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The Rayner-Slade Amalgamation by J. S. Fletcher

Part 4 out of 5

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"Mean," he said. "Why, this--if that young fellow who led pugs about, and
talked to Mamselle Lisette in Kensington Gardens, is another of the cat's
paws that this gang evidently made use of, I should say that when the
gang sees he's being searched for, they'll out him, just as they outed
her and Lydenberg. That's what I mean, Mr. Allerdyke--they'll do him in
themselves before anybody else can get at him! See?"

Allerdyke saw. And when the detective had gone, he threw himself into a
chair, lighted one of his strongest cigars, drew pen, ink, and paper to
him, and began to work at his problem with a grim determination to evolve
at any rate a clear theory of its possible solution.



Next morning, as Allerdyke was leaving the hotel with the intention of
going down to Gresham Street, one of the hall-porters ran after and
hailed him.

"You're wanted at the telephone, sir," he said. "Call for you just
come through."

Allerdyke went back, to find himself hailed by Blindway. Would he drive
on to the Yard at once and bring Mr. Fullaway with him?--both were
wanted, particularly in connection with the Perrigo information.

Allerdyke promised for himself, and went upstairs to find Fullaway. He
met him coming down, and gave him the message. Fullaway looked undecided.

"You know what I told you yesterday, Allerdyke," he said. "I didn't want
to be bothered further with these police chaps. Van Koon and I are on a
line of our own, and--"

"As you like," interrupted Allerdyke, "but all the same, if I were in
your place I shouldn't refuse a chance of acquiring information. Even if
you don't want to tell the police anything, that's no reason why you
shouldn't learn something from them."

"There's that in it, certainly," assented Fullaway. "All right. You get a
taxi and I'll join you in a minute or two."

As they got out of one cab at the police headquarters Celia Lennard
appeared in another. She made a little grimace as the two men
greeted her.

"Again!" she exclaimed, "What are we going to be treated to now? More old
women with vague stories, I suppose. What good is it at all? And when am
I going to hear something about my jewels?"

"You never know what you're going to hear when you visit these palatial
halls," answered Fullaway. "You may be going to have the biggest surprise
of your life, you know. They sent for you?"

"Rang me up in the middle of my breakfast," answered Celia. "Well--let's
find out what new sensation this is. Some extraordinary creature on view
again, of course."

The creature on view proved to be a little fat man, obviously French or
Swiss, who sat, his rotund figure tightly enveloped in a frock-coat, the
lapel of which was decorated with a bit of ribbon, on the edge of a chair
facing the chief's desk. He was a nervous, alert little man; his
carefully trimmed moustache and pointed beard quivered with excitement;
his dark eyes blazed. And at sight of the elegantly attired lady he
bounced out of his chair, swept his silk hat to the ground, and executed
a deep bow of the most extreme politeness.

"This," observed the chief, with a smile at his visitors, "is Monsieur
Aristide Bonnechose. M. Bonnechose believes that he can tell us
something. It is a supplement to what Mrs. Perrigo told us yesterday. It
relates, of course to the young man whom Mrs. Perrigo told us of--the
young man who led pugs in Kensington Gardens."

"The pogs of Madame, my spouse," said M. Bonnechose, with a bow and a
solemn expression. "Two pogs--Fifi and Chou-Chou."

"M. Bonnechose," continued the chief, regarding his company with yet
another smile, "is the proprietor of a--what is your establishment,

"Cafe-restaurant, monsieur," replied M. Bonnechose, promptly and
politely. "Small, but elegant. Of my name, monsieur--the Cafe Bonnechose,
Oxford Street. Established nine years--I succeeded to a former
proprietor, Monsieur Jules, on his lamented decease."

"I think M. Bonnechose had better tell us his history in his own
fashion," remarked the chief, looking around. "You are aware, Mr.
Allerdyke, and you, too, Mr. Fullaway, and so I suppose are you Miss
Lennard, that after hearing what Mrs. Perrigo had to tell us I put out a
bill asking for information about the young man Mrs. Perrigo described,
and the matter was also mentioned in last night's and this morning's
papers. M. Bonnechose read about it in his newspaper, and so he came here
at once. He tells me that he knew a young man who was good enough during
the early spring, to occasionally take out Madame Bonnechose's prize dogs
for an airing. That seems to have been the same man referred to by Mrs.
Perrigo. Now, M. Bonnechose, give us the details."

M. Bonnechose set down his tall, very Parisian hat on the edge of
the chief's desk, and proceeded to use his hands in conjunction with
his tongue.

"With pleasure, monsieur," he responded. "It is this way, then. You will
comprehend that Madame, my spouse, and myself are of the busiest. We do
not keep a great staff; accordingly we have much to do ourselves.
Consequently we have not much time to go out, to take the air. Madame, my
spouse, she has a love for the dogs--she keeps two, Fifi and
Chou-Chou--pogs. What they call pedigree dogs--valuable. Beautiful
animals--but needing exercise. It is a trouble to Madame that they cannot
disport themselves more frequently. Now, about the beginning of this
spring, a young man--compatriot of my own--a Swiss from the Vaud
canton--he begins coming to my cafe. Sometimes he comes for his
lunch--sometimes he drops in, as they say, for a cup of coffee. We find
out, he and I, that we come from the same district. In the event, we
become friendly."

"This young man's name, M. Bonnechose?" asked the chief.

"What we knew him by--Federman," replied M. Bonnechose. "Carl Federman.
He told me he was looking out for a job as valet to a rich man. He had
been a waiter--somewhere in London--some hotel, I think--I did not pay
much attention. Anyway, while he was looking for his job he certainly had
plenty of money--plenty! He do himself very well with his
lunches--sometimes he come and have his dinner at night. We are not
expensive, you understand--nice lunch for two shillings, nice dinner for
three--nothing to him, that--he always carry plenty of money in his
pockets. Well, then, of course, having nothing to do, often he talks to
me and Madame. One day we talk of the pogs, then walking about the
establishment. He remarks that they are too fat. Madame sighs and says
the poor darlings do not get sufficient exercise. He is good-natured,
this Federman--he say at once 'I will exercise them--I, myself,' So he
come next day, like a good friend, Madame puts blue ribbons on the pogs,
and bids them behave nicely--away they go with Federman for the
excursion. Many days he thus takes them--to Hyde Park, to Kensington
Gardens--out of the neighbourliness, you understand. Madame is much
obliged to him--she regards him as a kind young man--eh? And then, all of
a sudden, we do not see Federman any more--no. Nor hear of him until
monsieur asks for news of him in the papers. I see that news last
night--Madame sees it! We start--we look at each other--we regard
ourselves with comprehension. We both make the same exclamation--'It is
Federman! He is wanted! He has done something!' Then Madame says,
'Aristide, in the morning, you will go to the police commissary,' I say
'It shall be done--we will have no mystery around the Cafe Bonnechose.'
Monsieur, I am here--and I have spoken!"

"And that is all you know, M. Bonnechose?" asked the chief.

"All, monsieur, absolutely all!"

"About when was it that this young man first came to your cafe, then?"

"About the beginning of March, or end of February, monsieur--it was the
beginning of the good weather, you understand."

"And he left off coming--when?"

"Beginning of April, monsieur--after that we never see him again. Often
we say to ourselves, 'Where is Federman?' The pogs, they look at the seat
which he was accustomed to take, as much as to ask the same question.
But," concluded M. Bonnechose, with a dismal shake of his close-cropped
head, and a spreading forth of his hands, "he never visit us no

"Now, listen, M. Bonnechose," said the chief; "did this man ever give you
any particulars about himself?"

"None but what I have told you, monsieur--and which I do not now

"Ever tell you where he lived in London---at the time he was
visiting you?"

"No, monsieur--never."

"Did he ever come to your place accompanied by anybody? Bring any
friends there?"

M. Bonnechose put himself into an attitude of deep thought. He remained
in it for a moment or two; then he exchanged it for one of joyful

"On one occasion, a lady!" he exclaimed. "A Frenchwoman. Tall--that is,
taller than is usual amongst Frenchwomen--slender--elegant. Dark--dark,
black eyes--not beautiful, you understand, but--engaging."

"Lisette!" muttered Celia.

"On only one occasion, you say, M. Bonnechose?" asked the chief.
"When was it?"

"About the time I speak of, monsieur. They came in one night--rather
late. They had a light supper--nothing much."

"He did not tell you who she was?"

"Not a word, monsieur! He was, as a rule, very secretive, this Federman,
saying little about his own affairs."

"You don't remember that he ever brought any one else there! No men, for

M. Bonnechose shook his head. Then, once again, his face brightened.

"No!" he said. "But once--just once--I saw Federman talking to a man in
the street--Shaftesbury Avenue. A clean-shaven man, well built, brown
hair--a Frenchman, I think. But, of course, a stranger to me."

The chief exchanged a glance with Allerdyke and Fullaway--both knew what
that glance meant. M. Bonnechose's description tallied remarkably with
that of the man who had gone to Eastbourne Terrace Hotel with Lisette

"A clean-shaven man, with brown hair, and well built, eh?" said the
chief. "And when--"

Just then an interruption came in the person of a man who entered the
room and gave evident signs of a desire to tell something to his
superior. The chief left his chair, went across to the door, and received
a communication which was evidently of considerable moment. He turned and
beckoned Blindway; the three went out of the room. Several minutes
passed; then the chief came back alone, and looked at his visitors with a
glance of significance.

"We have just got news of something that relates, I think, to the
very subject we were discussing," he said. "A young man has been found
dead in bed at a City hotel this morning under very suspicious
circumstances--circumstances very similar to those of the Eastbourne
Terrace affair. And," he went on, glancing at a scrap of paper which he
held in his hand, "the description of him very closely resembles that of
this man Federman. Of course, it's not an uncommon type, but--"

"Another of 'em!" exclaimed Allerdyke. He had suddenly remembered what
Chettle had said about the new bill being a possible death-warrant, and
the words started irrepressibly to his lips. "Good Lord!"

The chief gave him a quick glance; it seemed as if he instinctively
divined what was passing in Allerdyke's mind.

"I'm sorry to trouble you," he said, without referring to Allerdyke's
interruption, "but I'm afraid I must ask you--all of you--to run down to
this City hotel with me. We mustn't leave a stone unturned, and if any of
you can identify this man--"

"Oh, you don't want me, surely!" cried Celia. "Please let me off--I do so
hate that sort of thing!"

"Naturally," remarked the chief. "But I'm afraid I want you more than
any one, Miss Lennard--you and M. Bonnechose. Come--we'll go at
once--Blindway has gone down to get two cabs for us."

Blindway, M. Bonnechose, and Fullaway rode to the City in one cab; Celia,
Allerdyke, and the chief in another. Their journey came to an end in a
quiet old street near the Docks, and at the door of an old-fashioned
looking hotel. There was a much-worried landlord, and a detective or two,
and sundry police to meet them, and inquisitive eyes looked out of doors
and round corners as they went upstairs to a door which was guarded by
two constables. The chief turned to Celia with a word of encouragement.

