no private
letters, no documents connecting him with Hull in any way: he hadn't even
a visiting-card. He'd a return ticket--from Hull to Christiania--and he'd
plenty of money, English and foreign. When I got down here, I helped the
local police to go through everything--we even searched the linings of
his clothing and ripped his one handbag to pieces. But we've found no
more than I've said. However--I've found something. Nobody knows that
I've found it. I haven't told the people here--I haven't even reported
it to headquarters in London. I wanted you to see it before I spoke of it
to a soul. Look here!"
Chettle opened a square cardboard box in which certain personal effects
belonging to Lydenberg had been placed--one or two rings, a pocket-knife,
his purse and its contents, a cigar-case, his watch and chain. He took up
the watch, detached it from the chain, and held it towards Allerdyke, who
was regarding these proceedings with intense curiosity.
"You see this watch, Mr. Allerdyke," he said. "It's a watch of foreign
make--Swiss--and it's an old one, a good many years old, I should say.
Consequently, it's a bit what we might call massive. Now, I was looking
at it yesterday--late last night, in fact--and an idea suddenly struck
me. In consequence of that idea, I opened the back of the watch, and
He snapped open the case of the watch as he spoke and showed Allerdyke,
neatly cut out to a circle, neatly fitted into the case, a
photograph--the photograph of James Allerdyke! And Allerdyke started as
if he had been shot, and let out a sharp exclamation.
"My God!" he cried. "James! James, by all that's holy--and in there!"
"You recognize it, of course?" said Chettle, with a grim smile. "No doubt
of it, eh?"
"Doubt! Recognize!" exclaimed Allerdyke. "Lord, man--why, I took it
myself, not two months ago!"
Chettle laughed--a low, suggestive, satisfied chuckle. He laid the watch,
its case still open, on the table at which they were standing, and tapped
the photograph with the point of his finger.
"That may be the first step to the scaffold--for somebody," he said, with
a meaning glance. "Ah--it's extraordinary what little, innocent-looking
things help to put a bit of rope round a man's neck! So you took this,
Mr. Allerdyke?--took it yourself, you say?"
"Took it myself, some eight or nine weeks ago," answered Allerdyke. "I
took it in my garden one Sunday afternoon when my cousin James happened
to be there. I do a bit in that way--amusement, you know. I just chanced
to have a camera in my hand, and I saw James in a very favourable light
and position, and I snapped him. And it was such a good 'un when
developed that I printed off a few copies."
The detective's face became anxious.
"How many, now?" he asked. "How many, Mr. Allerdyke? I hope you can
remember?--it's a point of the utmost seriousness."
"Naught easier," answered Allerdyke readily. "I've a good memory for
little things as well as big 'uns. I printed off four copies. One of 'em
I pasted into an album in which I keep particularly good photographs of
my own taking; the other three I gave to him--he put 'em in his
"All unmounted--like this?" asked Chettle.
"All unmounted--like that," affirmed Allerdyke. "And now, then, since it
seems to be a matter of importance, I can tell you what James did with at
any rate two of 'em. He gave one to our cousin Grace--Mrs. Henry
Mallins--a Bradford lady. He gave another to a friend of my own, another
amateur photographer, Wilson Firth--gave him it in my presence at the
Midland Hotel one day, when we were all three having a cigar together in
the smoking-room there. Wilson Firth's a bit of a rival of mine in the
amateur photographic line--we each try to beat the other, you understand.
Now, then, James pulled one of these snapshots out and handed it over to
Wilson with a laugh. 'There,' he says, 'that's our Marshall's latest
performance--you'll have a job to do aught better than that, Wilson, my
lad,' he says. So that accounts for two. And--this is the third!"
"And the question, Mr. Allerdyke, the big question--a most important
question!--is, how did it come into this man Lydenberg's possession?"
said the detective anxiously. "If we can find that out--"
"I've been thinking," interrupted Allerdyke. "There's this about it, you
know: James and this Lydenberg came over together from Christiania to
Hull in the _Perisco_. They talked to one another--that's certain. James
may have given it to Lydenberg. But the thing is--is that likely?"
"No!" replied Chettle, with emphatic assurance. "No, sir! And I'll tell
you why. If your cousin had given this photo to Lydenberg, as he might,
of course, have given it to a mere passing acquaintance, because that
acquaintance took a fancy to it, or something of that sort, Lydenberg
would in all reasonable probability have just slipped in into his
pocket-book, or put it loose amongst his letters and papers. But, as we
see, however Lydenberg became possessed of this photo, he took unusual
pains and precautions about it. You see, he cut it down, most carefully
and neatly, to fit into the cover of his watch--he took the trouble to
carry it where no one else would see it, but where he could see it
himself at a second's notice--he'd nothing to do but to snap open that
cover. No, sir, your cousin didn't give that photo to Lydenberg. That
photo was sent to Lydenberg, Mr. Allerdyke--sent! And it was sent for one
purpose only. What? That he should be able to identify Mr. James
Allerdyke as soon as he set eyes on him!"
Allerdyke nodded his head--in complete understanding and affirmation. He
was thinking the same thing--thinking, too, that here was at least a
clue, a real tangible clue.
"Aye!" he said. "I agree with you. Then, of course, the one and only
thing to do is--"
"To find out who the person was that your cousin gave this particular
print to!" said Chettle eagerly. "Of course, it's a big field. So far as
I understand things, he'd been knocking round a good bit between the time
of your taking this photo and his death. He'd been in London, hadn't he?
And in Russia--in two or three places. How can we find out when and how
he parted with this? For give it to somebody he did, and that somebody
was a person who knew of the jewel transaction, and employed Lydenberg in
it, and sent the photo to Lydenberg so that he should know your cousin by
sight--at once. Mr. Allerdyke, the secret of these murders and thefts
Chettle replaced the watch in the cardboard box from which he had taken
it, produced a bit of sealing-wax from his pocket, sealed up the box, and
put it and the other things belonging to Lydenberg back in the small
trunk from which he had withdrawn them to show his companion. And
Allerdyke watched him in silence, wondering and speculating about this
"What do you want me to do?" he asked suddenly. "You've got some scheme,
of course, or you wouldn't have got me down here alone."
"Just so," agreed Chettle. "I have a scheme--and that's why I did get you
down here alone. Mr. Allerdyke, you're a sharp, shrewd man--all you
Yorkshiremen are!--at least, all that I've ever come across. You're good
hands at ferreting things out. Now, Mr. Allerdyke, let's be
plain--there's no two ways about it, no doubt whatever of it, the only
people in England that we're aware of who knew about this Nastirsevitch
jewel transaction are--Fullaway and whoever he has in his employ! We
know of nobody else--unless, indeed, it's the Chicago millionaire,
Delkin, and he's not very likely to have wanted to go in for a job of
this sort. No, sir--Fullaway is the suspected person, in my
opinion!--though I'm going to take precious good care to keep that
opinion to myself yet awhile, I can tell you. Fullaway, Mr. Allerdyke,
"Well?" demanded Allerdyke. "And so--"
"And so I want you to use your utmost ingenuity to find out if your
cousin James gave that photo to Fullaway," continued Chettle. "We know
very well that he was in touch with Fullaway before he went off to
Russia--I have it in my notes that when Fullaway came to see you here in
Hull, at the Station Hotel, the day of your cousin's death, he told you
that he and Mr. James Allerdyke had been doing business for a couple of
years, and that they'd last met in London about the end of March, just
before your cousin set off on his journey to Russia. Is that correct?"
"Quite correct--to the letter," answered Allerdyke.
"Very well," said Chettle. "Now, according to you, that 'ud be not so
very long after you took that snapshot of your cousin? So, he'd probably
have the third print of it--the one we've just been looking at--on him
when he was in London at that time?"
"Very likely," assented Allerdyke.
"Then," said Chettle with great eagerness, "try, Mr. Allerdyke, try your
best and cleverest to find out if he gave it to Fullaway. You can
think--you with a sharp brain!--of some cunning fashion of finding that
"I don't know," replied Allerdyke, slowly and doubtfully. He possessed
quite as much ingenuity as Chettle credited him with, but his own
resourcefulness in that direction only inclined him to credit other men
with the possession of just the same faculty. "I don't know about that.
If James did give that print to Fullaway, and if Fullaway made use of it
as you think, Fullaway'll be far too cute ever to let on that it was
given to him. See!"
"I see that--been seeing it all through," answered Chettle. "All the
same, there's ways and means. Think of something--you know Fullaway a bit
by this time. Try it!"
"Oh, I'll try it, you bet!" exclaimed Allerdyke. "I'll try it for all
it's worth, and as cleverly as I can. In fact, I've already thought of a
plan, and if you don't want me any more just now, I'll go to the
post-office and send off a telegram that's something to do with it."
"Nothing more now, sir," answered Chettle. "But look here--you're not
going back to town to-night?"
"Why, that's just what I meant to do," replied Allerdyke. "There's naught
to stop here for, is there?"
