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The Rayner-Slade Amalgamation by J. S. Fletcher

Part 5 out of 5

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wrappings, and tie it about with the original string.

"We are certainly a step nearer to a good deal," he said, making a neat
job of his parcel and patting it affectionately as if he had been a
milliner's apprentice doing up a choice confection. "And the next thing
we do is to take a walk together into Hyde Park. On the way I will tell
you why we are going there--that is, I will tell you what I know of the
reason for such an expedition. It isn't much--but it has certain

The two North-countrymen listened with great curiosity as they marched
across the grass towards the tea-house. Each possessed the North-country
love of the mysterious and the bizarre--this last development tickled
their fancy and stirred their imagination.

"What on earth d'ye make out of it all?" asked Allerdyke. "Gad!--it's
more like a children's game of hide-and-seek in an old house of nooks and
corners than what I should have imagined police proceedings would be.
What say you, Ambler?"

"I don't know how much romance and adventure there usually are in police
proceedings," replied Appleyard cautiously.

"A good answer, Mr. Appleyard," said the chief laughing. "Ah, there's a
lot more of both than civilians would think, in addition to all the
sordid and dismal details. What do I make out of it, Mr. Appleyard?
Why--I think somebody has all this time been making a special
investigation of this mystery for himself, and that at last he's going to
wind it up with a sensational revelation to--us! Don't you be surprised
if you've an application for that fifty thousand pound reward before

"You really think that?" exclaimed Allerdyke incredulously.

"I shouldn't be surprised," answered the chief, "Something considerable
is certainly at hand. Now let us settle our plan of campaign. This
tea-garden, I remember, is a biggish place. We will sit down at one of
the tables--we will appear to be three quiet gentlemen disposed to take a
cup of coffee with our cigars or cigarettes--we will be absorbed in our
own conversation and company, but at the same time we will look about us.
Therefore, use your eyes, gentlemen, as much as you like--but don't
appear to take any particular interest in anything you see, and don't
openly recognize any person you set eyes on."

It was a very warm and summer-like day, and the lawns around the
tea-house were filled with people, young and old. Some were drinking tea,
some coffee; some were indulging in iced drinks. Nursemaids and children
were much in evidence under the surrounding trees; waitresses were
flitting about hither and thither: there was nothing to suggest that this
eminently London park scene was likely to prove the setting of the last
act of a drama.

"You're much more likely to see and to recognize than we are," remarked
Allerdyke, as the three gathered round a table on the edge of the crowd.
"For my part I see nothing but men, women, and children--except that I
also see Chettle, sitting across yonder with another man who's no doubt
one of your lot."

"Just so," assented the chief. He gave an order for coffee to a passing
waitress, lighted a cigar which Allerdyke offered him, and glanced round
as if he were looking at nothing in particular. "Just so. Well, I see my
own four men--I also see at least six detectives who belong to the City
police, and there may be more. But I know those six personally. They are
spread about, all over the place, and I daresay that every man is very
much on the stretch, innocent enough as he looks."

"Six!" exclaimed Appleyard. "And four of yours! That looks as if they
expected to have to tackle a small army!"

"You never know what you may have to tackle in affairs like this,"
replied the chief. "Nothing like having reserves in hand, you know. Now
let me give you a tip. It is almost exactly two o'clock. Never mind the
people who are already here, gentlemen. Keep your eyes open on any
new-comers. Look out--quietly--for folk who seem to drop in as casually
as we do. Look, for example, at those two well-dressed men who are coming
across the sward there, swinging their sticks. They--"

Allerdyke suddenly bent his head towards the table.

"Careful!" he said. "Gad!--I know one of 'em, anyhow. Van Koon, as I



The chief allowed himself to take a quick searching glance at the two men
he had indicated. He had already heard of Van Koon and of his sudden
disappearance from the hotel after the chance encounter with Chilverton,
and he now regarded him with professional interest.

"The tall man, you mean?" he asked.

"Just so," answered Allerdyke. "The other man I don't know. But that's
Van Koon. What's he here for, now? Is he in this, after all?"

The chief made no reply. He was furtively watching the two men, who had
dropped into chairs at a vacant table beneath the shade of the trees and
were talking to a waitress. Having taken a good look at Van Koon, he
turned his attention to Van Koon's companion, a little, dapper man,
smartly dressed in bright blue serge, and finished off with great care in
all his appointments. He seemed to be approaching middle age; there were
faint traces of grey in his pointed beard and upward-twisted moustaches;
he carried his years, however, in very jaunty fashion, and his white
Homburg hat, ornamented with a blue ribbon, was set at a rakish angle on
the side of his close-cropped head. In his right eye he wore a
gold-rimmed monocle; just then he was bringing it to bear an the waitress
who stood between himself and his companion.

"You don't know the other man, either of you?" asked the chief suddenly.