"One look will answer the purpose," he said quietly. "But--look closely!"

The next moment all six were standing round a narrow bed on which was
laid out the dead body of a young man. The face, calm, composed, looked
more like that of a man who lay quietly and peacefully asleep than one
who had died under suspicious circumstances.

"Well?" asked the chief presently. "What do you say, Miss Lennard?"

Celia caught her breath.

"This--this is the man who came to Hull," she whispered. "The man, you
know, who called himself Lisette's brother. I knew him instantly."

"And you, M. Bonnechose?" said the chief. "Do you recognize him?"

The cafe-keeper, who had been making inarticulate murmurs of surprise and
grief, nodded.

"Federman!" he said. "Oh, yes, monsieur--Federman, without doubt.
Poor fellow!"

The chief turned to leave the room, saying quietly that that was all he
wished. But Fullaway, who had been staring moodily at the dead man,
suddenly stopped him. "Look here!" he said. "I know this man, too--but
not as Federman. I'm not mistaken about him, and I don't think Miss
Lennard or M. Bonnechose are, either. But I knew him as Fritz Ebers. He
acted as my valet at the Waldorf from the beginning of April to about the
end of the first week in May last. And--since we now know what we
do--it's my opinion that there--there in that dead man--is the last of
the puppets! The Frenchwoman--Lydenberg--now this fellow--all three got
rid of! Now, then--where's the man who pulled the strings! Where's the



The chief made no immediate reply to Fullaway's somewhat excited
outburst; he led his little party from the room, and in the corridor
turned to Celia and the cafe keeper.

"That's all, Miss Lennard, thank you," he said. "Sorry to have to ask you
to take part in these painful affairs, but it can't be helped. M.
Bonnechose, I'm obliged to you--you'll hear from me again very soon. In
the meantime, keep counsel--don't talk to anybody except Madame--no
gossiping with customers, you know. Mr. Allerdyke, will you see Miss
Lennard downstairs and into a cab, and then join Mr. Fullaway and me
again?--we must have a talk with the police and the hotel people."

When Allerdyke went back into the hotel he found Blindway waiting for him
at the door of a ground-floor room in which the chief, Fullaway, a City
police-inspector and a detective were already closeted with the landlord
and landlady. The landlord, a somewhat sullen individual, who appeared to
be greatly vexed and disconcerted by these events, was already being
questioned by the chief as to what he knew of the young man whose body
they had just seen, and he was replying somewhat testily.

"I know no more about him than I know of any chance customer," he was
saying when Allerdyke was ushered in by Blindway, who immediately closed
the door on this informal conclave. "You see what this house is?--a
second-class house for gentlemen having business in this part, round
about the Docks. We get a lot of commercial gentlemen, sea-faring men,
such-like. Lots of our customers are people who are going to foreign
places--Antwerp, Rotterdam, Hamburg, and so on--they put up here just for
the night, before sailing. I took this young man for one of that sort--in
fact, I think he made some inquiry about one of the boats."

"He did," affirmed the landlady. "He asked William, the head-waiter, what
time the Rotterdam steamer sailed this morning."

"And that's about all we know," continued the landlord. "I never took any
particular notice of him, and--"

"Just answer a few questions," said the chief, interrupting him quietly.
"We shall get at what we want to know more easily that way. What time did
this young man come to the hotel yesterday?"

The landlord turned to his wife with an expressive gesture.

"Ask her," he answered. "She looks after all that--I'm not so much in
the office."

"He came at seven o'clock last night," said the landlady. "I was in the
office, and I booked him and gave him his room--27."

"Was he alone?"

"Quite alone. He'd the suit-case that's upstairs in the room now, and an
overcoat and an umbrella."

"Of course," said the chief, "he gave you some name--some address?"

"He gave the name and address of Frank Herman, Walthamstow," replied the
landlady, opening a ledger which she had brought into the room. "There
you are--that's his writing."

The chief drew the book to him, glanced at the entry, and closed the book
again, keeping a finger in it.

"Well, what was seen of him during the evening!" he asked.

"Nothing much," replied the landlady. "He had his supper in the
coffee-room--a couple of chops and coffee. He was reading the papers in
the smoking-room until about half-past ten; I saw him myself going
upstairs between that and eleven. As I didn't see him about next morning
and as his breakfast wasn't booked, I asked where he was, and the
chambermaid said there was a card on his door saying that he wasn't to be
called till eleven."

"Where is that card?" asked the chief.

"It's here in this envelope," answered the landlady, who seemed to be
much more alert and much sharper of intellect than her husband. "I took
care of it when we found out what had happened. I suppose you'll take
charge of it?"

"If you please," answered the chief. He took the envelope, looked
inside it to make sure that the card was there, and turned to the
landlady again.

"Yes?" he said. "When you found out what had happened. Now, who did find
out what had happened?"

"Well," answered the landlady, "the chambermaid came down soon after
eleven, and said she couldn't get 27 to answer her knock. Of course, I
understood that he wanted to catch the Rotterdam boat which sailed about
noon, so I sent my husband up. And as he couldn't get any answer--"

"I went in with the chambermaid's key," broke in the landlord, "and there
he was--just as you've seen him--dead. And if you ask me, he was cold,
too--been dead some time, in my opinion."

"The surgeon said several hours--six or seven," remarked the inspector in
an aside to the chief. "Thought he'd been dead since four o'clock."

"No signs of anything in the room, I suppose?" asked the chief. "Nothing
disturbed, eh?"

"Nothing!" replied the landlord stolidly. "The room was as you'd expect
to find it; tidy enough. And nothing touched--as the police that were
called in at first can testify. They can swear as his money was all right
and his watch and chain all right--there'd been no robbery. And," he
added with resentful emphasis, "I don't care what you nor nobody
says!--'tain't no case of murder, this! It's suicide, that's what it is.
I don't want my house to get the name and character of a murder place! I
can't help it if a quiet-looking, apparently respectable young fellow
comes and suicides himself in my house--there's nobody can avoid that, as
I know of, but when it comes to murder--"

"No one has said anything about murder so far," interrupted the chief
quietly. "But since you suggest it, perhaps we'd better ask who you'd got
in the house last night." He opened the register at the page in which he
had kept his finger, and looked at the last entries. "I see that
three--no, four--people came in after this young man who called himself
Frank Herman. You booked them, I suppose?" he went on, turning to the
landlady. "Were they known to you?"

"Only one--that one, Mr. Peter Donaldson, Dundee," answered the
landlady. "He's the representative of a jute firm--he often comes here.
He's in the house now, or he was, an hour ago--he'll be here for two or
three days. Those two, Mr. and Mrs. Nielsen--they appeared to be
foreigners. They were here for the night, had breakfast early, and went
away by some boat--our porter carried their things to it. Quiet, elderly
folks, they were."

"And the fourth--John Barcombe, Manchester--you didn't know him?" asked
the chief, pointing to the last entry. "I see you gave him Number 29--two
doors from Herman."

"Yes," said the landlady. "No--I didn't know him. He came in about nine
o'clock and had some supper before he went up. He'd his breakfast at
eight o'clock this morning, and went away at once. Lots of our
customers do that--they're just in for bed and breakfast, and we
scarcely notice them."

"Did you notice this man--Barcombe?" asked the chief.

"Well, not particularly. But I've a fair recollection of him. A rather
pale, stiffish-built man, lightish brown hair and moustache, dressed in a
dark suit. He'd no luggage, and he paid me for supper, bed, and breakfast
when he booked his room," replied the landlady. "Quite a quiet,
respectable man--he said something about being unexpectedly obliged to
stop for the night, but I didn't pay any great attention."

The chief looked attentively at the open page of the register. Then he
drew the attention of those around him to the signature of John Barcombe.
It was a big, sprawling signature, all the letters sloping downward from
left to right, and being of an unusual size for a man.

"That looks to me like a feigned handwriting," he said. "However, note
this. You see that entry of Frank Herman? Observe his handwriting. Now
compare it with the writing on the card which was fixed on the door of
27--Herman's room. Look!"

He drew the card out of its envelope as he spoke and laid it beside the
entry in the register. And Marshall Allerdyke, bending over his shoulder
to look, almost cried out with astonishment, for the writing on the card
was certainly the same as that which Chettle had shown him on the
post-card found on Lydenberg, and on the back of the photograph of James
Allerdyke discovered in Lydenberg's watch. It was only by a big effort
that he checked the exclamation which was springing to his lips, and
stopped himself from snatching up the card from the table.

"You observe," said the chief quietly, "you can't fail to observe that
the writing in the register, is not the writing of the card pinned on the
door of Number 27. They are quite different. The writing of Frank Herman
in the register is in thick, stunted strokes; the writing on the card is
in thin, angular, what are commonly called crabbed strokes. Yet it is
supposed that Herman put that card outside his bedroom door. How is it,
then, that Herman's handwriting was thick and stunted when he registered
at seven o'clock and slender and a bit shaky when he wrote this card at,
say, half-past ten or eleven? Of course, Herman, or whatever his real
name is, never wrote the line on that card, and never pinned that card on
his door!"

The landlord opened his heavy lips and gasped: the landlady sighed with a
gradually awakening interest. Amidst a dead silence the chief went on
with his critical inspection of the handwriting.

"But now look at the signature of the man who called himself John
Barcombe, of Manchester. You will observe that he signed that name in a
great, sprawling hand across the page, and that the letters slope from
left to right, downward, instead of in the usually accepted fashion of
left to right, upward. Now at first sight there is no great similarity
in the writing of that entry in the register and that on the card--one is
rounded and sprawling, and the other is thin and precise. But there is
one remarkable and striking similarity. In the entry in the register
there are two a's--the a in Barcombe, the a in Manchester. On the one
line on the card found pinned to the door there are also two a's--the a
in please; the a in call. Now observe--whether the writing is big,
sprawling, thin, precise; feigned, obviously, in one case, natural, I
think, in the other, all those four a's are the same! This man has grown
so accustomed to making his a's after the Greek fashion--a--done in one
turn of the pen--that he has made them even in his feigned handwriting!
There's not a doubt, to my mind, that the card found on Herman's door was
written, and put on that door, by the man who registered as John
Barcombe. And," he added in an undertone to Allerdyke, "I've no doubt,
either, that he's the man of the Eastbourne Terrace affair."

The landlord had risen to his feet, and was scowling gloomily at

"Then you are making it out to be murder?" he exclaimed sulkily. "Just
what I expected! Never had police called in yet without 'em making
mountains out of molehills! Murder, indeed!--nothing but a case of
suicide, that's what I say. And as this is a temperance hotel, and not a
licensed house, I'll be obliged to you if you'll have that body taken
away to the mortuary--I shall be having the character of my place taken
away next, and then where shall I be I should like to know!"