"I'm expecting a message from the Christiania police some time this
afternoon or evening," said Chettle. "I cabled to them yesterday making
full inquiries about Lydenberg--he represented himself here, to Dr. Orwin
and the police-surgeons especially, as being a medical man in practice in
Christiania, who had come across to Hull on some entirely private family
business. Now, we've made the most exhaustive inquiries here in
Hull--there isn't a soul in the town knows anything whatever of
Lydenberg! I'm as certain as I am that I see you that he'd no business
here at all--except to kill and rob your cousin. And so, of course, we
want to know if he really was what he said he was, over there. I pressed
upon the Christiania police to let me know all they could within
thirty-six hours. So if you'll stop the night here, I'll likely be able
to show you their reply to me."
"Right!" answered Allerdyke. "I'll put up at the Station Hotel. You come
and have your dinner with me there at seven o'clock."
"Much obliged, Mr. Allerdyke," replied Chettle. "I'll come."
Then Allerdyke went off to the General Post Office and sent a telegram to
his housekeeper in Bradford--
"Send off at once by registered parcel post to me at Waldorf Hotel,
London, the morocco-bound photograph album lying on right-hand corner of
my writing-desk in the library.--MARSHALL ALLERDYKE."
He went out of the post-office laughing cynically. Bit by bit things
were coming out, he said to himself as he strolled away towards the
hotel; link after link the chain was being forged. But around whom, in
the end, was it going to be fastened? It was the first time in his life
that he had ever been brought face to face with crime, and the seeking
out of the criminal was beginning to fascinate him.
"Egad, it's a queer business!" he muttered. "A thread here, a thread
there!--Heaven knows what it'll all come to. But this Chettle's a good
'un--he's like to do things."
Chettle joined him in the smoking-room of the hotel at a quarter to
seven, and immediately produced a telegram.
"Came half an hour ago," he said as they sat down in a corner. "Nobody
but myself seen it up to now. And--it's just what I expected. Read it."
Allerdyke slowly read the message through, pondering over it--
"We have made fullest inquiries concerning Lydenberg. He was certainly
not in practice here either under that or any other name. Nothing is
known of him as a resident in this city. We have definitely ascertained
that he came to Christiania from Copenhagen, by land, via Lund and
Copenhagen, arriving Christiania May 7th, and that he left here by
steamship _Perisco_ for Hull, May 10th."
"You notice the dates?" observed Chettle. "May 7th and 10th. Now, it was
on May 8th that your cousin wired to Fullaway from Christiania, Mr.
Allerdyke--there's no doubt about it! This man, Lydenberg, whoever he is
or was, was sent to waylay your cousin at Christiania--sent from London.
I've worked it out--he went overland--Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark,
Sweden, Norway. Sounds a lot--but it's a quick journey. Sir--he was sent!
And the sooner we find out about that photograph the better."
"I'm at work," answered Allerdyke. "Leave it to me."
He found his morocco-bound photograph album awaiting him when he arrived
at the Waldorf Hotel next day, and during the afternoon he took it in his
hand and strolled quietly and casually into Franklin Fullaway's rooms.
Everything there looked as he had always seen it--Mrs. Marlow, charming
as ever, was tapping steadily at her typewriter: Fullaway, himself a
large cigar in his mouth, was reading the American newspapers, just
arrived, in his own sanctum. He greeted Allerdyke with enthusiasm.
"Been away since yesterday, eh?" he said, after warm greetings. "Home?"
"Aye, I've been down to Yorkshire," responded Allerdyke offhandedly. "One
or two things I wanted to see to, and some things I wanted to get. This
is one of 'em."
"Family Bible?" inquired Fullaway, eyeing the solemnly bound album.
"No. Photos," answered Allerdyke. He was going to test things at once,
and he opened the book at the fateful page. "I'm a bit of an amateur
photographer," he went on, with a laugh. "Here's what's probably the last
photo ever taken of James. What d'ye think of it?"
Fullaway glanced at the photograph, all unconscious that his caller was
watching him as he had never been watched in his life. He waved his cigar
at the open page.
"Oh!" he said airily. "A remarkably good likeness--wonderful! I said so
when I saw it before--excellent likeness, Allerdyke, excellent! Couldn't
be beaten by a professional. Excellent!"
Marshall Allerdyke felt his heart beating like a sledgehammer as he put
his next question, and for the life of him he could not tell how he
managed to keep his voice under control.
"Ah!" he said. "You've seen it before, then? James show it to you?"
Fullaway nodded towards the door of the outer room, from which came the
faint click of the secretary's machine.
"He gave one to Mrs. Marlow the very last time he was here." he answered.
"They were talking about amateur photography, and he pulled a print of
that out of his pocket and made her a present of it; said it couldn't be
beaten. You're a clever hand, Allerdyke--most lifelike portrait I ever
saw. Well--any news?"
THE LATE CALL
It was with a mighty effort of will that Allerdyke controlled himself
sufficiently to be able to answer Fullaway's question with calmness. This
was for him a critical moment. He knew now to whom James Allerdyke had
given the photograph which Chettle had found concealed in Lydenberg's
watch; knew that the recipient was sitting close by him, separated only
from him by a wall and a door; knew that between her and Lydenberg, or
those who had been in touch with Lydenberg, there must be some strange,
secret, and sinister connection. From Mrs. Marlow to Lydenberg that
photograph had somehow passed, and, as Chettle had well said, the entire
problem of the murders and thefts was mixed up in its transference. All
that was certain--what seemed certain, too, was that Fullaway knew
nothing of these things, and was as innocent as he himself. And for the
fraction of a second he was half-minded to tell all he knew to Fullaway
there and then--and it was only by a still stronger effort of will that
he restrained his tongue, determined to keep a stricter silence than
ever, and replied to the American in an offhand, casual tone.
"News?" he said, with a half-laugh. "Nay, not that I know of. They take
their time, those detective chaps. You heard aught?"
"Nothing particular," answered Fullaway. "Except that the Princess was in
here this morning, and that Miss Lennard came at the same time. But
neither of them had anything of importance to tell. The Princess has been
ransacking her memory all about her affairs with your cousin; she's more
certain than ever now that nobody in Russia but he and she knew anything
about the jewel deal. They were always in strict privacy when they
discussed the matter; no one was present when she gave him the jewels;
she never mentioned the affair to a soul, and she's confident from what
she knew of him, that he wouldn't. So she's more convinced than ever that
the news got out from this side."
"And Miss Lennard--what did she want?" asked Allerdyke.
"Oh! she's found the various references--two or three of 'em--that she
had with the French maid," replied Fullaway. "I looked at them--there's
nothing in them but what you'd expect to find. Two of the writers are
well-known society women, the third was a French marquise. I don't think
anything's to be got out of them, but, anyway, I sent her off to Scotland
Yard with them--it's their work that. Fine photos there, Allerdyke," he
continued, turning over the leaves of the album. "Some of your places in
Allerdyke, who was particularly anxious that he should not seem to have
had an ulterior object in bringing the album up to Fullaway's office
hailed this question with relief. He began to point out and explain the
various pictures--photographs of his mills, warehouses, town office, his
own private house, grounds, surroundings, chatting unconcernedly about
each. And while the two men were thus engaged in came Mrs. Marlow,
bringing letters which needed Fullaway's signature.
"Mrs. Marlow knows more about amateur photography than I do," remarked
Fullaway, with a glance at his secretary. "Here, Mrs. Marlow, these are
same of Mr. Allerdyke's productions--you remember that his cousin, Mr.
James Allerdyke, gave you a photo which this Mr. Allerdyke had taken?"
Allerdyke, keenly watching the secretary's pretty face as she laid her
papers on Fullaway's desk, saw no sign of embarrassment or confusion;
Fullaway might have made the most innocent and ordinary remark in the
world, and yet, according to Allerdyke's theory and positive knowledge,
it must be fraught with serious meaning to this woman.
"Oh yes!" she flashed, without as much as the flicker of an eyelash. "I
remember--a particularly good photo. So like him!"
Allerdyke's ingenuity immediately invented a remark; he was at that stage
when, he wanted to know as much as possible.
"I wonder which print it was that he gave you?" he said. "One of them--I
only did a few--had a spot in it that'll spread. If that's the one
you've got, I'll give you another in its place, Mrs. Marlow. Have you
got it here?"
But Mrs. Marlow shook her head and presented the same unabashed front.
"No," she answered readily enough. "I took it home, Mr. Allerdyke. But
there's no spot on my print--I should have noticed it at once. May I look
at your album when Mr. Fullaway's finished with it?"
Allerdyke left the album with them and went away. He was utterly
astonished by Mrs. Marlow's coolness. If, as he already believed, she was
mixed up in the murders and robberies, she must know that the photograph
which James Allerdyke had given her was a most important factor, and yet
she spoke of it as calmly and unconcernedly as if it had been a mere
scrap of paper! Of course she hadn't got it at the office--nor at her
home either--it was there at Hull, fitted into the cover of Lydenberg's
"A cool hand!" soliloquized Allerdyke as he went downstairs. "Cool,
clever, calm, never off her guard. A damned dangerous woman!--that's the
long and short of it. And--what next?"