Allerdyke shook his head, but Appleyard nodded.

"I know that chap by sight," he said. "I've seen him in the City--about
Threadneedle Street--two or three times of late. He's always very smartly
dressed--I took him for a foreigner of some sort."

The chief turned to his coffee.

"Well--never mind him," he said. "Pay no attention--so long as that man
is Van Koon, I'll watch him quietly. But you may be sure he has come here
on the same business that has brought us here. I--"

Allerdyke, whose sharp eyes were perpetually moving round the crowded
enclosure and the little groups which mingled outside it, suddenly nudged
the chief's elbow.

"Miss Slade!" he whispered. "And--Rayner!"

Appleyard had caught sight of his two fellow inmates of the Pompadour at
the very moment in which Allerdyke espied them. He slightly turned away
and bent his head; Allerdyke followed his example.

"You can't mistake them," he said to the chief. "I've described the man
to you--a hunchback. They're crossing through the crowd towards the
tea-house door."

"And they've gone in there," replied the chief in another minute.
"Um!--this is getting more mysterious than ever. I wish I could get a
word with some of our men who really know something! It seems to me--"

But at that moment Blindway came strolling along, his nose in the air,
his eyes fixed on the roofs of the houses outside the park, and he
quietly dropped a twisted scrap of paper at his superior's feet as he
passed. The chief picked it up, spread it out on the marble-topped table,
and read its message aloud to his companions.

"City men say the informant is here and will indicate the men to be
arrested in a few minutes."

The chief tore the scrap of paper into minute shreds and dropped them on
the grass.

"Things are almost at the crisis," he murmured with a smile. "It seems
that we, gentlemen, are to play the part of spectators. The next thing to
turn up--"

"Is Fullaway!" suddenly exclaimed Allerdyke, thrown off his guard and
speaking aloud. "And, by Gad!--he's got that man Chilverton with him.
This--by the Lord Harry, he's caught sight of us, too!"

Fullaway was coming quickly up the lawn from the direction of the
Serpentine; he looked unusually alert, vigorous, and bustling; by his
side, hurrying to keep pace with him, was the New York detective. And
Fullaway's keen eyes, roving about, fell on Allerdyke and the chief
and he made through the crowd in their direction, beckoning Chilverton
to follow.

"Hullo--hullo!" he exclaimed, clapping a hand on Allerdyke's shoulder,
nodding to the chief, and staring inquisitively at Appleyard. "So you're
here, too, eh, Allerdyke? It wasn't you who sent me that mysterious
message, was it?"

"What message?" growled Allerdyke. "Be careful! Don't attract
attention--there are things going on here, I promise you! Drop into
that chair, man--tell Chilverton to sit down. What message are you
talking about?"

Fullaway, quick to grasp the situation, sat down in a chair which
Appleyard pulled forward and motioned his companion to follow his

"I got a queer message--typewritten--on a sheet of notepaper which bore
no address, about an hour ago," he said. "It told me that if I came here,
to this Hyde Park tea-house, at two o'clock, I'd have this confounded
mystery explained. No signature--nothing to show who or where it came
from. So I set out. And just as I was stepping into a taxi to come on
here, I met Chilverton, so he came along with me. What brings you, then?
Similar message, eh? And what--"

"Hush!" whispered Appleyard. "Miss Slade's coming out of the tea-house!
And who's the man that's with her?"

All five men glanced covertly over their shoulders at the open door of
the tea-house, some twenty to thirty yards away. Down its steps came Miss
Slade, accompanied by a man whom none of them had ever seen before--a
well-built, light-complexioned, fair-haired man, certainly not an
Englishman, but very evidently of Teutonic extraction, who was talking
volubly to his companion and making free use of his hands to point or
illustrate his conversation. And when he saw this man, the chief turned
quickly to Allerdyke and intercepted a look which Allerdyke was about to
give him--the same thought occurred to both. Here was the man described
by the hotel-keeper of Eastbourne Terrace and the shabby establishment
away in the Docks!

"Miss Slade!" exclaimed Fullaway. "What on earth are you talking about?
That's my secretary, Mrs. Mar--"

"Sh!" interrupted the chief. "That's one of your surprises, Mr. Fullaway!
Quiet, now, quiet. Our job is to watch. Something'll happen in a minute."

Miss Slade and her talkative companion edged their way through the crowd
and passed out to an open patch of grass whereon a few children were
playing. And as they went, two or three men also separated themselves
from the idlers around the tables and strolled quietly and casually in
the same direction. Also, Van Koon and the man with him left their table,
and, as if they had no object in life but mere aimless chatter and
saunter, wandered away towards the couple who had first emerged from the
enclosure. And thereupon, Fullaway, not to be repressed, burst out with
another exclamation.