He swung indignantly out of the room, and his wife, murmuring that it was
certainly very hard on innocent people that these things went on,
followed him. The police, giving no heed to these protests, proceeded to
examine the articles taken from the dead man's clothing. Whatever had
been the object of the murderer, it was certainly not robbery. There was
a purse and a pocket-book, containing a considerable amount of money in
gold and notes; a good watch and chain, and a ring or two of some value.

"Just the same circumstances as in the Eastbourne Terrace affair," said
the chief as he rose. "Well--the thing is to find that man. You've no
doubt whatever, Mr. Fullaway, that this dead man upstairs is the man you
knew as Ebers, a valet at your hotel?"

"None!" answered Fullaway emphatically. "None whatever. Lots of people
will be able to identify him."

"That's good, at any rate," remarked the chief. "It's a long step
towards--something. Well, I must go."

Allerdyke was in more than half a mind to draw the chief aside and tell
him about Chettle's discoveries as regards the handwriting, but while he
hesitated Fullaway tugged earnestly at his sleeve.

"Come away!" whispered Fullaway. "Come! We're going to cut in at this



Allerdyke was scarcely prepared for the feverish energy with which
Fullaway dragged him out of the hotel, forced him into the first taxi-cab
they met, and bade the driver make haste to the Waldorf. He knew by that
time that the American was a nervous, excitable individual who now and
then took on tremendous fits of work in which he hustled and bustled
everybody around him, but he had never seen him quite so excited and
eager as now. The discovery at that shabby hotel which they had just
quitted seemed to have acted on him like the smell of powder on an old
war-horse; he appeared to be positively panting for action.

"Allerdyke!" he almost shouted as the cab moved away, and he himself
smote one clenched fist upon the other. "Allerdyke--this thing has got to
go through! I resign all claim to that reward. Allerdyke!--this affair is
too serious for any hole-and-corner work. I shall tell Van Koon that what
we know, or fancy, must be thrown into the common stock of knowledge! The
thing is to get at the people who've been behind this poor chap Ebers, or
Federman, or Herman, or whatever his name is. Allerdyke!--we must go
right into things."

Allerdyke laughed sardonically. When Fullaway developed excitement, he
developed coolness, and his voice became as dry and hard as the other's
was fervid and eloquent.

"Aye!" he said in his most phlegmatic tones. "Aye, just so! And where
d'ye intend to cut in, now, like? Is it a sort of Gordian knot affair
that you're thinking of? Going to solve this difficulty at one blow?"

"Don't be sarcastic," retorted Fullaway. "I'm going to take things clean
up from this Federman or Ebers affair. I'm going deep--deep! You'll see
in a few minutes."

"Willing to see--and to hear--aught," remarked Allerdyke laconically.
"I've been doing naught else since I got that wireless telegram."

Then they relapsed into silence until the Waldorf was reached.
There Fullaway raced his companion upstairs to his rooms and burst
in upon Mrs. Marlow like a whirlwind. The pretty secretary, busied
with her typewriter, looked up, glanced at both men, and calmly
resumed her labours.

"Mrs. Marlow!" exclaimed Fullaway. "Just step to Mr. Van Koon's rooms
and beg him to come back here to my sitting-room with you--important
business, Mrs. Marlow--I want you, too."

Allerdyke, closely watching the woman around whom so much mystery
centred, saw that she did not move so much as an eyelash. She laid her
work aside, left the room, and within a minute returned with Van Koon,
who gazed at Fullaway with an air of half-amused inquiry.

"Something happened?" he asked, nodding to Allerdyke. "Town on fire?"

"Van Koon, sit down," commanded Fullaway, pushing his compatriot into the
inner room. "Mrs. Marlow, fasten that outer door and come in here. We're
going to have a stiff conference. Sit down, please, all of you. Now," he
went on, when the other three had ranged themselves about the centre
table, "There is news, Van Koon. Allerdyke and I have just come away from
an hotel in the Docks where we've seen the dead body of a young man who's
been found dead there under precisely similar circumstances to those
which attended the death of the French maid in Eastbourne Terrace. We've
also heard a description of a man who was at this hotel in the Docks last
night--it corresponds to that of the fellow who accompanied Lisette
Beaurepaire. I, personally, have no doubt that this man, whoever he is,
is the murderer of Lisette and of this youngster whose body we've just
seen. Mrs. Marlow, this dead young fellow, from whose death-chamber we've
just come, is that valet I used to have here--Ebers. You remember him?"

"Sure!" answered Mrs. Marlow, quite calmly and unconcernedly. "Very
well indeed."

"This Ebers," continued Fullaway, turning to Van Koon, "was a young
fellow, Swiss, German, something of that sort, who acted as valet to me
and to some other men here in this hotel for a time. I needn't go into
too many details now, but there's no doubt that he knew, and was in touch
with, Lisette Beaurepaire, and Miss Lennard positively identifies him as
the man who met her and Lisette at Hull, and represented himself as
Lisette's brother. Now then, Ebers--we'll stick to that name for the sake
of clearness--was in and out of my rooms a good deal, of course. And
what I want to know now, Mrs. Marlow, is--do you think he got access to
our letters, papers, books? Could he find out, for instance, that I was
engaged in this deal between the Princess Nastirsevitch and Mr. Delkin,
and that Miss Lennard had bought the Pinkie Pell pearls? Think!"

Mrs. Marlow had evidently done her thinking; she replied without

"If he did, or could, it would be through your own carelessness,
Mr. Fullaway," she said. "You know that I am ridiculously careful
about that sort of thing! From the time I come here in the
morning--ten-o'clock--until I leave at five, no one has any chance of
seeing our papers, or our letter book, or our telegram-copies book. They
are always on my desk while I am in the office, and when I go downstairs
to lunch I lock them up in the safe. But--you're not careful! How many
times have I come in the morning, and found that you've taken these
things out of the safe over-night and left them lying about for anybody
to see? Dozens of times!"

"I know--I know!" admitted Fullaway with a groan. "I'm frightfully
careless--always was. I quite admit it, Mrs. Marlow, quite!"

"Of course," continued Mrs. Marlow, in precise, even tones, "of course if
you left the letter-book lying round, and the book in which the
duplicates of all our telegrams and cablegrams are kept, too--why, this
Ebers man could easily read what he liked for himself when he was in here
of a morning before you got up. He was in and out a great deal, that's
certain. And as regards those two affairs, the documents we have about
them are pretty plain, Mr. Fullaway. Anybody of average intelligence
could find out in ten minutes from our letter-book and telegram-book that
we negotiated the sale of the Pinkie Pell pearls to Miss Lennard, and
that Mr. James Allerdyke was bringing here a valuable parcel of jewels
from Russia. And," concluded Mrs. Marlow quietly, "from what I saw of
him, Ebers was a smart man."

Van Koon, who had been listening attentively to all this, turned a
half-whimsical, half-reproving glance on Fullaway, who sat in a contrite
attitude, drumming his fingers on the polished table.

"I guess you're a very careless individual, my friend," he said, shaking
his head. "If you will leave your important papers lying about, as this
lady says you're in the habit of doing, what do you expect? Now, you've
been wondering who got wind of this jewel deal, and here's the very proof
that you gave every chance to this Ebers to acquaint himself with it! And
what I'd like to know now, Fullaway, is this--what use do you suppose
this young fellow made of the information he acquired? That seems to me
to be the point."

"Yes!" exclaimed Allerdyke suddenly. "That is the point!"

Fullaway smote the table.

"The thing's obvious!" he cried. "He sold his information to a gang.
There must have been--I mean must be--a gang. It's utterly impossible
that all this could have been worked by one man. The man we've heard of
in connection with the deaths of Lisette Beaurepaire and of Ebers himself
is only one of the combination. I'm as sure of that as I am that I see
you. But--who are they?"

Nobody answered this question. Allerdyke plunged his hands in his pockets
and stared at Fullaway; Mrs. Marlow began to trace imaginary patterns on
the surface of the table; Van Koon produced a penknife and began to
scrape the edges of his filbert nails with a preoccupied air.

"There's the thing I've insisted on all along, Fullaway, you know," he
said at last, finding that no one seemed inclined to speak. "I've
insisted on it, but you've always put it off. I don't care what you
say--it'll have to come to it. Let me suggest it, now, to our friends
here--they're both cute enough, I reckon!"

"Oh, as you please, as you please!" replied Fullaway, with a wave of his
hands. "Say anything you like, Van Koon--it seems as if too much couldn't
be said at this juncture."

"All right," answered Van Koon. He turned to Allerdyke and Mrs. Marlow.
"Ever since this affair was brought under my notice," he said, "I've
pointed out to Fullaway certain features in connection with it.
First--there's no evidence whatever that this plot originated in or was
worked from Russia. Second--there is evidence that it began here in
London and was carried out from London. And following on that second
proposition comes another. Fullaway knew that these jewels were

He paused and gave the secretary a keen look. And Allerdyke, watching her
just as keenly, saw her face and eyes as calm and inscrutable as ever; it
was absolutely evident that nothing could move this woman, no chance word
or allusion take her unawares. Van Koon smiled, and leaned nearer.

"But," he said, tapping the table in emphasis of his words, "there was
somebody else who knew of this deal, somebody whose name Fullaway there
steadfastly refuses to bring in. Delkin!"

Fullaway suddenly laughed, throwing up his arms.

"Delkin!" he exclaimed satirically. "A millionaire several times over!
The thing's ridiculous, Van Koon! Delkin would kick me out if I went and
asked him--"

"Delkin will have to be asked," interrupted Van Koon. "You will not face
the facts, Fullaway. Millionaire, multimillionaire, Delkin was the third
person (I'm leaving this valet, Ebers, clean out, though I've not the
slightest doubt he was one of the pieces of the machine) who knew that
James Allerdyke was bringing two hundred and fifty thousand pounds' worth
of jewels for his, Delkin's approval! That's a fact, Fullaway, which
cannot be got over."

"Psha!" exclaimed Fullaway. "I suppose you think Delkin, who could buy up
the best jeweller's shop in London or Paris and throw its contents to the
street children to play with--"

"What is it that's in your mind, Mr. Van Koon?" asked Allerdyke,
interrupting Fullaway's eloquence. "You've some theory?"

"Well, I don't know about theory," answered Van Koon, "but I guess I've
got some natural common sense. If Fullaway there thinks I'm suggesting
that Delkin organized a grand conspiracy to rob James Allerdyke,
Fullaway's wrong--I'm not. What I am suggesting, and have been suggesting
this last three days, is that Delkin should be asked a plain and simple
question, which is this--did he ever tell anybody of this proposed deal?
If so--whom did he tell? And if that isn't business," concluded Van Koon,
"then I don't know business when I see it!"