Experience and observation of life had taught Marshall Allerdyke that
good counsel is one of life's most valuable assets. He could think for
himself and decide for himself at any moment, but he knew the worth and
value of putting two heads together, especially at a juncture like this.
And so, the afternoon being still young, he went off to his warehouse in
Gresham Street, closeted himself with Ambler Appleyard, and having
pledged him to secrecy, told him all that had happened since the
Ambler Appleyard listened in silence. It was only two or three hours
since he had listened to another story--the report of the two Gaffneys,
and Allerdyke, all unaware of that business, had come upon him while
he was still thinking it over. And while Appleyard gave full attention
to all that his employer said, he was also thinking of what he himself
could tell. By the time that Allerdyke had finished he, too, had
decided to speak.
"So there it is, my lad!" exclaimed Allerdyke, throwing out his hands
with an eloquent gesture as he made an end of his story. "I hope I've put
it clearly to you. It's just as that Chap Chettle said--the whole secret
is in that photograph! And isn't it plain?--that photograph must have
been transferred somehow by this Mrs. Marlow to this Lydenberg. How? Why?
When we can answer those questions--"
He paused at that, and, looking fixedly at his manager, shook his head
"I'll tell you what it is, Ambler," he went on, after a moment's silence.
"I've got a good, strong mind to go straight to the police authorities,
tell 'em what I know, insist on 'em fetching Chettle up from Hull at
once, and having that woman arrested. Why not?"
"No!" said Appleyard firmly. "Not yet. Too soon, Mr. Allerdyke--wait a
bit. And now listen to me--I've something to tell you. I've been busy
while you've been away--in this affair. Bit of detective work. I'll tell
you all about it--all! You remember that day I went to lunch with you at
the City Carlton, and you pointed out this Mrs. Marlow to me, going into
Rothschild's? Yes, well--I recognized her."
"You did!" exclaimed Allerdyke. "Nay!"
"I recognized her," repeated Appleyard. "I said naught to you at the
time, but I knew her well enough. As a matter of fact, I've known her for
two years. She lives at the same boarding-house, the Pompadour Private
Hotel, in Bayswater, that I live in. I see her--have been seeing her for
two years--every day, morning and night. But I know her as Miss Slade."
"Miss?" ejaculated Allerdyke.
"Miss--Miss Slade," answered Appleyard. He drew his chair nearer to
Allerdyke's, and went on in a lower voice. "Now, then, pay attention, and
I'll tell you all about it, and what I've done since I got your note
He told Allerdyke the whole story of his endeavour to find out something
about Rayner merely because Rayner seemed to be in Miss Slade's
confidence, and because Miss Slade was certainly a woman of mystery. And
Allerdyke listened as quietly and attentively as Appleyard had listened
to him, nodding his head at all the important points, and in the end he
slapped his manager's shoulder with an approving hand.
"Good--good!" he said. "Good, Ambler! That was a bit of right work, and
hang me if I don't believe we shall find something out. But what's to
be done? You know, if these two are in at it, they may slip. That 'ud
"I don't think there's any fear of that--yet," answered Appleyard. "The
probability is that neither has any suspicion of being watched--the whole
thing's so clever that they probably believe themselves safe. Of course,
mind you, this man Rayner may be as innocent as you or I. But against
her, on the facts of that photograph affair, there's a _prima facie_
case. Only--don't let's spoil things by undue haste or rashness. I've
thought things out a good deal, and we can do a lot, you and me, before
going to the police, though I don't think it 'ud do any harm to tell this
man Chettle, supposing he were here--because his discovery of that photo
is the real thing."
"What can we do, then?" asked Allerdyke.
"Make use of the two Gaffneys," answered Appleyard without hesitation.
"They're smart chaps---real keen 'uns. We want to find out who Rayner is;
what his connection, if any, with Miss Slade, alias Mrs. Marlow, is; who
she is, and why she goes under two names. That's all what you might call
initial proceedings. What I propose is this--when you go back to your
hotel, get Gaffney into your private sitting-room. You, of course, know
him much better than I do, but from what bit I've seen of him I'm sure
he's the sort of man one can trust. Tell him to get hold of that brother
of his and bring him here at any hour you like to-morrow, and
then--well, we can have a conference, and decide on some means of finding
out more about Rayner and keeping an eye on him. For that sort of work I
should say that other Gaffney's remarkably well cut out--he's a typical,
sharp, knowing Cockney, with all his wits about him, and plenty of
"It's detective work, you know, Ambler," said Allerdyke. "It needs a bit
of more than ordinary cuteness."
"From my observation, I should say both those chaps are just cut for it,"
answered Appleyard, with a laugh. "What's more, they enjoy it. And when
men enjoy what they're doing--"
"Why, they do it well," agreed Allerdyke, finishing the sentence. "Aye,
that's true enough. All right--I'll speak to Gaffney, when I go back. And
look here--as you're so well known to this woman, Miss Slade or Mrs.
Marlow, whichever her name is, you'd better not show up at the Waldorf at
any time in my company, eh?"
"Of course," said Appleyard. "You trust me for that! What we've got to do
must be done as secretly as possible."
Allerdyke rose to go, but turned before he reached the door.
"There's one thing I'm uneasy about," he said. "If--I say if, of
course--if these folks--I mean the lot that's behind this woman, for I
can't believe that she's worked it all herself--have got those jewels,
won't they want to clear out with them? Isn't delay dangerous?"
"Not such delay as I'm thinking of," answered Appleyard firmly. "She's
cute enough, this lady, and if she made herself scarce just now, she'd
know very well that it would excite suspicion. Don't let's spoil things
by being too previous. We've got a pretty good watch on her, you know. I
should know very quickly if she cleared out of the Pompadour; you'd know
if she didn't turn up at Fullaway's. Wait a bit, Mr. Allerdyke; it's the
best policy. You'll come here to-morrow?"
"Eleven o'clock in the morning," replied Allerdyke. "I'll fix it with
He went back to the Waldorf, summoned Gaffney to his private room, and
sent him to arrange matters with his brother. Gaffney accepted the
commission with alacrity; his brother, he said, was just then out of a
job, having lost a clerkship through the sudden bankruptcy of his
employers; such a bit of business as that which Mr. Appleyard had
entrusted to him was so much meat and drink to one of his tastes--in more
ways than one.
"It's the sort of thing he likes, sir," remarked Gaffney, confidentially.
"He's always been a great hand at reading these detective tales, and to
set him to watch anybody is like offering chickens to a nigger--he fair
revels in it!"
"Well, there's plenty for him to revel in," observed Allerdyke grimly.
Plenty! he said to himself with a cynical laugh when Gaffney had left
him--aye, plenty, and to spare. He spent the whole of that evening alone,
turning every detail over in his own mind; he was still thinking, and
speculating, and putting two and two together when he went to bed at
eleven o'clock. And just as he was about to switch off his light a waiter
knocked on his door.
"Gentleman downstairs, sir, very anxious to see you at once," he said,
when Allerdyke opened it. "His card, sir."
Allerdyke gave one glance at the card--a plain bit of pasteboard on which
one word had been hastily pencilled--
Chettle!--whom he had left only that morning in Hull, two hundred miles
away, both of them agreed that the next step was still unseen, and that
immediate action was yet problematical. Something had surely happened to
bring Chettle up to town and to him.
"Show Mr. Chettle up here at once," he said to the waiter. "And
here--bring a small decanter of whisky and a syphon of soda-water and
glasses. Be sharp with 'em."
He pulled on a dressing-gown when the man had gone, and, tying its cord
about his waist, went a step or two into the corridor to look out for his
visitor. A few minutes elapsed; then the lift came up, and the waiter,
killing two birds with one stone, appeared again, escorting the detective
and carrying a tray. And Allerdyke, with a sly wink at Chettle, greeted
him unconcernedly, ushered him into his room and chatted about nothing
until the waiter had gone away. Then he turned on him eagerly.
"What is it?" he demanded. "Something, of course! Aught new?"
For answer Chettle thrust his hand inside his overcoat and brought out a
small package, wrapped in cartridge paper, and sealed.
He began to break the seals and unwrap the covering.
"Well, it brought me up here--straight," he said. "I think I shall have
to let our people at the yard know everything, Mr. Allerdyke. But I came
to you first---I only got to King's Cross half an hour ago, and I drove
on to you at once. Well see what you think before I decide on anything."
"What is it!" repeated Allerdyke, gazing with interest at the package.
"You've found something of fresh importance, eh!"
Chettle took the lid off a small box and produced Lydenberg's watch and
postcard on which the appointment in the High Street had been made. He
sat down at the table, laying his hand on the watch.