"My God, Chilverton!" he cried. "There is Van Koon! And, by all that's
wonderful, Merrifield with him. Now what--"

The New York detective, who was under no orders, and knew no reason why
he should restrain himself, wasted no time in words. Like a flash, he had
leapt from his chair, threaded his way through the surrounding people,
and was after his quarry. And with a muttered exclamation of anger, the
chief rose and followed--and it seemed to Allerdyke that almost at the
same instant a score of men, up to that moment innocently idling and
lounging, rose in company.

"Damn it!" he growled, as he and Appleyard got up. "That chap's going to
spoil everything. What is he after? Confound you, Fullaway!--why couldn't
you keep quiet for a minute? Look there!"

Van Koon had turned and seen Chilverton. So, too, had Van Koon's
companion. So, also, had Miss Slade and the man she was walking with.
That man, too, saw the apparent idlers closing in upon him. For a second
he, and Van Koon, and the other man stared at each other across the
grass; then, as with a common instinct, each turned to flee--and at that
instant Miss Slade, with a truly feminine cry, threw herself upon her
companion and got an undeniably firm grip on his struggling arms.

"This is the Eastbourne Terrace man!" she panted as Allerdyke and
half-a-dozen detectives relieved her. "Get the other two--Van Koon and
Merrifield. Quick!"

But Van Koon was already in the secure grip of Chilverton, and the person
in the light blue suit was being safely rounded up by a posse of
grim-faced men.



In no city of the world is a crowd so quickly collected as in London; in
none is one so easily satisfied and dispersed. Within five minutes the
detectives had hurried their three captives away towards the nearest
cab-rank, and the people who had left their tea and their cakes to gather
round, to stare, and to listen had gone back to their tables to discuss
this latest excitement. But the chief and Allerdyke, Fullaway and
Appleyard, Miss Slade and Rayner stood in a little group on the grass and
looked at each other. Eventually, all looks except Rayner's centred on
Miss Slade, who, somewhat out of breath from her tussle, was settling her
hat and otherwise composing herself. And it was Miss Slade who spoke
first when the party, as a party, found itself capable of speech.

"I don't know who it was," observed Miss Slade, rather more than a little
acidly, "who came interfering in my business, but whoever he was he
nearly spoilt it."

She darted a much-displeased look at the chief, who hastened to
exculpate himself.

"Not I!" he said with a smile. "So don't blame me, Miss Slade. I was
merely a looker-on, a passive spectator--until the right moment
arrived. Do I gather that the right moment had not actually
arrived--for your purpose?"

"You do," answered Miss Slade. "It hadn't. If you had all waited a few
moments you would have had all three men in conference round one of those
tables, and they could have been taken with far less fuss and bother--and
far less danger to me. It's the greatest wonder in the world that I'm not
lying dead on that grass!"

"We are devoutly thankful that you are not," said the chief fervently.
"But--you're not! And the main thing is that the three men are in
custody, and as for interference--"

"It was Chilverton," interrupted Fullaway, who had been staring at his
mysterious secretary as if she were some rare object which he had never
seen before. "Chilverton!--all Chilverton's fault. As soon as he set eyes
on Van Koon nothing would hold him. And what I want to know--"

"We all want to know a good deal," remarked the chief, glancing
invitingly at Miss Slade. "Miss Slade has no doubt a good deal to tell. I
suggest that we walk across to those very convenient chairs which I see
over there by the shrubbery--then perhaps--"

"I want to know a good deal, too," said Miss Slade.

"I don't know who you are, to start with, and I don't know why Mr.
Appleyard happens to be here, to end with."

Appleyard answered these two questions readily.

"I'm here because I happen to be Mr. Allerdyke's London representative,"
he said. "This gentleman is a very highly placed official of the Criminal
Investigation Department."

Miss Slade, having composed herself, favoured the chief with a deliberate

"Oh! in that case," she remarked, "in that case, I suppose I had better
satisfy your curiosity. That is," she continued, turning to Rayner, "if
Mr. Rayner thinks I may?"

"I was going to suggest it," answered Rayner. "Let's sit down and tell
them all about it."

The party of six went across to the quiet spot which the chief had
indicated, and Fullaway and Appleyard obligingly arranged the chairs in
a group. Seated in the midst and quite conscious that she was the
centre of attraction in several ways, Miss Slade began her explanation
of the events and mysteries which had culminated in the recent
sensational event.

"I daresay," she said, looking round her, "that some of you know a great
deal more about this affair than I do. What I do know, however, is
this--the three men who have just been removed are without doubt the
arch-spirits of the combination which robbed Miss Lennard, attempted to
rob Mr. James Allerdyke, possibly murdered Mr. James Allerdyke, and
certainly murdered Lydenberg, Lisette Beaurepaire, and Ebers. Van Koon is
an American crook, whose real name is Vankin; Merrifield, as you know, is
Mr. Delkin's secretary; the other man is one Otto Schmall, a German
chemist, and a most remarkably clever person, who has a shop and a
chemical manufactory in Whitechapel. He's an expert in poison--and I
think you will have some interesting matters to deal with when you come
to tackle his share. Well, that's plain fact; and now you want to know
how I--and Mr. Rayner--found all this out."