"What's your objection?" asked Allerdyke, looking across at Fullaway.
"What objection can you have?"

Fullaway shook his head.

"Oh, I don't know!" he said. "Except that it seems immaterial, and that I
don't want to bother Delkin. I'm hoping that these jewels will be found,
and that I'll be able to complete the transaction, and--besides, I don't
believe for one instant that Delkin would tell anybody. I only had two
interviews with Delkin--one at his hotel, one here. He understood the
affair was an entirely private and secret transaction."

Mrs. Marlow suddenly raised her head, and spoke quickly.

"You're forgetting something, Mr. Fullaway," she said. "You had a letter
from Mr. Delkin confirming the provisional agreement, which was that he
should have the first option of buying the Princess Nastirsevitch's
jewels, then being brought by Mr. James Allerdyke from Russia."

"True--true!" exclaimed Fullaway, clapping a hand to his forehead. "So I
had! I'd forgotten that. But, after all, it was purely a private letter
from Delkin, and--"

"No," interrupted Mrs. Marlow. "It was written and signed by Mr. Delkin's
secretary. So that the secretary knew of the transaction."

Van Koon shook his head and glanced at Allerdyke.

"There you are!" he said. "The secretary knew--Delkin's secretary! How do
we know that Delkin's secretary--?"

"Oh, that's all rot, Van Koon!" exclaimed Fullaway testily.
"Delkin's secretary, Merrifield, has been with him for years to my
knowledge, and--"

But Allerdyke had suddenly risen and was picking up his hat from a side
table. He turned to Fullaway as he put it on.

"I quite agree with Mr. Van Koon," he said, "and as I'm James
Allerdyke's cousin and his executor, I'm going to step round and see
this Mr. Delkin at his hotel--the Cecil, you said. It's no use trifling,
Fullaway--Delkin knew, and Mrs. Marlow now tells us his secretary knew.
All right!--my job is to see, in person, anybody who knew. Then, maybe,
I myself shall get to know."

Van Koon, too, rose.

"I know Delkin, slightly," he said. "I'll go with you."

At that, Fullaway jumped up, evidently annoyed and unwilling, but
prepared to act against his own wishes.

"Oh, all right, all right!" he exclaimed. "In that case we'll all go.
Come on--it's only across the Strand. Back after lunch, Mrs. Marlow, if
anybody wants me."

The three men marched out, and left the pretty secretary standing by the
table from which they had all risen. She stood there for a few minutes in
deep thought--stood until a single stroke from the clock on the
mantelpiece roused her. At that she walked into the outer office, put on
her coat and hat, and, leaving the hotel, went sharply off in the
direction of Arundel Street.



As the three men threaded their way through the crowded Strand and
approached the Hotel Cecil, Fullaway suddenly drew their attention to a
private automobile which was turning in at the entrance to the courtyard.

"There's Delkin, in his car," he exclaimed, "and, great Scott, there's
our Princess with him--Nastirsevitch! But who's the other man? Looks like
a compatriot of ours, Van Koon, eh?"

Van Koon, who had been staring about him as they crossed over from the
corner of Wellington Street, turned and glanced at the occupants of the
car. Allerdyke was looking there, too. He had never seen Delkin as yet,
and he was curious to set eyes on a man who had made several millions out
of canning meat. He had no very clear conception of American
millionaires, and he scarcely knew what he expected to see. But there
were two men in the car with the Princess Nastirsevitch, and they were
both middle-aged. One man was a tall, handsome, military-looking fellow,
dressed in grey tweeds and wearing a Homburg hat of light grey with a
darker band; his upturned, grizzled moustache gave him a smart, rather
aggressive appearance; the monocle in his eye added to his general
impressiveness. The other man was not particularly impressive--a medium
sized, rather plump little man, with a bland, smiling countenance and
mild eyes beaming through gold-rimmed spectacles; he sat with his back to
the driver, and was just then leaning forward to tell something to the
Princess and the man in the Homburg hat who were bending towards him and,
smiling at what he said.

"Which of 'em is Delkin, then?" asked Allerdyke as the automobile swept
into the courtyard. "Big or little?"

"The little fellow with the spectacles," replied Fullaway. "Quiet,
unobtrusive man, Delkin--but cute as they're made. Know the other man,
Van Koon?"

Van Koon had twisted round and was staring back in the direction from
which they had come, he shook his head, a little absent-mindedly.

"Not from Adam," he answered, "but there's a man--Bostonian--just gone
along there that I do know and want to see badly. Wait a bit for me in
the courtyard there, Fullaway--shan't be long."

He turned as he spoke, and darted off through the crowd, unusually dense
at that moment because of the luncheon hour. Fullaway, making no comment,
walked forward into the courtyard and looked about him. Suddenly he
nodded his head towards a far corner.

"There's Delkin and the Princess, and the man who was with them, sitting
at a table over there," he said. "I didn't know that Delkin and the
Princess were acquainted. But then, of course, they're both staying in
this hotel, and they're both American. Well, shall we go to them now,
Allerdyke, or shall we sit down here and wait a bit for Van Koon?"

"We'll wait," replied Allerdyke. He dropped into a chair and drew out his
cigarette-case. "Have a drink while we're waiting?" he suggested,
beckoning a waiter who was passing. "What's it to be?"

"Oh--something small, then," said Fullaway. "Dry sherry. Better bring
three--Van Koon won't be long."

But the minutes passed and Van Koon was still absent. Ten minutes more
went, and still he did not come. And Fullaway pulled out his watch with
an air of annoyance.

"Too bad of Van Koon," he said. "Time's going, and I know Delkin lunches
at two o'clock. Come on, Allerdyke," he continued, rising, "we'll go over
to Delkin. If Van Koon comes, he'll find us. He's probably gone off with
that other man, though--he's an absent-minded chap in some things, and
too much given to the affair of the moment. Come on--I'll introduce you."

The Chicago millionaire, once put in possession of Allerdyke's name,
looked at him with manifest curiosity, and motioned him and Fullaway to
take seats with himself and his two companions.

"We were just talking of your case, Mr. Allerdyke," he said quietly. "The
Princess, of course, has told me about you. Fullaway, I don't know if you
know this gentleman--his name's well enough known, anyway. This gentleman
is Mr. Chilverton, the famous New York detective. Chilverton--Mr.
Fullaway, Mr. Allerdyke."

Fullaway and Allerdyke both looked at the man in the Homburg hat with
great interest as they shook hands with him. Fullaway at any rate knew of
his world-wide reputation; Allerdyke faintly remembered that he had heard
of him in connection with some great criminal affair.

"Been telling Mr. Chilverton about our business, Mr. Delkin?" asked
Fullaway pleasantly. "Asking his expert advice?"

"I've told him no more than what he could read for himself in the
newspapers," answered Delkin. "He's got stuff of his own to attend to,
here in London. About our affair now, as you call it, Fullaway. It's not
my affair, or I guess I'd have been more into it by this time. The
Princess here thinks things are going real slow, and so do I. What do you
think, Mr. Allerdyke!"

"It's a case in which things go slow of sheer necessity," replied
Allerdyke. "It's a case of widespread ramifications--to use a long word.
But--we keep having developments, Mr. Delkin. There's been one this
morning. We came to see you about it--and perhaps you'll let Fullaway
tell!--he'll put things into fewer words than I should."

"Sure!" answered the millionaire. "Go ahead, Fullaway--we're all

Fullaway briefly told the story of the discovery at the hotel in the
Docks that morning, and explained the deductions which had been made from
it. He detailed the connection of Ebers, alias Federman or Herman, with
himself, and reported the conversation which had just taken place at his
own rooms. And then he turned to Allerdyke, with an expressive gesture.

"I'll let Allerdyke say why we came here," he said. "It was his idea and
Van Koon's--not mine. Your turn, Allerdyke."

"I shan't be slow to take it," responded Allerdyke, stirring himself.
"I'm one business man--Mr. Delkin's another. I only want to ask you,
Mr. Delkin, if you ever talked of this jewel transaction to anybody
beyond your own secretary? It's a plain question, and you'll understand
why I ask it."

"Of course," replied Delkin genially. "Quite right to ask. I can answer
it in one word. No! As to telling my secretary, Merrifield, who's been
with me twelve years, and is a thoroughly trustworthy man, I merely told
him sufficient for him to write and send that formal letter--he knew, and
knows (at least, not from me) no details. No, sir!--never a word from me
got about--not even to my own daughter. Of course, the Princess here and
myself have discussed matters--since she came. And now that you're here,
Fullaway, I'll tell you what I think--straight out. I think this affair
has all been planned from your own office!"

Fullaway flushed and sat up in an attitude of sudden indignation.

"Oh, come, Mr. Delkin!" he exclaimed. "I--"

"Go softly, young man." said Delkin. "I mean no harm to you, and no
reflections on you. But you know, I've been in your office a few times,
and I have eyes in my head. What do you know about that fascinating young
woman you have there? I'm a pretty good judge of human nature and
character, and I should say that young lady is as clever and deep as they
make 'em. Who is she? There's one thing sure from what you've just told
us, Fullaway--you let her know all your business secrets."

Fullaway made no attempt to conceal his chagrin and vexation.

"I've had Mrs. Marlow in my employ for three years," he answered. "She
came to me with excellent testimonials and references. I've just as
much reason to trust her as you have to trust Merrifield. If she'd
been untrustworthy, she could have robbed or defrauded me many a time
over; she--"

"Did she ever have the chance of getting hold of a quarter of a million's
worth of jewels before?" asked Delkin with a shrewd glance at Allerdyke.
"Come, now! Even the most trusted people fall before a very big
temptation. All business folk know that. What's Mr. Allerdyke think?"

Allerdyke was not going to say what he thought. He was wondering if
Fullaway knew what he knew--that Mrs. Marlow was also Miss Slade, that
she had some relations with a man who also bore two different names, that
her actions were somewhat suspicious. But that was not the time to say
all this--he said something non-committal instead.

"There seems to be no doubt that the knowledge that my cousin was
carrying the jewels leaked out here--and from Fullaway's office,"
he answered.

"Through this fellow Ebers!" broke in Fullaway excitedly. "It's all rot
to think that Mrs. Marlow had anything to do with it! Great Scott!--do
any of you mean to suggest that she engineered several murders, and--"

Delkin laughed--a soft, cynical laugh.

"You're lumping a lot of big stuff altogether, Fullaway," he remarked
drily. "Do you know what I think of all this business? I think that
everybody's jumping at conclusions. There are lots of questions,
problems, difficulties that want solving and answering before I come to
any conclusion. I'll tell you what they are," he went on bending forward
in his lounge chair and looking from one to the other of the faces around
him and beginning to tick off his points on the tips of his fingers.
"Listen! One--Was James Allerdyke really murdered, or did he die a
natural death? Two--Had James Allerdyke those jewels in his possession
when he entered that S---- Hotel at Hull! Three--Has the robbery, or
disappearance, of the Princess Nastirsevitch's jewels anything whatever
to do with the theft of Mademoiselle de Longarde's property? Four--Was
that man Lydenberg shot in Hull as a result of some connection with
either, or both, of these affairs, or was he murdered for private or
political reasons? Let me get a clear understanding of everything that's
behind all these problems," he concluded, with a knowing smile, "and I'll
tell you something!"