"After you left me this morning," he said, "I started puzzling and
puzzling over what had been discovered, what had been done, whether there
was more that I could do. I kept thinking things over all the morning,
and half the afternoon. Then it suddenly struck me--there was one
thing--that I'd never done and that ought to have been done--I don't know
why I'd never thought of it till then--but I'd never had this photograph
out of the watch. And so I went back to the police-station and got the
watch and opened it, and--look there, Mr. Allerdyke!"
He had snapped open the case of the watch as he talked, and he now
detached the photograph and turning it over, laid the reverse side down
on the table by the postcard.
"Look at it!" he went on. "Do you see?--there's writing on it! You see
what it says? 'This is J.A. Burn this when made use of.' You see?
And--it's the same handwriting as that on this card, making the
appointment! Here, look at both for yourself--hold 'em closer to the
light. Mr. Allerdyke--that was all written by the same hand, or
Allerdyke went close to the electric globe above his dressing-table, the
photograph in one hand, the postcard in the other. He looked searchingly
at both, brought them back, and laid them down again.
"No doubt of it, Chettle," he said. "No doubt of it! It doesn't need any
expert to be certain sure of that. The same, identical fist, without a
shadow of doubt. Well--what d'ye make of it? Here--have a drink."
He mixed a couple of drinks, pushed one glass to the detective, and took
the other himself.
"Egad!" he muttered, after drinking. "Things are getting--hottish,
anyway. As I say, what do you make of this? Of course, you've come to
"Yes," answered Chettle, taking up his glass and silently bowing his
acknowledgments. "I have! The only one I could come to. The man who sent
this photograph to Lydenberg, to help him to identify your cousin at
sight, is the man who afterwards lured Lydenberg into that part of Hull
High Street, and shot him dead. In plain words, the master shot his
man--when he'd done with him. Just as he poisoned the Frenchwoman--when
he'd done with her. Mr. Allerdyke, I'm more than ever convinced that
these two murders--Lydenberg's and the French maid's--were the work of
"Likely!" assented Allerdyke. "It's getting to look like it. But--whose?
That's the problem, Chettle. Well, I've done a bit since I got back this
afternoon. You've had something to tell me--now I've something to tell
you. I've found out who it was that James gave the photograph to!"
Chettle showed his gratification by a start of pleased surprise.
"You have--already!" he exclaimed.
"Already!" replied Allerdyke. "Found it out within an hour of getting
back in here. He gave it"--here, though the door was closed and
bolted, and there was no fear of eavesdroppers, he sank his voice to a
whisper--"he gave it to Fullaway's secretary, the woman we discussed,
Mrs. Marlow. That's a fact. He gave it to her just before he set off
Chettle screwed his lips up to whistle--instead of whistling he suddenly
relaxed them to a comprehending smile.
"Aye, just so!" he said. "I was sure it lay somewhere--here. Fullaway
himself, now--does he know?"
"James gave it to her in Fullaway's presence," replied Allerdyke. "She's
a bit of a photographer, I understand--they were talking about
photography, I gathered, one day when James was in Fullaway's office, and
James pulled that out and gave it to her as a specimen of my work."
"All that came out in talk this afternoon?" asked Chettle.
"Just so. Ordinary, casual talk," assented Allerdyke.
"No suspicion roused?" suggested Chettle.
"I don't think so. Of course, you never can tell. I should say,"
continued Allerdyke, "that she's as deep and clever as ever they make
'em! But it was all so casual, and so natural, that I don't think she'd
the slightest idea that I was trying to get at anything. However, I found
this much out--she couldn't produce the photograph. Said she'd taken it
home. Well--there we are! That's part one of my bit of news, Chettle. Now
for part two. This woman's leading a double life. She's Mrs. Marlow as
Fullaway's secretary and here at his rooms and on his business; where she
lives she's Miss Slade. Eh?"
Chettle pricked his ears.
"When did you find that out?" he asked. "Since you left me this
"Found it out this afternoon," replied Allerdyke, with something of
triumph. He had been strolling about the bedroom up to that moment, but
now he drew a chair to the table at which Chettle sat and dropped into it
close beside his visitor.
"I'll tell you all about it," he went on. "You said at Hull yesterday
that you'd always found Yorkshiremen sharp and shrewd--well, this is a
bit more Yorkshire work--work of my manager here in town--Mr.
He gave the detective a clear and succinct account of all that Appleyard
and his satellites had done, and Chettle listened with deep attention,
nodding his head at the various points.
"Yes," he said, when Allerdyke had made an end, "yes, that's all right,
so far. Good, useful work. The thing is--can you fully trust these two
young men--your chauffeur and his brother?"
"I could and would trust my chauffeur with my last shilling," answered
Allerdyke. "And as for his brother, I'll take my man's word for him.
Besides, they both know--or Mr. Gaffney knows--that I'm a pretty generous
paymaster. If a man does aught for me, and does it well, he profits to a
"A good argument," agreed Chettle. "I don't know that you could beat it,
Mr. Allerdyke. Well, well--we're getting to something and to somewhere!
Now, as you've told me all this, I'll just keep things quiet until I've
met you and your manager to-morrow, with these two Gaffneys--we'll have a
conference. I won't go near the Yard until after that. Eleven o'clock
to-morrow, then, at your warehouse in Gresham Street."
He presently replaced the watch and the postcard in an inner pocket, and
took his leave, and Allerdyke, letting him out, walked along the corridor
with him as far as the lift. And as Allerdyke turned back to his own
room, the third event of that day happened, and seemed to him to be the
most surprising and important one of all.
What made Allerdyke pause as he retraced his steps along the corridor,
pause to look over the balustrade to the floor immediately below his own,
he never knew nor could explain. But, just as he was about to re-enter
his room, he did so pause, leaning over the railings and looking down for
a moment. In that moment he saw Mrs. Marlow.
A considerable portion of the floor immediately beneath him was fully
exposed to the view of any one leaning over the balustrade as Allerdyke
did. This was a quiet part of the hotel, a sort of wing cut away from
the main building; the floor at which he was looking was given up to
private suites of rooms, one of them, a larger one than the others,
being Fullaway's, which filled one side of the corridor; the others
were suites of two, in some cases of three rooms. As he looked over and
down, Allerdyke suddenly saw a door open in one of these smaller
suites--open silently and stealthily. Then he saw Mrs. Marlow look out,
and she glanced right and left about her. The next instant, she emerged
from the room with the same stealthiness, closed and locked the door
with a key which she immediately pocketed, slipped along the corridor,
and disappeared into Franklin Fullaway's suite. It was all over in less
than a minute, and Allerdyke turned into his own door, smiling
cynically to himself.
"She looked right and left, but she forgot to look up!" he muttered.
"Ah! those small details. And what does that mean? Anyway, I know which
door she came out of!"
He glanced at his watch--precisely half-past eleven. He made a note of
the time in his pocket-book and went to bed. And next morning, rising
early, as was his custom, he descended to the ground floor by means of
the stairs instead of the lift, and as he passed the door from which he
had seen Mrs. Marlow emerge he mentally registered the number.
Fifty-three. Number fifty-three.
Allerdyke, who could not exist without fresh air and exercise, went for a
stroll before breakfast when he was in London--he usually chose the
Embankment, as being the nearest convenient open space, and thither he
now repaired, thinking things over. There were many new features of this
affair to think about, but the one of the previous night now occupied his
thoughts to the exclusion of the others. What was this woman doing,
coming--with evident secrecy--out of one set of rooms, and entering
another at that late hour? He wanted to know--he must find out--and he
would find out with ease,--and indirectly, from Fullaway.
Fullaway always took his breakfast at a certain table in a certain corner
of the coffee-room at the hotel; there Allerdyke had sometimes joined
him. He found the American there, steadily eating, when he returned from
his walk, and he dropped into a chair at his side with a casual remark
about the fine morning.
"Didn't set eyes on you last night at all," he went on, as he picked up
his napkin. "Off somewhere, eh?"
"Spent the evening out," answered Fullaway. "Not often I do, but I
did--for once in a way. Van Koon and I (you don't know Van Koon, do
you?--he's a fellow countryman of mine, stopping here for the summer,
and a very clever man) we dined at the Carlton, and then went to the
Haymarket Theatre. I was going to ask you to join us, Allerdyke, but you
were out and hadn't come in by the time we had to go."
"Thank you--no, I didn't get in until seven o'clock or so," answered
Allerdyke. "So I'd a quiet evening."
"No news, I suppose?" asked Fullaway, going vigorously forward with his
breakfast. "Heard nothing from the police authorities?"
"Nothing," replied Allerdyke. "I suppose they're doing things in their
own way, as usual."
"Just so," assented Fullaway. "Well, it's an odd thing to me that nobody
comes forward to make some sort of a shot at that reward! Most
extraordinary that the man of the Eastbourne Terrace affair should have
been able to get clean away without anybody in London having seen him--or
at any rate that the people who must have seen him are unable to connect
him with the murder of that woman. Extraordinary!"