"Chiefly you," murmured Rayner, "chiefly you!"

"You had better let your minds go back to the morning of the 13th May
last," continued Miss Slade, paying no apparent heed to this
interruption. "On that morning I arrived at Mr. Fullaway's office at my
usual time, ten o'clock, to find that Mr. Fullaway had departed
suddenly, earlier in the morning, for Hull. I at once guessed why he had
gone--I knew that Mr. James Allerdyke, in charge of the Princess
Nastirsevitch's jewels, was to have landed at Hull the night before, and
I concluded that Mr. Fullaway had set off to meet him. But Mr. Fullaway
has a bad habit of leaving letters and telegrams lying about, for any one
to see, and within a few minutes I found on his desk a telegram from Mr.
Marshall Allerdyke, dispatched early that morning from Hull, saying that
his cousin had died suddenly during the night. That, of course,
definitely explained Mr. Fullaway's departure, and it also made me
wonder, knowing all I did know, if the jewels were safe.

"This, I repeat, was about ten to half-past ten o'clock. About twelve
o'clock of that morning, the 13th, Mr. Van Koon, whom I knew as a
resident in the hotel, and a frequent caller on Mr. Fullaway, came in. He
wanted Mr. Fullaway to cash a cheque for him. I told him that I could do
that, and I took his cheque, wrote out one of my own and went up town to
Parr's Bank, at the bottom of St. Martin's Lane, to get the cash for him.
Mr. Van Koon stayed in the office, reading a bundle of American
newspapers which had just been delivered. I was away from the office
perhaps forty minutes or so; when I returned he was still there. I gave
him the money; he thanked me, and went away.

"Towards the end of that afternoon, just before I was leaving the office,
I got a wire from Mr. Fullaway, from Hull. It was quite short--it merely
informed me that Mr. James Allerdyke was dead, under mysterious
circumstances, and that the Nastirsevitch property was missing. Of
course, I knew what that meant, and I drew my own conclusions.

"Now I come to the 14th--a critical day, so far as I am concerned.
During the morning a parcels-van boy came into the office. He said that
on the previous day, about half-past twelve o'clock, he had brought a
small parcel there, addressed to Mr. Fullaway, and had handed it to a
gentleman who was reading newspapers, and who had answered 'Yes' when
inquired of as Mr. Fullaway. This gentleman--who, of course, was Van
Koon--had signed for the parcel by scribbling two initials 'F. F.' in the
proper space. The boy, who said he was new to his job, told me that the
clerk at the parcels office objected to this as not being a proper
signature, and had told him to call next time he was passing and get the
thing put right. He accordingly handed me the sheet, and I, believing
that this was some small parcel which Van Koon had taken in, signed for,
and placed somewhere in the office or in Mr. Fullaway's private room,
signed my own name, for Franklin Fullaway, over the penciled initials.
And as I did so I noticed that the parcel had been sent from Hull.

"When the boy had gone I looked for that parcel. I could not find it
anywhere. It was certainly not in the office, nor in any of the rooms of
Mr. Fullaway's suite. I was half minded to go to Mr. Van Koon and ask
about it, but I decided that I wouldn't; I thought I would wait until Mr.
Fullaway returned. But all the time I was wondering what parcel it could
be that was sent from Hull, and certainly dispatched from there on the
very evening before Mr. Fullaway's hurried journey.

"Nothing happened until Mr. Fullaway came back. Then a lot of things
happened all at once. There was the news he brought about the Hull
affair. Then there was the affair of the French maid. A great deal got
into the newspapers. Mr. Rayner and I, who live at the same
boarding-house, began to discuss matters. I heard, through Mr. Fullaway,
that there was likelihood of a big reward, and I determined to have a try
for it--in conjunction with Mr. Rayner. And so I kept my own counsel--I
said nothing about the affair of the parcel."

Fullaway, who had been manifesting signs of impatience and irritation
during the last few minutes, here snapped out a question.

"Why didn't you tell me at once about the parcel?" he demanded. "It was
your duty!"

Miss Slade gave her employer a cool glance.

"Possibly!" she retorted. "But you are much too careless to be entrusted
with secrets, Mr. Fullaway. I knew that if I told you about that parcel
you'd spoil everything at once. I wanted to do things my own way. I took
my own way--and it's come out all right, for everybody. Now, don't you or
anybody interrupt again--I'm telling it all in order."

Fullaway made an inarticulate growling protest, but Miss Slade took no
notice and continued in even, dispassionate tones, as if she had been
explained a mathematical problem.