"You think it possible that the Nastirsevitch affair is the work of one
lot, and the Lennard affair the work of another?" asked Allerdyke,
thoughtfully. "In that case, I'll ask you a question, Mr. Delkin. How do
you account for the fact that my cousin James, the Frenchwoman, Lisette
Beaurepaire, and his valet, Ebers, or Federman, or Herman, were all found
dead under similar circumstances? Come, now!"

"Aye, but were they?" demanded Delkin, clapping his hands together with a
smile of triumphantly suggestive doubt. "Were they? You don't know--and
the expert analysts don't know yet, and perhaps never will. I'll grant
you that there's a strong probability that Ebers and the French maid were
victims of the same murderer; but that doesn't prove that your cousin
was. No, sir!--my impression is that everybody is taking too much for
granted. And whether it offends you or not, Fullaway--and my intention's
good--you ought to make drastic researches into your office
procedure--you know what I mean. The leakage of the secret, sir, came

Fullaway rose.

"Well, I shan't do any good by sitting here," he said, a little huffily.
"If I'm going to begin those drastic researches I'd better begin. Coming,

The two men walked away together after taking leave of the millionaire
and the Princess. But before they were clear of the courtyard,
Chilverton caught them and tapped Fullaway on the elbow.

"Say!" he said confidentially. "You won't mind my asking you--who's this
Van Koon that you mentioned?"

"Man from our side who's been here in London all this spring," answered
Fullaway promptly. "He was coming with Allerdyke and me just now, but he
turned back--just when you and Delkin drove in here."

Chilverton gave Fullaway a quick look.

"Did he see me?" he asked.

"Sure!" replied Fullaway. "Asked who you were--or I did."

"You did," remarked Allerdyke. "Then he went off."

"Describe him," said Chilverton. He listened attentively while Fullaway
gave him a sketch of Van Koon's appearance. "Um!" he continued. "Do you
mind my walking to your hotel with you? I believe I know that man, and
I'd like to see him."

A hall-porter was standing at the door of the Waldorf who had been
there when the three men went out together at one o'clock. Fullaway
beckoned him.

"Seen anything of Mr. Van Koon?" he asked.

"Mr. Van Koon?--yes, sir. He came back a few minutes after you and Mr.
Allerdyke and he had gone out, got a suit-case from upstairs, left word
that he'd be away for the night, and went off in a taxi, sir," answered
the man. "Seemed to be in a great hurry, sir!"

Before Fullaway could speak, Chilverton seized the hall-porter's arm.
"Did you hear him give the cab-driver any direction?"

"Yes, sir," replied the man promptly. "St. Pancras Station, sir."

Without a word, Chilverton turned, hurried out to the pavement, and
leapt into a taxi-cab that was standing there unengaged. In another
instant the taxi-cab was off, and Allerdyke and Fullaway turned to each
other. Then Allerdyke laughed.

"That's why Van Koon turned back, Fullaway," he said in a low voice. "He
recognized Chilverton. Now, then--why did that recognition make him run?
And--who is he?"



For a moment Fullaway stood in the doorway of the hotel, staring towards
the mouth of Kingsway, around the corner of which Chilverton's cab had
already disappeared. Then he turned, gave Allerdyke a look of absolute
non-comprehension, and with a sudden gesture, as of surrender to
circumstances, walked into the hotel and made for the stairs.

"That licks everything!" he muttered, as he and Allerdyke went up to the
first floor. "Tell you what it is, Allerdyke--my poor brain is getting
into a whirl! We've had quite enough excitement this morning in all
conscience, and now this comes on top of it. Now, how in creation do you
explain this last occurrence?"

Allerdyke laughed cynically.

"I don't know so much of the world as you do, Fullaway," he said, "but I
don't think this needs much explanation. When a man makes himself
suddenly scarce at sight of a well-known detective, I should say that man
knows the detective wants him--badly! My impression is that at this
moment your friend Van Koon is running away from Chilverton, and
Chilverton's going hot-foot after him. And--"

They were at that moment passing the room which Van Koon had occupied,
and Allerdyke suddenly remembered the occasion on which he had seen Mrs.
Marlow steal out of it, suspiciously and furtively, and when its proper
tenant was away. He had carefully abstained from telling Fullaway about
that little incident, preferring to wait until events had further
developed. Should he tell him now--now that there seemed to be evidence
that Van Koon himself was a doubtful character? He hesitated--and while
he hesitated Fullaway strode on, flung open his office door, turned to
the letter-box at the back, and took out some letters and a telegram. He
tore the telegram open, and the next instant flung it on the table with a
fierce exclamation.

"Damn it all, Allerdyke!" he said, waving an indignant hand at the bit of
pink paper. "What in the name of all that's wicked is the meaning of
that? Read it--read!"

Allerdyke picked the telegram up and read it aloud.

"Regret shall be unable to return to office for day or two; called away
on extremely urgent private business.--MARLOW."

He laughed again as he put the telegram back and turned to Fullaway, who,
hands plunged deep in pockets and black of countenance, was stamping up
and down the room.

"Um!" said Allerdyke. "Um! Now, in my humble opinion, Fullaway, that's a
good deal queerer than the Van Koon incident. For look you here--your
secretary was talking to us in your room there at less than five minutes
to one, and we left her here when we went out on the stroke of one. And
yet--look at the wire!--she handed that in at the East Strand post office
within ten minutes after we'd left her! What do you make of that?"

"Damnation!" exclaimed Fullaway. "How the blazes do I know what to make
of it! I seem to be surrounded with--God knows what hellish mysteries!
Allerdyke, is there a regular devil's conspiracy, or--what is there?"

Allerdyke made a show of looking at the telegram again. In reality, he
was considering matters. Should he tell Fullaway what he knew? He was
more than a little tempted to do so. But his natural sense of caution and
reserve stopped the words before they reached his tongue, and he took
another tack.

"You said just now, in talking to Delkin, that you'd the greatest
confidence in this Mrs. Marlow, and had the best references with her,
Fullaway," he remarked. "What references?"

"Good business references!" answered Fullaway excitedly. "The best! Firms
of high standing in the City. Couldn't have had better. Go and ask any of
them about her--I'll lay my last dollar they will say the same. Capital
secretary--clever woman--thoroughly trustworthy!"

"What do you know about her private life?" asked Allerdyke.

"What the deuce has the woman's private life to do with me?" snapped
Fullaway. "I know nothing. So long as she comes here at ten, stops till
five, and does her duty--hang her private life!"

"Do you know where she lives?" asked Allerdyke imperturbably. "But of
course you do."

"Then I don't!" retorted Fullaway. "Somewhere up town, I believe--West
End somewhere. I don't know. I've nothing to do with her private
affairs. I never have had anything to do with the private affairs of any
employee of mine."

"She makes her private affairs have something to do with you though,"
said Allerdyke, tapping the telegram significantly. "But, in my opinion,
that wire's nothing but an excuse. What're you going to do?"

"Oh, I don't know!" exclaimed Fullaway. "I'm about sick of the
whole thing."

Allerdyke pulled out his watch.

"I must go," he said. "I've a business appointment. I'll see you later."

Fullaway made no reply, and Allerdyke left him, went downstairs and
sought Gaffney, whom, having found, he led outside to the street.

"How soon can you lay hands on that brother of yours?" he asked.

"Twenty minutes--in a cab, sir," replied Gaffney.

"Get a cab, then, find him, and drive, both of you, to the warehouse,"
commanded Allerdyke. "You'll find me there."

He himself got a cab, too, and went off to Gresham Street, more puzzled
and doubtful than ever. He closeted himself with Ambler Appleyard and
told him all the details of the eventful morning, and the manager
listened in silence, taking everything in and making his own mental
notes. And with his usual acuteness of perception he quickly separated
the important from the momentarily unimportant.

"You don't want to bother your head about what Mr. Delkin says just now,
Mr. Allerdyke," he said, when Allerdyke had brought this story to an end.
"Never mind his theories--there may be a lot in 'em, and there mayn't be
any more than his personal opinion in 'em. Never mind, too, what
Chilverton wants with Van Koon. Nor if there's any connection between Van
Koon and Miss Slade, or Mrs. Marlow. The thing to do is to find--her!"

"You think she's hooked it?" said Allerdyke.

"I should say that something said by some of you at that talk this
morning in Fullaway's room has startled her into action," answered
Appleyard. "Now let's get at facts. You say she sent that wire from the
East Strand post Office within ten minutes of your leaving her? Very
well--I should say she was on her way to Arundel Street to see Rayner,
alias Ramsay. I wish we'd had a constant watch kept on him. But we'll
soon repair that if you've sent for young Gaffney."

The two Gaffneys arrived at that moment and Appleyard, after some further
talk, assigned them their duties. Gaffney, the chauffeur, was to go at
once and get himself a room at an inn in close proximity to the Pompadour
Hotel, so that he would be at Appleyard's disposal at any hour of the
coming evening and night. Albert Gaffney, the clerk, was to devote
himself to watching Rayner. He was to follow Rayner wherever Rayner went
from the time of his leaving Clytemnestra House that afternoon--even if
Rayner should leave town by motor or by train he was to follow. For, as
Appleyard sagely observed, it was not likely that Mrs. Marlow, alias Miss
Slade, would return to the Pompadour Hotel that night if her fears had
been aroused by what had taken place that morning, and it was a
reasonable presumption that if she and Rayner were in league she would
have communicated with him on leaving Fullaway's office, and that they
would meet again somewhere before the day was over.

"The only thing now," said Appleyard, when the two Gaffneys had been
presented with funds sufficient to carry each through all possible
immediate emergencies, "is to arrange for a meeting to-night. There are
two matters we want to be certain about. First, if Albert Gaffney
witnesses any meeting between Rayner and Miss Slade, and, in that case,
if he can tell us where they go and what they do. Second, if they both
return, or either of them returns to the Pompadour to-night. So it had
better be near the Pompadour--somewhere in that district, anyhow. Can you
suggest any place?" he continued, turning to the chauffeur. "You know
that district well, don't you?"

"Tell you the very spot, sir," answered Gaffney promptly. "Lancaster Gate
itself, sir. Close by there, convenient pub, sir--stands back a bit from
the road. Bar-parlour, sir--quiet corners. What time, sir?"