"It's all extraordinary," said Allerdyke. He took up a newspaper which
Fullaway had thrown down and began to talk of some subject that caught
his eye, until Fullaway rose, pleaded business, and went off to his rooms
upstairs. When he had gone Allerdyke reconsidered matters. So Fullaway
had been out the night before, had he--dining out, and at a theatre?
Then, of course, it would be quite midnight before he got in. Therefore,
presumably, he did not know that his secretary was about his rooms--and
entering and leaving another suite close by. No--Fullaway knew
nothing--that seemed certain.
The remembrance of what he had seen sent Allerdyke, as soon as he had
breakfasted, to the hall of the hotel, and to the register of guests.
There was no one at the register at that moment, and he turned the pages
at his leisure until he came to what he wanted. And there it was--in
plain black and white--
NUMBER 53. MR. JOHN VAN KOON. NEW YORK CITY, U.S.A.
THE YOUNG MAN WHO LED PUGS
Allerdyke, with a gesture peculiar to him, thrust his hands in the
pockets of his trousers, strolled away from the desk on which the
register lay open, and going over to the hall door stood there a while,
staring out on the tide of life that rolled by, and listening to the
subdued rattle of the traffic in its ceaseless traverse of the Strand.
And as he stood in this apparently idle and purposeless lounging
attitude, he thought--thought of a certain birthday of his, a good thirty
years before, whereon a kind, elderly aunt had made him a present of a
box of puzzles. There were all sorts of puzzles in that box--things that
you had to put together, things that had to be arranged, things that had
to be adjusted. But there was one in particular which had taken his
youthful fancy, and had at the same time tried his youthful temper--a
shallow tray wherein were a vast quantity of all sorts and sizes of bits
of wood, gaily coloured. There were quite a hundred of those bits, and
you had to fit them one into the other. When, after much trying of
temper, much exercise of patience, you had accomplished the task, there
was a beautiful bit of mosaic work, a picture, a harmonious whole, lovely
to look upon, something worthy of the admiring approbation of uncles and
aunts, grandmothers and grandfathers. But--the doing of it!
"Naught, however, to this confounded thing!" mused Allerdyke, gazing at
and not seeing the folk on the broad sidewalk. "When all the bits of
this puzzle have been fitted into place I daresay one'll be able to look
down on it as a whole and say it looks simple enough when finished, but,
egad, they're of so many sorts and shapes and queer angles that they're
more than a bit difficult to fit at present. Now who the deuce is this
Van Koon, and what was that Mrs. Marlow, alias Miss Slade, doing in his
rooms last night when he was out?"
He was exercising his brains over a possible solution of this problem
when Fullaway suddenly appeared in the hall behind him, accompanied by a
man whom Allerdyke at once took to be the very individual about whom he
was speculating. He was a man of apparently forty years of age, of
average height and build, of a full countenance, sallow in complexion,
clean-shaven, wearing gold-rimmed spectacles over a pair of sapphire blue
eyes--a shrewd, able-looking man, clad in the loose fitting, square-cut
garments just then affected by his fellow-countrymen, and having a
low-crowned, soft straw hat pulled down over his forehead. His hands were
thrust into the pockets of his jacket; a long, thin, black cigar stuck
out of a corner of his humorous-looking lips; he cocked an intelligent
eye at Allerdyke as he and Fullaway advanced to the door.
"Hullo, Allerdyke!" said Fullaway in his usual vivacious fashion.
"Viewing the prospect o'er, eh? Allow me to introduce Mr. Van Koon, whom
I don't think you've met, though he's under the same roof. Van Koon, this
is the Mr. Allerdyke I've mentioned to you."
The two men shook hands and stared at each other. Whoever and whatever
this man may be, thought Allerdyke, he gives you a straight look and a
good grip--two characteristics which in his opinion went far to establish
any unknown individual's honesty.
"No," remarked Van Koon. "I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Mr.
Allerdyke before. But I'm out a great deal--I don't spend much time
indoors this fine weather. You gentlemen know your London well--I don't,
and I'm putting in all the time I can to cultivate her acquaintance."
"Been in town long?" asked Allerdyke, wanting to say something and
impelled to this apparently trite question by the New Yorker's own
"Since the first week in April," answered Van Koon, "And as this is my
first visit to England, I'm endeavouring to do everything well. Fullaway
tells me, Mr. Allerdyke, that you come from Bradford, the big
manufacturing city up north. Well, now, Bradford is one of the places on
my list--hullo!" he exclaimed, breaking off short. "I guess here's a man
who's wanting you, Fullaway, in a considerable bit of a hurry."
Fullaway and Allerdyke looked out on to the pavement and saw Blindway,
who had just jumped out of a taxi-cab, and was advancing upon them. He
came up and addressed them jointly--would they go back with him at once
to New Scotland Yard?--the chief wanted to see them for a few minutes.
"Come on, Allerdyke," said Fullaway. "We'd better go at once. Van Koon,"
he continued, turning to his compatriot, "do me a favour--just look in at
my rooms upstairs, and tell Mrs. Marlow, if she's come--she hadn't
arrived when I was up there ten minutes ago--that I'm called out for an
hour or so--ask her to attend to anything that turns up until I come
back--shan't be long."
Van Koon nodded and walked back into the hotel, while Allerdyke and
Fullaway joined the detective in the cab and set out westward.
"What is it?" asked Fullaway. "Something new?"
"Can't say, exactly," replied Blindway. "The chief's got some woman there
who thinks she can tell something about the French maid, so he sent me
for you, and he's sent another man for Miss Lennard. It may be something
good; it mayn't. Otherwise," he concluded with a shake of the head that
was almost dismal, "otherwise, I don't know of anything new. Never knew
of a case in my life, gentlemen, in which less turned up than's turning
up in this affair! And fifty thousand pounds going a-begging!"
"I suppose this woman's after it," remarked Fullaway. "You didn't hear of
anything she had to tell?"
"Nothing," answered Blindway. "You'll hear it in a minute or two."
He took them straight up into the same room, and the same official whom
they had previously seen, and who now sat at his desk with Celia Lennard
on one side of him, and a middle-aged woman, evidently of the poorer
classes, on the other. Allerdyke and Fullaway, after a brief interchange
of salutations with the official and the prima donna, looked at the
stranger--a quiet, respectably-dressed woman who united a natural shyness
with an evident determination to go through with the business that had
brought her there. She was just the sort of woman who can be seen by the
hundred--laundress, seamstress, charwoman, caretaker, got up in her
Sunday best. Odd, indeed, it would be, thought Allerdyke, if this quiet,
humble-looking creature should give information which would place fifty
thousand pounds at her command!
"This is Mrs. Perrigo," said the chief pleasantly, as he motioned the two
men to chairs near Celia's and beckoned Blindway to his side. "Mrs.
Perrigo, of--where is it, ma'am?"
"I live in Alpha Place, off Park Street, sir," announced Mrs. Perrigo,
in a small, quiet voice. "Number 14, sir. I'm a clear-starcher by
"Put that down, Blindway," said the chief, "and take a note of what Mrs.
Perrigo tells us. Now, Mrs. Perrigo, you think you've seen the dead
woman, Lisette Beaurepaire, at some time or another, in company with a
young man? Where and when was this?"
"Well, three times, sir. Three times that I'm certain of--there was
another time that I wasn't certain about; at least, that I'm not certain
about now. If I could just tell you about it in my way, sir--"
"Certainly--certainly, Mrs. Perrigo! Exactly what I wish. Tell us all
about it in your own way. Take your own time."
"Well, sir, it 'ud be, as near as I can fix it, about the middle of
March--two months ago, sir," began Mrs. Perrigo. "You see, I had the
misfortune to burn my right hand very badly, sir, and having to put my
work aside, and it being nice weather, and warm for the time of year, I
used to go and sit in Kensington Gardens a good deal, which, of course,
was when I see this young lady whose picture's been in the paper of
"A moment, Mrs. Perrigo," interrupted the official. "Miss Lennard, it
will simplify matters considerably if I ask you a question. Were you and
your late maid in town about the time Mrs. Perrigo speaks of--the middle
"Yes," replied Celia promptly. "We were here from March 3rd, when we came
back from the Continent, to March 29th, when we left for Russia."
"Continue, Mrs. Perrigo, if you please," said the official. "Take your
time--tell things your own way."
"Yes, sir," said Mrs. Perrigo dutifully. "If you please, sir. Well,
when I see those pictures in the papers--several papers, sir--of the
young lady with the foreign name I says to myself, and to my neighbour,
Mrs. Watson, which is all I ever talk much to, 'That,' I says, 'is the
young woman I see in Kensington Gardens a time or two and remarks of for
her elegant figure and smart air in general--I could have picked her out
from a thousand,' I says. Which there was, and is a particular spot,
sir, in Kensington Gardens where I used to sit, and you pays a penny for
a chair, which I did, and there's other chairs about, near a fallen
tree, which is still there, for I went to make sure last night, and
there, on three afternoons while I was there, this young lady came at
about, say, four o'clock each time, and was met by this here young man
what I don't remember as clear as I remember her, me not taking so much
notice of him. And--"
"Another moment, Mrs. Perrigo." The chief turned again to Celia. "Did
your maid ever go out in the afternoons about that time?" he asked.