"The affair prospered. The Princess came. The reward of fifty thousand
pounds was offered. Then Mr. Rayner and I put our heads together more
seriously. Much, of course, depended upon me, as I was on the spot. I
wanted a chance to get into Van Koon's rooms, some time when he was out.
Fortunately the chance came. One afternoon, when Van Koon was in our
office, he and Mr. Fullaway settled to dine out together and go to the
theatre afterwards. That gave me my opportunity. I made an excuse about
staying late at Mr. Fullaway's office and when both men were clear away I
let myself into Van Koon's room--I'd already made preparations for
that--and proceeded to search. I found the parcel. It was a small, square
parcel, done up in brown paper and sealed with black wax; it had been
opened, the original wrapper put on again, and the seals resealed. I took
it into Mr. Fullaway's rooms and opened it, carefully. Inside I found a
small cigar-box, and in it the Princess's jewels. I took them out. Then I
put certain articles of corresponding weight into the box, did it up
again precisely as I had found it, smeared over the seals with more black
wax, went back to Van Koon's room with it, and placed it again where I
had found it--in a small suit-case.

"I now knew, of course, that Mr. James Allerdyke had sent those jewels
direct to Mr. Fullaway, immediately on his arrival in Hull, and that they
had fallen by sheer accident into Van Koon's hands. But I wanted to know
more. I wanted to know if Van Koon had any connection with this affair,
and if, when he saw that the parcel was from Hull, he had immediately
jumped to the conclusion that it might be from James Allerdyke, and might
contain the actual valuables. Fortunately, Mr. Rayner had already made
arrangements with a noted private inquiry agent to have Van Koon most
carefully and closely watched. And the very day after I found and took
possession of the jewels we received a report from this agent that Van
Koon was in the habit of visiting the shop and manufactory of a German
chemist named Schmall, in Whitechapel. Further, he had twice come away
from it, after lengthy visits, in company with a man whom the agent's
employees had tracked to the Hotel Cecil, and whom I knew, from their
description, to be Mr. Merrifield, Mr. Delkin's private secretary.

"Naturally, having discovered this, we gave instructions for a keener
watch than ever to be kept on both these men. But the name of the German
chemist gave me personally a new and most important clue. There had been
employed at the Waldorf Hotel, for some weeks up to the end of the first
week in May, a German-Swiss young man, who then called himself Ebers. He
acted as valet to several residents; amongst others, Mr. Fullaway. He was
often in and out of Mr. Fullaway's rooms. Once, Mr. Fullaway being out,
and I having nothing to do, I was cleaning up some photographic apparatus
which I had there. This man Ebers came in with some clothes of Mr.
Fullaway's. Seeing what I was doing, he got talking to me about
photography, saying that he himself was an amateur. He recommended to me
certain materials and things of that sort which he said he could get from
a friend of his, a chemist, who was an enthusiastic photographer and
manufactured chemicals and things used in photography. I gave him some
money to get me a supply of things, and he brought various packets and
parcels to me two or three days later. Each packet bore the name of Otto
Schmall, and an address in a street which runs off Mile End Road.

"Now, when the private inquiry agent made his reports to Mr. Rayner and
myself about Van Koon, and told us where he had been tracked to more than
once, I, of course, remembered the name of Schmall, and Mr. Rayner and I
began to put certain facts together. They were these:

"_First._--Ebers had easy access to Mr. Fullaway's room at all hours, and
was often in them when both Mr. Fullaway and I were out. Mr. Fullaway is
notoriously careless in leaving papers and documents, letters and
telegrams lying around. Ebers had abundant opportunities of reading lots
of documents relating to (1) the Pinkie Pell pearls, and (2) the
proposed Nastirsevitch deal.

"_Second._--Ebers was a friend of Sehmall. Schmall was evidently a man of
great cleverness in chemistry.

"_Third._--All the circumstances of Mr. James Allerdyke's death, and of
Lisette Beaurepaire's death, pointed to unusually skillful poisoning. Who
was better able to engineer that than a clever chemist?

"_Fourth._--The jewels belonging to the Princess Nastirsevitch had
undoubtedly fallen into Van Koon's hands. Van Koon was a friend of
Schmall. So also, evidently, was Merrifield. Now, Merrifield, as Delkin's
secretary, knew of the proposed deal.

"Obviously, then, Schmall, Van Koon, and Merrifield were in
league--whether Ebers was also in league, or was a catspaw, we did not
trouble to decide. But there was another fact which seemed to have some
bearing, though it is one which I have never yet worked out--perhaps some
of you know something of it. It was this: Just before he went to Russia,
Mr. James Allerdyke, being in town, gave me a photograph of himself which
Mr. Marshall Allerdyke had recently taken. I kept that photo lying on my
desk at Mr. Fullaway's for some time. One day I missed it. It is such an
unusual thing for me to misplace anything that I turned over every paper
on my desk in searching for it. It was not to be found. Four days later I
found it, exactly where it ought to have been. Now, you can draw your own
conclusions from that--mine are that Ebers stole it, so that he could
reproduce it in order to give his reproduction to some person who wanted
to identify James Allerdyke at sight.