Appleyard fixed half-past eleven. By that time, he said, he should know
if Mr. Rayner and Miss Slade had returned to the Pompadour; by that time,
too, Albert Gaffney would be in a position to report his own doings and
progress. And so the two Gaffneys went off on their respective missions,
and Allerdyke looked at his manager and made a grimace.

"It's like a lot of blind men seeking for something they couldn't see if
it was shoved under their very noses, Ambler!" he said cynically. "Is it
any good?"

"Maybe," replied Appleyard. "That Albert Gaffney's a smart chap--he'll
not lose sight of Rayner once he begins to track him. And I'm certain as
certain can be that if Miss Slade's in a hole it's Rayner she'll turn to.
Well--we can only wait now. What're you going to do, Mr. Allerdyke?"

"Let's have a bit of a relief," answered, Allerdyke suddenly. "Let's dine
together somewhere and go to a theatre or something until it's time to
keep this appointment. And not a word more of the whole thing till then!"

"You forget that I've got to look in at the Pompadour last thing to see
if those two are there as usual," remarked Appleyard. "But that'll only
take a few minutes--I can call there on our way to the rendezvous. All
right--no more of it until half-past eleven, then."

Albert Gaffney was already in a quiet corner of the bar-parlour of the
appointed meeting-place when the other three arrived there. Appleyard had
already ascertained that neither Rayner nor Miss Slade had returned to
the Pompadour; Gaffney, the chauffeur, who had been keeping an eye on the
exterior of that establishment, had nothing to tell. And Albert's face
was somewhat dismal, and his eye inclined to something like an aggrieved
surliness, as he joined the new-comers and answered their first question.

"It's not my fault, gentlemen," he whispered, bending towards the others
over the little table at which they were all seated. "But the truth
is--I've been baulked! At the last moment as you may term it. Just when
things were getting really interesting!"

"Have you seen--anything?" asked Appleyard.

"I'll give you it in proper order, sir," replied Albert Gaffney. "I've
seen both of 'em--followed 'em, until this confounded accident happened.
This is the story of it. I kept watch there, outside C. House--you know
where I mean--till near on to six o'clock. Then he came out. But he
didn't get into his motor, though it was waiting for him. He sent it
away. Then he walked to the Temple Station, and I heard him book for
Cannon Street. So did I, and followed him. He got out at Cannon Street
and went up into the main line station and to the bookstall. There he met
her--she was waiting. They talked a bit, walking about; then they went
into the hotel. I had an idea that perhaps they were going to dine there,
so as I was togged up for any eventualities, I followed 'em in. They did
dine there--so did I, keeping an eye on 'em. They sat some time over and
after their dinner, as if they were waiting for something or somebody. At
last a man--better-class commercial traveller-looking sort of man--came
in and went up to them. He sat down and had a glass of wine, and they all
three talked--very confidential talk, you could see. At last they all
left and went down to the yard outside the station and got into a
taxi-cab--all three. I got another, gave the driver a quiet hint as to
what I was after, and told him to keep the other cab in view. So he
did--for a time. They went first to a little restaurant near Liverpool
Street Station--she and the commercial-looking chap got out and went in;
R. stopped in the cab. The other two came back after a bit with another
man--similar sort--and all three joined R. Then they went off towards
Aldgate way--and we were keeping nicely behind 'em when all of a sudden a
blooming 'bus came to grief right between us and them, and blocked the
traffic! And though I nearly broke my neck in trying to get through and
spot them, it was no use. They'd clean disappeared. But!--I've got the
number of the cab they took from Cannon Street."

Appleyard nodded approval.

"Good!" he said. "That's something, Gaffney--a good deal. We can work on
from that."

"Well?" he continued, turning to Allerdyke. "I think there's nothing else
we can do to-night? We'd better meet, all of us, at Gresham Street, at,
say, ten to-morrow morning; then I shall be able to say if they return to
the Pompadour to-night. It's my impression they won't--but we shall see."

Allerdyke presently drove him to his hotel, wondering all the way what
these last doings might really mean. They were surprising enough, but
there was another surprise awaiting him. As he walked into the Waldorf
the hall-porter stopped him.

"There's a gentleman for you, sir, in the waiting-room," he said. "Been
waiting a good hour. Name of Chettle."



Chettle sat alone in the waiting-room, a monument of patient resignation
to his fate. His hands were bunched on the head of his walking-stick, his
chin propped on his hands; his eyes were bent on a certain spot on the
carpet with a fixed stare. And when Allerdyke entered he sprang up as if
roused from a fitful slumber.

"I should ha' been asleep in another minute, Mr. Allerdyke," he said
apologetically. "Been waiting over an hour, sir--and I'm dog-tired. I've
been at it, hard at it! every minute since I left you. And--I had to
come. I've news."

"Come up," said Allerdyke. "I've news, too--it's been naught else but
news all day. You haven't seen Fullaway while you've been waiting?"

"Seen nobody but the hotel folks," answered the detective. He followed
Allerdyke up to his private sitting-room and sighed wearily as he dropped
into a chair. "I'm dog-tired," he repeated. "Fair weary!"

"Have a drink," said Allerdyke, setting out his decanter and a syphon.
"Take a stiff 'un--I'll have one myself. I'm tired, too. I wouldn't like
this game to be on long, Chettle--it's too exhausting. But, by the Lord
Harry!--I believe it's coming to an end at last!"

The detective, who had gladly helped himself to Allerdyke's whisky, took
a long pull at his glass and sighed with relief.

"I believe so myself, Mr. Allerdyke," he said. "I do, indeed!--things are
clearing, sir, though Heaven knows they're thick enough still. You say
you've fresh news!"

Allerdyke lighted a cigar and pushed the box to his guest.

"Your news first," he said. "I daresay it's a bit out of the complete
web--let's see if we can fit it in."

"It's this," answered Chettle, pulling his chair nearer to the table at
which he and his host sat. "When I got back to Hull they told me at the
police headquarters that a young man had been in two or three times,
while I was away, asking if he could see the London detective who was
down about the Station Hotel affair. They told him I'd gone up to town
again, and tried to find out what he wanted, but he wouldn't tell them
anything--said he'd either see me or go up to London himself. So then
they let him know I was coming back, and told him he'd probably find me
there at noon to-day. And at noon to-day he turns up at the
police-station--a young fellow about twenty-five or so, who looked like
what he was, a clerk. A very cute, sharp chap he was, the sort that's
naturally keen about his own interests--name of Martindale--and before
he'd say a word he wanted to see my credentials, and made me swear to
treat what he said as private, and then he pulled out a copy of that
reward bill of yours, and wanted to know a rare lot about that, all of
which amounted to wanting to find out what chance he had of getting hold
of some of the fifty thousand, if not all. And," continued Chettle with a
laugh, "I'd a lot of talking and explaining and wheedling to do before
he'd tell anything."

"Had he aught to tell?" asked Allerdyke. "So many of 'em think they have,
and then they haven't."

"Oh, he'd something to tell!" replied Chettle. "Right enough, he'd a good
deal to tell. This--he told me at last, as if every word he let out was
worth a ransom, that he was a parcels office clerk in the North Eastern
Railway Station at Hull, and that since the 13th of May until the day
before yesterday he'd been away in the North of Scotland on his
holidays--been home to his people, in fact--he is a Scotsman, which, of
course, accounts for his keenness about the money. Now, then--on the
night of May 12th--the night, as you know, Mr. Allerdyke, of your
cousin's supposed murder, but anyway, of his arrival at Hull--this young
man Martindale was on duty in the parcels office till a very late hour.
About ten to a quarter past ten, as near as he could recollect, a
gentleman came into the parcels office, carrying a small, square parcel,
done up in brown paper and sealed in several places with black wax. He
wanted to know when the next express would be leaving for London, and if
he could send the parcel by it. Martindale told him there would be an
express leaving for Selby very shortly, and there would be a connection
there for a Great Northern express to King's Cross. The gentleman then
wanted to know what time his parcel would be likely to be delivered in
London if he sent it by that train. Martindale told him that as near as
he could say it would be delivered by noon on the next morning, and added
that he could, by paying an extra fee, have it specially registered and
delivered. The gentleman at once acceded to this, handed the parcel
over, paid for it, and left. And in a few minutes after that, Martindale
himself gave the parcel to the guard of the outgoing train."

Chettle paused for a moment, and took a reflective pull at his glass.

"Now, then," he went on, after an evident recollecting of his facts,
"Martindale, of course, never saw the gentleman again, and dismissed such
a very ordinary matter from his mind. Early next morning he went off on
his holiday--where he went, right away up in Sutherland, papers were few
and far between. He only heard mere bits of news about all this affair.
But when he got back he turned up the Hull newspapers, and became
convinced that the man who sent that parcel was--your cousin!"

"Aye!" said Allerdyke, nodding his head. "Aye! I expected that."

"He was sure it was your cousin," continued Chettle, "from the
description of him in the papers, and from one or two photos of him that
had appeared, though, as you know, Mr. Allerdyke, those were poor things.
But to make sure, I showed him the photo which is inside Lydenberg's
watch-case. 'That's the man!' he said at once. 'I should have known him
again anywhere--I'd a particularly good look at him.' Very well--that
established who the sender of the parcel was. Now then, the next thing
was--to whom was it sent. Well, this Martindale had copied down the name
and address from the station books, and he handed me the slip of paper.
Can you make any guess at it, Mr. Allerdyke?"

"Damn guess-work!" replied Allerdyke. "Speak out!"

Chettle leaned nearer, with an instinctive glance at the door. He
lowered his voice to a whisper.

"That parcel was addressed to Franklin Fullaway, Esq., The Waldorf Hotel,
Aldwych, London," he said. "There!"

Allerdyke slowly rose from his seat, stared at his visitor, half-moved
across the floor, as if he had some instinctive notion of going
somewhere--and then suddenly sat down again.

"Aye!" he said. "Aye!--but was it ever delivered?"

"I'm coming to that," replied Chettle. "That, of course, is the big
thing--the prime consideration. I heard all this young fellow Martindale
had to tell--nothing much more than that, except small details as to what
would be the likely progress of the parcel, and then I gave him strict
instructions to keep his own counsel until I saw him again--after which I
caught the afternoon train to town. Martindale had told me where the
parcel would be delivered from, so as soon as I arrived at King's Cross I
went to the proper place. I had to tell 'em, of course, who I was, and
what I was after, and to produce my credentials before they turned up
their books and papers to trace the delivery of the parcel. That, of
course, wasn't a long or difficult matter, as I had the exact date--May
13th. They soon put the delivery sheet of that particular morning before
me. And there it all was--"

"And--it was delivered to and received by--who?" broke in Allerdyke
eagerly. "Who, man?"

"Signed for by Mary Marlow for Franklin Fullaway," answered Chettle in
the same low tones. "Delivered--here--about half-past twelve. So--there
you are! That is--if you know where we are!"

Allerdyke, whose cigar had gone out, relighted it with a trembling hand.