"Probably every afternoon," replied Celia. "I myself was away from London
from the 11th to the 18th of March, staying with friends in the country.
I didn't take her with me--so, of course, she'd nothing to do but follow
her own inclinations."
The chief turned to Mrs. Perrigo again.
"Yes?" he said. "You saw the young woman whose photograph you have seen
in the papers meet a young man in Kensington Gardens on three separate
"Three separate occasions, close by--on penny chairs, sir, where they sat
and talked foreign, which I didn't understand--and on another occasion,
when I see 'em walking by the Round Pond, me being at some distance, but
recognizing her by her elegant figure. I took particular notice of the
young woman's face, sir, me being a noticing person, and I'll take my
dying oath, if need be, that this here picture is hers!"
Mrs. Perrigo here produced a much worn and crumpled illustrated newspaper
and laid her hand solemnly upon it. That done, she shook her head.
"But I ain't so certain about the young man as met her," she said
sorrowfully. "Him I did not notice with such attention, being, as I say,
more attracted to her. All the same, he was a young man--and spoke the
same foreign language as what she did. Of them facts, sure I am, sir."
"They sat near you, Mrs. Perrigo?"
"As near, sir, as I am now to that lady. And paid their pennies for their
chairs in my presence; leastways, the young man paid. Always the same
place it was, and always the same time--three days all within a week, and
then the day when I see 'em walking at a distance."
"Can't you remember anything about the young man, Mrs. Perrigo?" asked
the chief. "Come!--try to think. That is the really important thing.
You must have some recollection of him, you know, some idea of what he
Mrs. Perrigo took a corner of her shawl between her fingers and proceeded
to fold and pleat it while she thoughtfully fixed her eyes on Blindway's
unmoved countenance, as if to find inspiration there. And after a time
she nodded her head as though memory had stirred within her.
"Which every time I see him," she said, with an evident quickening of
interest, "he had two of them dogs with him what has turned-up noses and
"Pugs?" suggested the chief.
"No doubt that is their name, sir, but unbeknown to me as I never kept
such an animal," answered Mrs. Perrigo. "My meaning being clear, no
doubt, and there being no mistaking of 'em--their tails and noses being
of that order. And had 'em always on a chain--gentlemen's dogs you could
see they was, and carefully looked after with blue bows at the back of
their necks, same as if they was Christians. And him, I should say,
speaking from memory, a dark young man--such is my recollection."
"It comes to this," remarked the chief, looking at the three listeners
with a smile. "Mrs. Perrigo says that she is certain that upon three
occasions about the middle of March last she witnessed meetings at a
particular spot in Kensington Gardens between a young woman answering the
description and photographs of Lisette Beaurepaire and a young man of
whom she cannot definitely remember anything except that she thinks he
was dark, spoke a foreign language, and was in charge of two pug dogs
which wore blue ribbons. That's it, isn't it, Mrs. Perrigo?"
"And willing to take my solemn oath of the same whenever convenient,
sir," replied Mrs. Perrigo. "And if so be as what I've told you should
lead to anything, gentlemen--and lady--I can assure you that me being a
poor widow, and--"
Five minutes later, Mrs. Perrigo, with some present reward in her pocket,
was walking quietly up Whitehall with a composed countenance, while
Allerdyke, already late for his Gresham Street appointment, sped towards
the City as fast as a hastily chartered taxi-cab could carry him. And
all the way thither, being alone, he repeated certain words over and
"A dark young man who led two pugs--a dark young man who led two pugs!
With blue ribbons on their necks--with blue ribbons on their necks, same
It was half-past eleven when Allerdyke reached Gresham Street: by
half-past one, so curiously and rapidly did events crowd upon each other,
he was in a state of complete mental confusion. He sat down to lunch that
day feeling as a man feels who has lost his way in an unknown country in
the midst of a blinding mist; as a weaver might feel who is at work on an
intricate pattern and suddenly finds all his threads inextricably mixed
up and tangled. Instead of things getting better and clearer, that
morning's work made them more hopelessly muddled.
Chettle was hanging about the door of the warehouse when Allerdyke drove
up. His usually sly look was accentuated that morning, and as soon as
Allerdyke stepped from his cab he drew him aside with a meaning gesture.
"A word or two before we go in, Mr. Allerdyke," he said as they walked a
few steps along the street. "Look here, sir," he went on in a whisper.
"I've been reflecting on things since I saw you last night. Of course,
I'm supposed to be in Hull, you know. But I shall have to report myself
at the Yard this morning--can't avoid that. And I shall have to tell
them why I came up. Now, it's here, Mr. Allerdyke--how much or how
little shall I tell 'em? What I mean sir, is this--do you want to keep
any of this recently acquired knowledge to yourself? Of course, if you
do--well, I needn't tell any more there--at headquarters--than you wish
me to tell. I can easy make excuse for coming up. And, of course, in
"Well!" demanded Allerdyke impatiently. "What then?"
Chettle gave him another look of suggestive meaning, and taking off his
square felt hat, wiped his forehead with a big coloured handkerchief.
"Well, of course, Mr. Allerdyke," he said insinuatingly. "Of course, sir,
I'm a poor man, and I've a rising family that I want to do my best for. I
could do with a substantial amount of that reward, you know, Mr.
Allerdyke. We've all a right to do the best we can for ourselves, sir.
And if you're wanting to, follow this affair out on your own, sir,
independent of the police--eh?"
Allerdyke's sense of duty arose in strong protest against this very
palpable suggestion. He shook his head.
"No--no!" he said. "That won't do, Chettle. You must do your duty to your
superiors. You'll find that you'll be all right. If the police solve this
affair, that reward'll go to the police, and you'll get your proper
share. No--no underhand work. You make your report in your ordinary way.
No more of that!"
"Aye, but do you understand, Mr. Allerdyke?" said the detective
anxiously. "Do you comprehend what it'll mean. You know very well that
there's a lot of red tape in our work--they go a great deal by rule and
precedent, as you might say. Now, if I go to the Yard--as I shall have
to, as soon as you've done with me--and tell the chief that I've found
this photo of your cousin in Lydenberg's watch, and that you're certain
that your cousin gave that particular photo to Mrs. Marlow, alias Miss
Slade, do you know what'll happen?"
"What?" asked Allerdyke.
"They'll arrest her within half an hour," answered Chettle.
"Well?" said Allerdyke. "And--what then!"
"Why, it'll probably upset the whole bag of tricks!" exclaimed Chettle.
"The thing'll be spoiled before we've properly worked it out. See?"
Allerdyke did see. He had sufficient knowledge of police matters to know
that Chettle was right, and that a too hasty step would probably ruin
everything. He turned towards the warehouse.
"Just so," he said. "I take your meaning. Now then, come in, and we'll
put it before my manager, Mr. Appleyard. I've great faith in his
judgment--let's see what he's got to say."
The two Gaffneys were waiting just within the packingroom of the
warehouse. Allerdyke bade them wait a little longer, and took the
detective straight into Appleyard's office. There, behind the closed
door, he told Appleyard of everything that had happened since their last
meeting, and of what Chettle had just said. The problem was, in view of
all that, of the mysterious proceedings of Mrs. Marlow the night before,
and of what Allerdyke had just heard at New Scotland Yard--what was best
to be done, severally and collectively, by all of them?
Ambler Appleyard grasped the situation at once and solved the problem in
a few direct words. There was no need whatever, he said, for Chettle to
do more than his plain duty, no need for him to exceed it. He was bound,
being what he was, to make his report about his discovery of the
photograph and the writing on it. That he must do. But he was not bound
to tell anything that Allerdyke had told him: he was not bound to give
information which Allerdyke had collected. Let Chettle go and tell the
plain facts about his own knowledge of the photo and leave Allerdyke,
for the moment, clean out of the question. Allerdyke himself could go
with his news in due course. And, wound up Appleyard, who had a keen
knowledge of human nature and saw deep into Chettle's mind, Mr. Allerdyke
would doubtless see that Chettle lost nothing by holding his tongue about
anything that wasn't exactly ripe for discussion. At present, he
repeated, let Chettle do his duty--not exceed it.
"That's it," agreed Allerdyke. "You've hit it, Ambler. You go and tell
what you know of your own knowledge," he went on, turning to Chettle.
"Leave me clean out for the time being. I'll come in at the right moment.
Say naught about me or of what I've told you. And if you're sent back to
Hull, just contrive to see me before you go. And, as Mr. Appleyard says,
I'll see you're all right, anyhow."
When Chettle had gone, Allerdyke closed the door on him and turned to his
manager with a knowing look.