"However, to go forward to the discovery which we made about Schmall,
Van Koon, and Merrifield. As soon as we made that discovery, Mr. Rayner
was for going to the police at once, but I thought not--there was still
certain evidence which I wanted, so that the case could be presented
without a flaw. However, all of a sudden I saw that we should have to
act. Ebers was found dead in a small hotel near the Docks, and at a
conference in which Mr. Fullaway insisted I should join, in his rooms,
and at which Van Koon, who had been playing a bluff game, was present,
there was enough said to convince me that Van Koon and his associates
would take alarm and be off with what they believed themselves to
possess--the jewels in that parcel. So then Mr. Rayner and I determined
on big measures. And they were risky ones--for me.

"I had already been down, more than once, into Whitechapel, and had
bought things at Schmall's shop, and I was convinced that he was the man
who accompanied Lisette Beaurepaire to that little hotel in Eastbourne
Terrace. Now that the critical moment came, after the Ebers-Federman
affair, I went there again. I got Schmall outside his premises. I took a
bold step. I told him that I was a woman detective, who, for purposes of
my own, had been working this case, and that I was in full possession of
the facts. If I had not taken the precaution to tell him this in the
thick of a crowded street, he would have killed me on the spot! Then I
went on to tell him more. I said that his accomplice had led him to
believe that he had the Nastirsevitch jewels in a parcel in his
possession. I said that Van Koon was wrong--I had them myself--I told him
how I got them. He nearly collapsed at that--I restored him by saying
that the real object of my visit to him was to do a deal with him. I said
that it did not matter two pins to me what he and his accomplices had
done--what I was out for was money, nothing but money. How much would he
and the others put up for the jewels and my silence? I reminded him of
the fifty thousand pound reward. He glared at me like the devil he is,
and said that he'd a mind to kill me there and then, whatever happened.
Whereupon I told him that I had a revolver in my jacket pocket, that it
was trained on him, and that if he moved, my finger would move just as
quick, and I invited him to be sensible. It was nothing but a question of
money, I said---how much would they give? Finally, we settled it at sixty
thousand pounds. He was to meet me here--to-day at two--the other two
were to be about--the money was to be paid to me on production of the
jewels, for which purpose one of them was to go with me to my
boarding-house. And--you know the rest."

Miss Slade came to a sudden stop. She glanced at Rayner, who had been
watching the effect of her story on the other men.

"At least," she added suddenly, "you know all that's really important.
As Ebers' affair was in the City, we warned the City police and left
things with them. I think that's all. Except, of course, Mr. Marshall
Allerdyke, that we formally claim the reward for which you're
responsible. And--equally of course--that Mr. Rayner and I will hand
over her jewels in the course of this afternoon to the Princess. Miss
Lennard's property, I should say, you'll find hidden away on Schmall's
premises. Yes--that's all."

"Except this," said the chief quietly. He unwrapped the newspaper in
which he had carried his small parcel and revealed its contents to Miss
Slade. "The jewels, you see, Miss Slade, are here. It has been my painful
duty to visit your hotel, and to possess myself of them. Sorry but--"

Miss Slade gave one glance of astonishment at the chief and his exhibit;
then she laughed in his face.

"Don't apologize, and don't trouble yourself!" she said suavely. "But
you're a bit off it, all the same. Those are some paste things which Mr.
Rayner got together for me in case it came to being obliged to exhibit
some to the crooks. You don't think, really, that I was going to run any
risks with the genuine articles? Sakes--they're all right! They're
deposited, snug and safe, at my bankers, and if you'll get a cab, we'll
drive there and get them!"



Late that afternoon Marshall Allerdyke and Fullaway, responding to an
urgent telephone call, went to New Scotland Yard, and were presently
ushered into the presence of the great man who had been so much in
evidence that day. The great man was as self-possessed, as suave, and
as calmly cheerful as ever. And on the desk in front of him he had two
small and neatly made up parcels, tied and sealed in obviously
official fashion.

"So we seem to have come to the end of this affair, gentlemen," he
observed as he waved his visitors to chairs on either side of him.
"Except, of course, for the unpleasant consequences which must
necessarily result to the men we caught to-day. However, there will be no
consequences--of that sort--for one of them. Schmall has--escaped us!"

"Got away!" exclaimed Fullaway. "Great Scott you don't mean that!"