"My God!" he said in a fierce, concentrated voice as he flung the match
away. "This is getting--you're sure there was no mistaking the
signature?" he went on, interrupting himself. "No mistake about it?"

"It was a woman's writing, and an educated woman's writing, anyway," said
Chettle. "And plain enough. But there was one thing that rather struck me
and that they couldn't explain, though they said I could have it
explained by inquiry of the clerk who had the books in charge on May 13th
and the boy who actually delivered the parcel--neither of 'em was about
this evening."

"What?" demanded Allerdyke.

"Why, this," answered Chettle. "The parcel had evidently been signed for
twice. The line on which the signatures were placed had two initials in
pencil on it--scribbled hurriedly. The initials were 'F.F.' Over that was
the other in ink--what I tell you: Mary Marlow for Frank Fullaway."

Allerdyke let his mind go back to the events of May 13th.

"You say the parcel was delivered here at twelve-thirty noon on May
13th?" he said presently. "Of course, Fullaway wasn't here then. He'd set
off to me at Hull two or three hours before that. He joined me at Hull
soon after two that day. And what I'm wondering is--does he know of that
parcel's arrival here in his absence. Did he ever get it? If he did, why
has he never mentioned it to me? Coming, as it did, from--James!"

"There's a much more important question than that, Mr. Allerdyke," said
Chettle. "This--what was in that parcel?"

Allerdyke started. So far he had been concentrating on the facts given
him by the detective--further he had not yet gone.

"Why!" he asked, a sudden suspicion beginning to dawn on him. "Good
God!--you don't suggest--"

"My belief, Mr. Allerdyke," said Chettle, quietly and emphatically, "is
that the parcel contained the Russian lady's jewels! I do believe it--and
I'll lay anything I'm right, too."

Allerdyke shook his head.

"Nay, nay!" he said incredulously. "I can't think that James would send a
quarter of a million pounds' worth of jewels in a brown paper parcel by
train! Come, now!"

Chettle shook his head, too--but in contradiction, "I've known of much
stranger things than that, Mr. Allerdyke," he said confidently. "Very
much stranger things. Your cousin, according to your account of him, was
an uncommonly sharp man. He was quick at sizing up things and people. He
was the sort--as you've represented him to me--that was what's termed
fertile in resource. Now, I've been theorizing a bit as I came up in the
train; one's got to in my line, you know. Supposing your cousin got an
idea that thieves were on his track?--supposing he himself fancied that
there was danger in that hotel at Hull? What would occur to him but to
get rid of his valuable consignment, as we'll call it? And what
particular danger was there in sending a very ordinary-looking parcel as
he did? The thing's done every day--by train or post every day valuable
parcels of diamonds, for instance, are sent between London and Paris. The
chances of that parcel being lost between Hull and this hotel
were--infinitesimal! I honestly believe, sir, that those jewels were in
that parcel--sent to be safe."

"In that case you'd have thought he'd have wired Fullaway of their
dispatch," said Allerdyke.

"How do we know that he didn't intend to, first thing in the morning?"
asked Chettle. "He probably did intend to--but he wasn't there to do it
in the morning, poor gentleman! No--and now the thing is, Mr.
Allerdyke--prompt action! What do you think, sir?"

"You mean--go and tell everything to your people at headquarters?" asked

"I shall have to," answered Chettle. "There's no option for me--now. What
I meant was--are you prepared to tell them all you know?"

"Yes!" replied Allerdyke. "At least, I will be in the morning--first
thing. I'll just tell you how things have gone to-day. Now," he
continued, when he had given Chettle a full account of the recent
happenings, "you stay here to-night--you can have my chauffeur's room,
next to mine--and in the morning I'll telephone to Appleyard to meet us
outside of New Scotland Yard, and after a word or two with him, we'll see
your chief, and then--"

Chettle shook his head.

"If that woman got a night's start, Mr. Allerdyke--" he began.

"Can't help it now," said Allerdyke decisively. "Besides, you don't know
what Appleyard mayn't have learned during the night."

But when Appleyard met them in Whitehall next morning, in response to
Allerdyke's telephone summons, his only news was that neither Rayner nor
Miss Slade had returned to the Pompadour, and without another word
Allerdyke motioned Chettle to lead the way to the man in authority.



It was to a hastily called together gathering of high police officials
that the three visitors told all they knew. One after another they
related their various stories--Chettle of his doings and discoveries at
Hull, Allerdyke of what had gone on at the hotel, Appleyard of the
mysterious double identity of the woman who was Miss Slade in one place
and Mrs. Marlow in another. The officials listened quietly and
absorbedly, rarely interrupting the narrators except to ask a searching
question. And in the end they talked together apart, after which all went
away except the man who had kept his hands on the reins from the
beginning. He turned to his visitors with an air of decision.

"Well, of course, there's but one thing to be done, now," he said. "We
must get a warrant for this woman's arrest at once. We must also get a
search warrant and examine her belongings at that private hotel you've
told us of, Mr. Appleyard. All that shall be done immediately. But first
I want you to tell me one or two things. What are those two men you spoke
of doing--the Gaffneys?"

"One of them, the chauffeur, is hanging about the Pompadour," replied
Appleyard. "The other--Albert--has gone down to Cannon Street to see if
he can trace the driver of the taxi-cab in which Rayner and Miss Slade
drove away from there last night."

"He'll do no harm in trying to find that out," observed the chief. "But
I should like to see him--I want to ask some questions about the man who
joined those two after dinner at Cannon Street last night, and the other
man whom he saw them take up near Liverpool Street Station. Will he keep
himself in touch with your warehouse in Gresham Street?"

"Sure to," answered Appleyard.

"Then just telephone to your people there, and tell them to tell him, if
he comes in asking for you, to come along and seek you here," said the
chief. "I'm afraid I can't spare either you or Mr. Allerdyke, for your
joint information'll be wanted presently for these warrants, and when
we've got them I want you to go with me--both of you--to the Pompadour."

"You're going to search?" asked Allerdyke when Appleyard had gone to the
telephone. "You think you may find something--there?"

"There's enough evidence to justify a search," answered the chief.
"Naturally we want to know all we can. But I should say that if she's
mixed up with a gang, and if they've got those jewels through her--as
seems uncommonly likely--she'll have been ready for a start at any
minute, and the probability is we'll find nothing to help us. The great
thing, of course, will be to get hold of the woman herself. It's a most
unfortunate thing that Albert Gaffney was stopped from following that
cab, last night--I've no opinion, Mr. Allerdyke, of your amateur
detective as a rule, but from Mr. Appleyard's account of him, this one
seems to have done very well. If we only knew where those two went--"

Appleyard presently came back from the telephone with a face alive with
fresh news.

"Albert Gaffney's at the warehouse now," he announced. "I've just had a
word with him. He found the taxi-cab driver an hour ago, and he got the
information he wanted. And I'm afraid it's--nothing!"

"What is it, anyhow?" asked the chief, with a smile. "Perhaps Albert
Gaffney doesn't know its value."

"The man drove them, all four, to the corner of Whitechapel Church," said
Appleyard. "There he set them down, and there he left them. That's all."

"Well, that's something, anyway," remarked the chief. "It carries the
thing on another stage. Now we'll leave that and attend to our own

The Pompadour Private Hotel, like most establishments of its class in
Bayswater, was a place of peace and of comparative solitude during the
greater part of the day. It was busy enough up to ten o'clock in the
morning, and it began to be busy enough again by six o'clock in the
evening, but from ten to six more than two-thirds of its denizens were
not to be found within its walls. The business man had gone to the City;
the professional women had departed to their offices; nothing of humanity
but a few elderly widows and spinsters, and an old gentleman or two were
left in the various rooms. Everything, therefore, was quiet enough when
the chief, accompanied by Chettle, drove up, entered the hall, and asked
to see the manager and manageress. As for Allerdyke and Appleyard, who
naturally felt considerable dislike to appearing on this particular scene
of operations, they were a few hundred yards away, walking about just
within the confines of Kensington Gardens, and waiting with more or less
patience until the police officials came to them with news of the result
of the search.

The manageress of the hotel, a smart lady who wore dignified black gowns
all day long--stuff in the morning, and silk at night as if she were a
barrister, gradually advancing in grandeur--gazed at the two callers with
some suspicion as she ushered them into a private room at the back of her
office. The chief, an irreproachably attired man, might have been an army
gentleman, she thought; an instinctive wonder rose in her mind as to
whether he was not some elderly man of standing who, accompanied by his
valet, desired to arrange about a suite of rooms. But his first words
gave her an unpleasant shock--she felt for all the world as if somebody
had suddenly turned a shower of ice-cold water on her.

"Now, ma'am," said the chief, "your husband the manager is out, and you
are in sole and responsible charge, I understand? Pray don't be
alarmed--this is nothing that concerns you or your affairs, personally,
and we will endeavor to arrange everything so that you have no annoyance.
The fact of the case is, we are police officers from the Criminal
Investigation Department at New Scotland Yard, and I hold two warrants,
just granted by a justice of peace, which are in relation to an inmate of
your hotel."

The manageress dropped into a chair and stared at her visitors.
Police officers? Warrants? Justices? It was the first time in her highly
respectable Bayswater existence that she had ever been brought into
contact with these dreadful things. And--an inmate of her establishment!

"Oh, you must be mistaken!" she exclaimed in horror-stricken accents. "A
warrant?--that means you want to arrest somebody. An inmate--surely none
of my servants--"

"Nothing to do with servants," interrupted the chief. "I said an inmate.
Pray don't be alarmed. We want a young lady who is known to you as Miss
Mary Slade."

The manageress got up as quickly as she had sat down. For one moment she
gazed at her visitor as if he had demanded her very life--the next her
lip curled in scorn.

"Miss Slade!" she exclaimed. "Impossible, sir! Miss Slade is a young lady
of the very highest respectability--she has resided in this hotel for
three years!"

"I am quite prepared to believe that a residence of three months under
your roof is enough to confer an irreproachable character on any one,
ma'am," replied the chief with a polite smile. "But the fact remains, I
have here a warrant for Miss Slade's arrest--never mind on what
charge--and here another empowering me to search her room or rooms, her
trunk, any property she has in this house. And as time presses I must ask
you to give us every facility in the performance of our unpleasant duty.
But first a question or two. Miss Slade is not at home?"

"She is not!" replied the manageress emphatically.

"And I think she did not return home last night?" suggested the chief.

"No--she didn't," assented the much perplexed woman. "That's quite true."

"Was that unusual?" asked the chief.

The manageress bit her lip. She did not want to talk, but she had a vague
idea that the law compelled speech.

"Well, I don't know what it's all about," she said, "and I don't want to
say anything that would bring trouble to Miss Slade, but--it was unusual.
For two reasons. I've never known Miss Slade to be away from here for a
night except when she went for her usual month's holiday, and I'm
surprised that she should stop away without giving me word or sending a
telephone message."