"That chap's right, you know, Ambler," he said. "A false move, a too
hasty step'll ruin everything. If that woman's startled--if she gets a
suspicion--egad, it's all mixed up about as badly as can be! Now, about
"Wait a while," said Appleyard. "I don't know that we want their services
just yet. I've found out a thing or two that may be useful. About this
man Rayner now, who's in evident close touch with Miss Slade (by the by,
you saw her at the Waldorf at half-past eleven last night, and I saw her
come into the Pompadour at half-past twelve, with Rayner), and about whom
we accordingly want to know something--I've found out, through ordinary
business channels, that he does carry on a business at Clytemnestra
House, in Arundel Street, under the name of Gavin Ramsay. And--if we want
to know more of him--I've an idea. You go and see him, Mr. Allerdyke--on
"I? Business?" exclaimed Allerdyke. "What sort of business?"
"He's an inventor's agent," replied Appleyard. "It's a profession I never
heard of before, but he seems to act as a go-between. Folks that have got
an invention go to him--he helps 'em about it--helps 'em to perfect it,
patent it, get it on the market. You've a good excuse--there's that
patent railway chair of your man Gankrodgers, been lying there in that
corner for the past year, and you promised Gankrodgers you'd help him
about it. Put it in a cab and go to this Rayner, or Ramsay--there's your
excuse, and you can say you heard of him in the City, from
Wilmingtons--it was they who told me what he was. It's a good notion, Mr.
"What object?" asked Allerdyke.
"Simply to get a look at him," replied Appleyard. "Look here--you know
very well that there's a strong suspicion against Miss Slade. Miss Slade,
to my knowledge, is in close touch, with Rayner. Therefore, let's know
what we can about Rayner. You're the man to go and see him at his own
place. Do it--and we'll consider the question of having him watched by
the two Gaffneys when you've seen and talked to him."
Allerdyke considered this somewhat strange proposal in silence for a
while. At last he rose with a look of decision.
"Well, I've certainly a good excuse," he said. "Here, have that thing
packed up and put in a cab--I'll go."
Half an hour later he found himself shown into a smartly furnished office
where Mr. Gavin Ramsay sat at a handsome desk surrounded by shelves and
cabinets whereon and wherein were set out the products of the brains of
many inventors--models of machines, mechanical toys, labour-saving
notions, things plainly useful, things obviously extravagant. The
occupant of this museum glanced at Allerdyke and the box which he carried
with an amused smile, and Allerdyke said to himself that Appleyard was
right in his description--if the man was crippled and deformed he
certainly possessed a beautiful face.
"Mr. Marshall Allerdyke," said the hope of inventors, glancing at the
card which his visitor had sent in.
"The same, sir," replied Allerdyke, setting down his box. "Mr. Ramsay, I
presume? I heard of you, Mr. Ramsay, through Wilmingtons, in the City;
heard you can be of great use to inventors. I have here," he continued,
opening the box, "a railway chair, invented by one of my workmen, a
clever fellow. You see, it 'ud do away with the present system of putting
wooden blocks in the chairs now used--this would fasten the sleepers and
rails together automatically. It is patented--provisionally protected,
anyhow--but my man's never got a railway company to try it, so far. Think
you can do anything, Mr. Ramsay?"
The hunchback got up from his desk, took the invention out of its box,
and carefully inspected it, asking Allerdyke a few shrewd questions about
the thing's possibilities which showed the caller that he knew what he
was talking about. Then he sat down again and went into business details
in a way which impressed Allerdyke--clearly this man, whoever he was, and
whatever mystery might attach to him, was a smart individual. Also he had
a frank, direct way of talking which gave his visitor a very good first
opinion of him.
"Very well, Mr. Allerdyke," he said, in conclusion. "Leave the thing
with me, and I will see what I can do. As I say, the proper course will
be to get it tried on one of the smaller railway lines--if it answers
there, we can, perhaps, induce one of the bigger companies to take it up.
I'll do my best."
Allerdyke thanked him and rose. He had certainly done something for his
man Gankrodgers, and he had seen Ramsay, or Rayner, at close quarters,
but--Ramsay was speaking again. He had picked up Allerdyke's card, and
glanced from it to its presenter, half shyly.
"You're the cousin of the Mr. Allerdyke whose name's been in the papers
so much in connection with this murder and robbery affair, I suppose?" he
said. "I've seen your own name, of course, in the various accounts."
"I am," replied Allerdyke. He had moved towards the door, but he turned
and looked at his questioner. "You followed it, then?" he asked.
"Yes," assented Ramsay. "Closely. A curiously intricate case."
"Any solution of it present itself to your mind?" asked Allerdyke in his
brusque, downright fashion. "Got any theory?"
Ramsay smiled and shook his finely shaped head. He, too, rose, walking
towards the door.
"It's a little early for that, isn't it?" he said. "I've studied these
affairs--criminology, you know--for many years. In my opinion, it's a
mistake to be too hasty in trying to arrive at solutions. But," he added,
with a shrug of his misshapen shoulders, "it's always the way of the
police, and of most folk who try to get at the truth. Things that are
deep down need some deep digging for!"
"There's the question of the present whereabouts of nearly three
hundred thousand pounds' worth of jewels," remarked Allerdyke grimly.
"Quite so," agreed Ramsay. "But--your own particular and personal desire,
as I gather from the newspapers, is to find the murderer of your cousin?"
"Ah!" said Allerdyke. "And it is! Got any ideas on that point?"
Ramsay smiled as he opened the door.
"I think," he said, with a quiet significance. "I think that you'll be
having all this mystery explained and cleared up all of a sudden, Mr.
Allerdyke, in a way that'll surprise you. These things are like
warfare--there's a sudden turn of events, a sudden big event just when
you're not expecting it. Well, good-bye--thank you for giving me a chance
with your man's invention."
Allerdyke found himself walking up Arundel Street before he had quite
realized that this curious interview was over. At the top he paused,
staring vacantly at the folk who passed and repassed along the Strand.
"I'd lay a pound to a penny that chap's all right," he muttered to
himself. "He's not a wrong 'un--unless he's damned deceitful! All the
same, he knows something! What? My conscience!--was there ever such a
confounded muddle in this world as this is!"
But the muddle was a deeper one within the next few minutes. He crossed
over to his hotel, and as he was entering he met Mrs. Marlow coming out,
fresh, dainty, charming, as usual. She stopped at sight of him and held
up the little hand-bag which hung from her wrist.
"Oh, Mr. Allerdyke!" she said, opening the bag and taking an envelope
from it. "I've something for you. See--here's the photograph your cousin
gave me. You were wrong, you see--there's no spot in it--it's a
particularly clear print. Look!"
In Allerdyke's big palm she laid the very photograph which, according to
all his reckoning, was that which Chettle had found within the cover of
THE POSSIBLE DEATH WARRANT
"Quite a clear print, you see," repeated Mrs. Marlow brightly. "No spot
there. You must have been thinking of another."
"Aye, just so," replied Allerdyke absentmindedly. "Another, yes, of
course. Aye, to be sure--you're right. No spot on that, certainly."
He was talking aimlessly, confusedly, as he turned the print over in his
hand, examining it back and front. And having no excuse for keeping it,
he handed it back with a keen look at its owner. What the devil, he asked
himself, was this mysterious woman playing at?
"I'm going to have this mounted and framed," said Mrs. Marlow, as she put
the photograph back in her bag and turned to go. "I misplaced it some
time ago and couldn't lay hands on it, but I came across it by accident
this morning, so now I'll take care of it."
She nodded, smiled, and went off into the sunlight outside, and
Allerdyke, more puzzled than ever, walked forward into the hotel and
towards the restaurant. At its door he met Fullaway, coming out, and in
his usual hurry.
Fullaway started at sight of Allerdyke, button-holed him, and led him
into a corner.
"Oh, I say, Allerdyke!" he said, in his bustling fashion. "Look here, a
word with you. You've no objection, have you?" he went on in subdued
tones, "if Van Koon and I have a try for that reward? It doesn't matter
to you, or to the Princess, or to Miss Lennard, who gets the reward so
long as the criminals are brought to justice and the goods found--eh? And
you know fifty thousand is--what it is."
"You've got an idea?" asked Allerdyke, regarding his questioner steadily.
"Frankly, yes--an idea--a notion," answered Fullaway. "Van Koon and I
have been discussing the whole affair--just now. He's a smart man, and
has had experience in these things on the other side. But, of course, we
don't want to give our idea away. We want to work in entire independence
of the police, for instance. What we're thinking of requires patience and
deep investigation. So we want to work on our own methods. See?"
"It doesn't matter to me who gets the reward--as you say," said Allerdyke
slowly. "I want justice. I'm not so much concerned about the jewels as
about who killed my cousin. I believe that man Lydenberg did the actual
killing--but who was at Lydenberg's back? Find that out, and--"
"Exactly--exactly!" broke in Fullaway. "The very thing! Well--you
understand, Allerdyke. Van Koon and I will want to keep our operations to
ourselves. We don't want police interference. So, if any of these
Scotland Yard chaps come to you here for talk or information, don't bring
me into it. And don't expect me to tell what we're doing until we've
carried out our investigations. No interim reports, you know, Allerdyke.