"Schmall committed suicide this afternoon," replied the chief calmly.
"Clever man--in his own line, which was a very bad line. He was searched
most narrowly and carefully, so I've come to the conclusion that he
carried some of his subtle poison in his mouth--the hollow tooth dodge,
no doubt. Anyway, he's dead--they found him dead in his cell. It's a
pity--for he richly deserved hanging. At least, according to Merrifield."

"Ah!" said Fullaway, with a start. "According to Merrifield, eh? Now
what may that mean? To find Merrifield in this at all was, of course, a
regular shock to me!"

"Merrifield--just the type of man who would!--has made a clean breast of
the whole thing," answered the chief. "He made it to me--an hour ago. He
thought it best. He wants--naturally enough--to save his neck."

"Will he?" growled Allerdyke. "A lot of necks ought to crack, after
all this!"

"Can't say--we mustn't prejudge the case," said the chief. "But that's
his desire of course. He would tell me everything--at once. I had it all
taken down. But I remember every scrap of it. You want to hear? Well
there's a good deal of it, but I can epitomize it. You'll find that you
were much to blame, Mr. Fullaway--just as that smart young woman, your
secretary, was candid enough to tell you."

"Oh, I know--I know!" asserted Fullaway. "But--this confession?"

"Very well," responded the chief. "Here it is, then but you must bear in
mind that Merrifield could only tell what he knew--there'll probably be
details to come out later. Anyway, Merrifield--whose chief object is, I
must also remind you, the clearing of himself from any charge of
murder--he doesn't mind the other charge, but he does object to the
graver one!--says that though he's been playing it straight for some
time, ever since he went into Delkin's service, in fact--he'd had
negotiations of a questionable sort with both Schmall and Van Koon
before years ago, in this city and in New York. He renewed his
acquaintance with Schmall when he came over this time with Delkin--met
him accidentally, and got going it with him again--and they both
resumed dealings with Van Koon--who, I may say, was wanted by Chilverton
on a quite different charge. Schmall had set up a business here in the
East End as a small manufacturing chemist--he'd evidently a perfect and
a diabolical genius for chemistry, especially in secret poisons--and
down there Merrifield and Van Koon used to go. Also, there used to go
there the young man Ebers, or Federman--we'll stick to Ebers--who, from
Merrifield's account, seems to have been a tool of Schmall's. Ebers, a
fellow of evident acute perception, used to tell Schmall of things which
his calling as valet at various hotels gave him knowledge--it strikes me
that from what we now know we shall be able to trace to Schmall and
Ebers several robberies at hotels which have puzzled us a good deal. And
there is no doubt that it was Ebers who told Schmall of the two matters
of which he obtained knowledge when he used to frequent your rooms. Mr.
Fullaway--the pearls belonging to Miss Lennard, and the proposed jewel
deal between the Princess Nastirsevitch and Mr. Delkin. But in that last
Merrifield came in. He too, knew of it, and he told Schmall and Van
Koon, but Ebers supplied the detailed information of what you were
doing, through access, as Miss Slade said, to your papers--which you
left lying about, you know."

"I know--I know!" groaned Fullaway. "Careless--careless!"

"Very!" said the chief, with a smile at Allerdyke "Teach you a lesson,
perhaps. However, there this knowledge was. Now, Schmall, according to
Merrifield, was the leading spirit. He had the man Lydenberg in his
employ. He sent him off to Christiania to waylay James Allerdyke: he
supplied him with a photograph of James Allerdyke, which Ebers procured."

"I know that!" muttered Allerdyke. "Clever, too!"

"Exactly," agreed the chief. "Now at the same time Schmall learned of
Miss Lennard's return. He sent Ebers, who already knew and had been
cultivating the French maid, down to Hull to meet her and bring her away
with Miss Lennard's jewel-box. That was done easily. The Lydenberg
affair, however, did not come off--through Lydenberg. Because, as we now
know, James Allerdyke sent the Nastirsevitch jewels off to you, Mr.
Fullaway. But there, fortune favoured these fellows Van Koon, for
purposes of theirs, had taken up his quarters close by you--in your
absence the box came into his hands. And--we know how the ingenious Miss
Slade despoiled him of it!"

The chief paused for a moment, and mechanically shifted the two parcels
which stood before him. He seemed to be reflecting, and when he spoke
again he prefaced his words with a shake of the head.

"Now here, from this point," he continued, "I don't know if Mr.
Merrifield is telling the truth. Probably he isn't. But I confess that,
at present, I don't see how we're going to prove that he isn't. He
strenuously declares that neither he nor Van Koon had anything whatever
to do with the murder of Lisette Beaurepaire, Lydenberg, or Ebers. He
further says that he does not know if Lydenberg poisoned James Allerdyke.
He declares that he does not know if it was ever intended to poison James
Allerdyke, though he confesses that it was intended to rob him at Hull.
Schmall, he says, was the active partner in all this--he took all that
into his own hands. According to Merrifield, he does not know, nor Van
Koon either, if it was Schmall who went down to Hull and shot Lydenberg,
or if Lydenberg was murdered by some person who had a commission for his
destruction from some secret society--Lydenberg, he believed, was mixed
up with that sort of thing."