"Then her absence was unusual," said the chief smiling. "Now, was there
anything else that was unusual, last night--in connection with it?"

The manageress started and looked at her visitor as if she half suspected
him of possessing the power of seeing through brick walls.

"Well," she said, a little reluctantly, "there was certainly another of
our guests away last night, too--one who scarcely ever is away, and
certainly never without letting us know that he's going away. And it's
quite true he's a very great friend of Miss Slade's--somebody did say,
jokingly, this morning, that perhaps they'd run away and got married."

"Ah!" said the chief, with another smile. "I scarcely think Miss Slade
would contract such an important engagement at this moment, she has
evidently much else to think about. But now let us see Miss Slade's
apartment, if you please, and I shall be obliged to you, ma'am, if you
will accompany us."

Not only did the manageress accompany them, but the manager also, who
just then arrived and was filled with proper horror to hear that such
things were happening. But, being a man, he knew that it is every
citizen's duty to assist the police, and he accepted his fate cheerfully,
and bade his wife give the gentlemen every help that lay in her power.
After which both conducted the two visitors to Miss Slade's room, and
became fascinated in acting as spectators.

Miss Slade's apartment was precisely that of any other young lady of
refined taste. It was a good-sized, roomy apartment, half bedroom, half
sitting-room, and it was bright and gay with books and pictures, and
evidences of literary and artistic fancies and leanings. And Chettle,
taking a first comprehensive look round, went straight to the mantelpiece
and pointed out a certain neatly framed photograph to his superior.

"That's it, sir," he said in a low voice. "That's what the other was
taken from. You know, sir--Mr. James A. Mr. Marshall A. said she said she
was going to have it framed. Odd, ain't it, sir?--if she really is

The chief agreed with his man. It was certainly a very odd thing that
Miss Slade, alias Mrs. Marlow, if she really had any concern with the
murder of James Allerdyke, should put his photograph in a fairly
expensive silver frame, and hang it where she could look at it every
day. But, as Chettle sagely remarked, you never can tell, and you never
can account, and you never know, and meanwhile there was the urgent
business on hand.

The business on hand came to nothing. Manager and manageress watched with
interested amazement while the two searchers went through everything in
that room with a thoroughness and rapidity produced by long practice.
They were astounded at the deftness with which the heavy-looking Mr.
Chettle explored drawers and trunks, and the military-looking chief
peered into wardrobes and cupboards and examined desks and tables. But
they were not so much astonished as the two detectives themselves were.
For in all that room--always excepting the photograph of James
Allerdyke--there was not a single object, a scrap of paper, anything
whatever, which connected the Miss Slade of the Pompadour with the Mrs.
Marlow of Fullaway's or bore reference to the matter in hand. The
searchers finally retired utterly baffled.

"Drawn blank," murmured the chief good-humouredly. He turned to the
lookers-on. "I suppose you have nothing of Miss Slade's?" he said.
"Nothing confined to your care, eh?"

The manageress glanced at her husband, with whom she had kept up a
whispered conversation. The manager nodded.

"Better tell them," he said. "No good keeping anything back."

"Ah!" said the chief. "You have something?"

"A small parcel," admitted the manageress, "which she gave me a few days
ago to lock up in our safe. She said it contained something valuable, and
she hadn't anything to lock it up in. It's in the safe now."

"I'm afraid we must see it," said the chief.

At the foot of the stairs the hall-porter accosted the party and looked
at the chief narrowly.

"Name of Chettle, sir?" he asked. "You're wanted at our

The chief motioned to Chettle, who went off with the hall-porter; he
himself followed the manageress into her office. She unlocked a safe,
rummaged amongst its contents, and handed him a small square parcel, done
up in brown paper and sealed with black wax. Before he could open it,
Chettle returned, serious and puzzled, and whispered to him. Then, with
the shortest of leave-takings, the two officers hurried away from the
Pompadour, the chief carrying the little parcel tightly grasped in his
right hand.



Once outside the Pompadour Hotel the chief and his subordinate hurried at
a great pace towards the Lancaster Gate entrance to Kensington Gardens.
And when they had crossed Bayswater Road the superior pulled himself up,
took a breath, and looked around him.

"No sign of them yet, Chettle," he observed. "Did he say at once?"

"Said they'd be on their way in two minutes, sir," answered Chettle. "And
it wouldn't take them many minutes to run up here."

"I wonder what it's all about?" mused the chief. "Some new development
since we left the Yard, of course. Well--I think we may probably find
something in this parcel, Chettle, that will surprise us as much as any
new development can possibly do. It strikes me--"

"Here they are, sir!" interrupted Chettle. He had lingered on the
kerb, looking towards the rise of the road going towards the Marble
Arch, and his quick eyes had spotted a closed taxi-cab which came out
of the Marlborough Gate at full speed and turned down in their
direction. "Blindway and two others," he announced. "Seems to be in
force, sir, anyhow!"

The taxi-cab pulled up at the little gate leading into Kensington Gardens
by the pumping-station, and Blindway, followed by two other men,
hurriedly descended and joined his superior.

"Well, what is it?" demanded the chief. "Something new? And about
this affair?"

Blindway made a gesture suggesting that they should enter the Gardens;
once within he drew the chief aside, leaving his companions with Chettle.

"About half an hour ago," he said, "a telephone message came on from the
City police. They said they'd received some queerish information about
this affair, but only particularly about the death of that man down at
the hotel in the Docks. Their information ran to this--that the actual
murderer has an appointment with some of his associates this afternoon at
that tea-house in Hyde Park, and that if the City police would send some
plain-clothes men up there he'll be pointed out. So the City lot want us
to join them, and I was sent along to meet you here, sir--I've brought
those two men and of course there's Chettle. We're all to go along to
this tea-house, not in a body, naturally, but to sort of drop in, and to
wait events. Of course, sir, that last murder occurred in the City, and
so the City police want to come in at it, and--"

"No further details?" asked the chief, obviously puzzled. "Nothing as to
who's going to point out the murderer, and so on?"

"Nothing!" replied Blindway. "At least, nothing reported to us. All we've
got to do is to be there, on the spot, and to keep our eyes open for the
critical moment."

"And what time is the critical moment to be?" asked the chief, a little
superciliously. "It all seems remarkably vague, Blindway--why couldn't
they give us more news?"

"Don't know, sir--they seemed purposely vague," replied the detective.
"However, the time fixed is two o'clock. To be there about two--that was
the request--at least four of us."

The chief turned and summoned the other three men.

"You'd better break up," he said. "Two of you approach the place from one
way--two from another. It's now a quarter-past one--you've plenty of
time. Stroll across the park to this spot--I'll join you by two o'clock.
I believe you can get light refreshments at this tea-house; get
yourselves something, so as to look like mere loungers--but keep your
eyes open."

"Do you want me, sir?" asked Chettle, eyeing the parcel with evident
desire to know what mystery it concealed.

"No--you go with Blindway," answered the chief. "He'll tell you what's
happened. I must join Mr. Allerdyke and Mr. Appleyard--then we'll come
over to you. Don't take any notice of us."

The four detectives went off into Hyde Park, and there separated in
couples; the chief turned and went along the straight path which runs
parallel with Bayswater Road just within the shrubberies of Kensington
Gardens. Presently he caught sight of Allerdyke and Appleyard, who
occupied two chairs under a shady hawthorn tree, and he laid hold of
another, dragged it to them, and sat down. Each looked a silent inquiry,
and the chief, with a smile, held up the parcel.

"Chettle and I," he said, "have, in the presence of the manager and
manageress of the Pompadour, made a thorough examination of the room and
the belongings of the young lady who resides there under the name of Miss
Slade. There is not a jot or tittle of anything there to show that she is
also Mrs. Marlow--except one thing. That, Mr. Allerdyke, is the
all-important photograph of your cousin James, which is hanging, in a
neat silver frame, over her mantelpiece. What do you think of that,

"Odd!" said Appleyard, after a moment's reflective silence.

"Very queer!" said Allerdyke frowning. "Very queer, indeed--considering."

"Queer and odd!" assented the chief. "As to considering--well, I don't
quite know what it is that we are considering. If Miss Slade, alias Mrs.
Marlow, is a member of the gang--if there is one--which killed and robbed
James Allerdyke, it's a decidedly odd and queer thing that she should
frame the victim's portrait and hang it where she'll see it last thing at
night and first thing in the morning. Most extraordinary! And it's made
me think a good deal. I believe you once said, Mr. Allerdyke, that your
cousin was a bit of a ladies' man?"

"Bit that way inclined, was James," replied Allerdyke laconically.
"Yes--he fancied the ladies a bit, no doubt. In quite a proper way, you
know--liked their society, and so on."

"Just so!" assented the chief. "Well, I wonder if he and Miss Slade,
alias Mrs. Marlow, knew each other at all--outside business? But it's not
much use to speculate on that just now--we've more urgent matters to
attend to. And first--this!"

He had put a copy of a morning newspaper round the small brown paper
parcel, and now took it off and showed the parcel itself to the two
wondering men. One of them at any rate uttered a sharp exclamation.

"Brown paper, sealed with black wax!" said Allerdyke, remembering what
Chettle had told him. "Good Lord--what--"

"I don't suppose this is the original brown paper, nor these the
original dabs of black wax," remarked the chief as he produced a pocket
pen-knife. "But this parcel, gentlemen, was recently confided by Miss
Slade to the care of the manageress of the Pompadour, to be put in the
hotel safe--from which it was produced to me twenty minutes ago. And--I
am now going to see what it contains."

The others sat in absorbed silence while the chief delicately removed the
wrappings of the mysterious parcel. A sheet of brown paper, a sheet of
cartridge paper beneath it--and within these very ordinary envelopings an
old cigar-box, loosely tied about with a bit of knotted string.

"Now for it!" said the chief. "The box contains--"

He raised the lid as the other two leaned nearer. A stray ray of
sunlight, filtering through the swaying boughs of the hawthorn, shot down
on the box as the chief lifted a wad of soft paper and revealed a
glittering mass of pearls and diamonds.

"The Princess Nastirsevitch's jewels!" said the chief softly. "That's
just what I expected ever since the manageress gave me this parcel. This,
of course, is the parcel which your cousin sent that night from Hull, Mr.
Allerdyke. It fell into Mrs. Marlow's hands--alias Miss Slade--and here
it is! That's all right."

The other two men stared at the contents of the cigar-box, then at the
chief, then at each other. A deep silence had fallen--it was some minutes
before Allerdyke broke it.

"All wrong, I should say!" he muttered. "However, if those are the
things--I only say if, mind--I suppose we're a step nearer to something
else. But--what?"

The chief, who appeared to both of them to be strangely phlegmatic about
the whole affair, proceeded to close the box, re-invest it in its

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