Personally, I believe we're on the track."
"Do just what you please," replied Allerdyke. "You're not the only two
who are after that reward. Go ahead--your own way."
He turned into the restaurant and ordered his lunch, and while it was
being brought sat drumming his fingers on the table, staring vacantly at
the people about him and wondering over the events of the morning.
Rayner's, or Ramsay's, vague hint that something might suddenly clear
everything up; Fullaway's announcement that he and Van Koon had put their
heads together; Mrs. Perrigo's story of the French maid and the young man
who led blue-ribboned pug-dogs--but all these were as nothing compared to
the fact that Mrs. Marlow had actually shown him the photograph which he
had until then firmly believed to lie hidden in the case of Lydenberg's
watch. That beat him.
"Is my blessed memory going wrong?" he said to himself. "Did I actually
print more than four copies of that thing! No--no!--I'm shot if I did.
My memory never fails. I did not print off more than four. James had
three; I had one. Mine's in my album upstairs. I know what James did
with his. Cousin Grace has one; Wilson Firth has another; he gave the
third to this Mrs. Marlow--and she's got it! Then--how the devil did
that photograph, which looks to be of my taking, which I'd swear is of
my taking, come to be in Lydenberg's watch? Gad--it's enough to make a
man's brain turn to pap!"
He was moodily finishing his lunch when Chettle came in to find him.
Allerdyke, who was in a quiet corner, beckoned the detective to a seat,
and offered him a drink.
"Well?" he asked. "What's been done?"
"It's all right," answered Chettle. "I've told no more than was
necessary--just what we agreed upon. To tell you the truth, our folks
don't attach such tremendous importance to it--they will, of course, when
you tell them your story about the photo. Just at present they merely see
the obvious fact--that Lydenberg was furnished with the photo as a means
of ready identification of your brother. No--at this moment they're full
of the Perrigo woman's story--they think that's a sure clue--a good
beginning. Somebody, they say, must own, or have owned, those pugs!
Therefore they're going strong on that. Meanwhile, I'm going back to Hull
for at any rate a few days."
"You've still got that watch on you?" asked Allerdyke.
"Certainly," answered Chettle, clapping his hand to his breast-pocket.
"Technically speaking, it's in charge of the Hull police--it'll have to
be produced there. Did you want to see it again, Mr. Allerdyke?"
"Finish your drink and come up to my sitting-room," said Allerdyke. "I'll
give you a cigar up there. Yes," he added, as they left the restaurant
and went upstairs. "I do want to see it again--or, rather, the
photograph. You're in no hurry?"
"A good hour to spare yet," replied Chettle.
Allerdyke locked the door of the sitting-room when they were once inside
it, and that done he placed a decanter, a syphon, and a glass on his
table, and flanked them with a box of cigars. He waved a hospitable hand
towards these comforts.
"Sit down and help yourself, Chettle," he said. "A drop of my whisky'll
do you no harm--that's some I got down from home, and you'll not find its
like everywhere. Light a cigar--and put a couple in your pocket to smoke
in the train. Now then, let's see that photograph once more."
Chettle handed over the watch, and Allerdyke, opening the case,
delicately removed the print. He sat down at the table with his back to
the light, and carefully examined the thing back and front, while the
detective, glass in hand, cigar in lips, and thumb in the armhole of his
waistcoat, watched him appreciatively and inquisitively.
"Make aught new out of it, sir?" he asked after a while.
Instead of answering, Allerdyke laid the photograph down, went across to
another table, and took from it his album. He turned its leaves over
until he came to a few loose prints. He picked them up one after another
and examined them. And suddenly he knew the secret. There was no longer
any problem, any difficulty about that photograph. He knew--now! And with
a sharp exclamation, he flung the album back to the side-table, and
turned to the detective.
"Chettle!" he said. "You know me well enough to know that I can make it
well worth any man's while to keep a secret until I tell him he can speak
about it! What!"
"I should think so, Mr. Allerdyke," responded Chettle, readily enough.
"And if you want me to keep a secret--"
"I do--for the time being," answered Allerdyke. He sat down again and
picked up the photograph which had exercised his thoughts so intensely.
"I've found out the truth concerning this," he said, tapping it with his
finger. "Yes, I've hit it! Listen, now--I told you I'd only made four
prints of this photo, and that I knew exactly where they all were--one in
my own album there, two given by James to friends in Bradford, one--as we
more recently found out--given by James to Mrs. Marlow. That one--the
Mrs. Marlow one--we believed to be--this--this!"
"And isn't it, Mr. Allerdyke?" asked Chettle wonderingly.
Allerdyke laughed--a laugh of relief and satisfaction.
"Less than an hour ago," he replied, "in fact, just before you came in,
Mrs. Marlow showed me the photo which James gave her--showed it to me,
out below there in the hall. No mistaking it! And so--when you came, I
was racking my brains to rags trying to settle what this
photo--this!--was. And now I know what it is--and damn me if I know
whether the discovery makes things plainer or more mixed up! But--I know
what this is, anyway."
"And--what is it, sir?" asked Chettle eagerly, eyeing the photo as if it
were some fearful living curiosity. "What, Mr. Allerdyke?"
"Why, it's a photograph of my photograph!" almost shouted Allerdyke, with
a thump of his big hand on the table. "That's the truth. This has been
reproduced from mine, d'ye see? Look here--happen you don't know much
about photography, but you'll follow me--I always use a certain sort of
printing-out paper; I've stuck to one particular sort for years--all the
photos in that album are done on that particular sort. The four prints I
made of James's last photo were done on that paper. Now then--this photo,
this print that you found in Lydenberg's watch, is not done on that
paper--it's a totally different paper. Therefore--this is a reproduction!
It is not my original print at all--it's been copied from it. See?"
Chettle, who had followed all this with concentrated attention, nodded
his head several times.
"Clever--clever--clever!" he said with undisguised admiration. "Clever,
indeed! That's a smart bit of work, sir. I see--I understand! Bless my
soul! And what do you gather from that, Mr. Allerdyke?"
"This!" answered Allerdyke. "Just now, Mrs. Marlow said to me, speaking
of her photo--the fourth print, you know--'I misplaced it some time
ago,' she said, 'and couldn't lay hands on it, but I came across it
accidentally this morning.' Now then, Chettle, here's the thing--somebody
took that fourth print from Mrs. Marlow, reproduced it--and that--that
print which you found in Lydenberg's watch is the reproduction!"
"So that," began Chettle suggestively, "so that--"
"So that the thing now is to find who it is that made the reproduction,"
said Allerdyke. "When we've found him--or her--I reckon we shall have
found the man who's at the heart of all this. Leave that to me! Keep this
a dead secret until I tell you to speak--we shall have to tell all this,
and a bonny sight more, to your bosses at headquarters--off you go to
Hull, and do what you have to do, and I'll get on with my work here. I
said I didn't know whether this discovery makes things thicker or
clearer, but, by George, it's a step forward anyway!"
Chettle put the reproduction back into the case of the watch and bestowed
it safely in his pocket.
"One step forward's a good deal in a case like this, Mr. Allerdyke," he
said. "What are you going to do about the next step, now?"
"Try to find out who made that reproduction," replied Allerdyke bluntly.
"No easy job, either! The ground's continually shifting and changing
under one's very feet. But I don't mind telling you my present
theory--somebody's got information of that jewel deal from Fullaway's
office, somebody who had access to his papers, somebody who managed to
steal that photo of mine from Mrs. Marlow for a few days or until they
could reproduce it. What I want to find now is--an idea of that somebody.
And--I'll get it!--I'll move heaven and earth to get it! But--other
matters. You say your folks at the Yard are going to follow up that
Perrigo woman's clue? They think it important, then?"
"In the case of the Frenchwoman, yes," answered Chettle. He thrust his
hand into a side-pocket and brought out a crumpled paper. "Here's a proof
of the bill they're getting out," he said. "They set to work on that as
soon as they'd got the information. That'll be up outside every
police-station in a few hours, and it's gone out to the Press, too."
Allerdyke took the proof, still damp from the machine, and looked it
over. It asked, in the usual formal language, for any information about a
young man, dark, presumably a foreigner, who, about the middle of March,
was in the habit of taking two pug dogs, generally bedecked with blue
ribbons, into Kensington Gardens.
"There ought to be some response to that, you know, Mr. Allerdyke,"
remarked Chettle. "Somebody must remember and know something about that
young fellow. But, upon my soul, as I said to Blindway just now, I don't
know whether that bill's a mere advertisement or a--death warrant!"
"Death warrant!" exclaimed Allerdyke. "What d'you mean?"
Chettle chuckled knowingly.