"I know that, I think!" exclaimed Allerdyke.

"I daresay we all three know what we think," observed the chief. "Schmall
seems to have had a genius for putting his tools out of the way when he
had done with them. It was undoubtedly Schmall who took Lisette
Beaurepaire to that hotel in Paddington and poisoned her; it was just as
undoubtedly Schmall who took Ebers to the hotel in London Docks and got
rid of him. But, I tell you, Merrifield swears that neither he nor Van
Koon knew of these things, and did not connive at them."

"Did they know of them--afterwards?" asked Fullaway.

"Ah!" replied the chief. "That's what they'll have to satisfy a judge and
jury about! I think they'll find it difficult. But--that's about all.
Except this--that they were all three about to clear out when the
enterprising Miss Slade turned up and told Schmall she'd got the
Nastirsevitch jewels. That was a stiff proposition for them. But they
were equal to it. For you see Miss Slade let him know that she was open
to do a deal--for sixty thousand pounds! How were they to get sixty
thousand pounds? Ah!--now came a confession from Merrifield which has
already--for I've told him of it--made Mr. Delkin stare. Delkin, it
appears, keeps a very big banking account here in London--so big, that
his bankers think nothing of his drawing what we should call enormous
cash cheques. Now Merrifield--you see what a clean breast he's
made--admitted to me that he was an expert forger--so he calmly forged a
cheque of Delkin's, drew sixty thousand in notes--and they had them on
them--at least Merrifield had--when we took all three a few hours ago.
Nice people, eh!"

There was a silence of much significance for a few minutes; then
Allerdyke got up from his chair with a growl.

"I'd have given a good deal if that fellow Schmall had saved his neck for
the gallows!" he muttered. "He's cheated me!"

"It's my impression," said the chief, "that if Miss Slade hadn't been so
smart, Schmall would have cheated his two accomplices. He had what he
believed to be the parcel containing the Nastirsevitch jewels in his
possession, and he also had Miss Lennard's pearls locked up in his safe.
We got those this afternoon, on searching his premises; Miss Slade gave
us the real Nastirsevitch jewels from her bank. Here they are--both lots,
in these parcels. And if you two gentlemen will go through the formality
of signing receipts for them, you, Mr. Fullaway, can take her parcel to
the Princess, and you, Mr. Allerdyke, can carry hers to Miss Lennard.
And, er--" he added, with a quiet smile, as he rose and produced some
papers--"you won't mind, either of you, I'm sure, if a couple of my men
accompany you--just to see that you accomplish your respective missions
in safety?"



With the recovered pearls in his hand, and Chettle as guardian and
companion at his side, Allerdyke chartered a taxi-cab and demanded to be
driven to Bedford Court Mansions. And as they glided away up Whitehall he
turned to the detective with a grin that had a sardonic complexion to it.

"Well--except for the law business--I reckon this is about over,
Chettle," he said. "You've had plenty to do, anyway--not much kicking
your heels in idleness anywhere, while this has been going on!"

Chettle pulled a long face and sighed.

"Unfortunate for me, all the same, Mr. Allerdyke," he answered. "I'd
meant to have a big cut in at that reward, sir. Now I suppose that young
woman'll get it."

"Miss Slade'll doubtless get most of it," replied Allerdyke. "But I think
there'll have to be a bit of a dividing-up, like. You fellows are
certainly entitled to some of it--especially you--and two or three of
those folks who gave some information ought to have a look in. But, of
course, Miss Slade will feel herself entitled to the big lump--and she'll
take care to get it, don't make any mistake!"

"She's a deal too clever, that young lady," observed Chettle. "I like 'em
clever, but not quite as clever as all that. In my opinion, she's
mistaken her calling, has that young woman. She ought to have been one
of us--they're uncommonly bent that way, some of these modern
misses--they can see right through a thing, sometimes, where we men can't
see an inch above our noses."

"Intuition," said Allerdyke, with a laugh. "Aye, well perhaps Miss
Slade'll have got so infected with enthusiasm for your business that
She'll go in for it regularly. This reward'll do for capital, you
know, Chettle."

"Ah!" responded Chettle feelingly. "Wish it was coming to me! I
wouldn't put no capital into that business--not me, sir! I'd have a
nice little farm in the country, and I'd grow roses, and breed sheep
and pigs, and--"

"And lose all your brass in a couple of years!" laughed Allerdyke. "Stick
to your own game, my lad, and when you want to grow roses, do it in your
own back yard for pleasure. And here we are--and you'd best wait,
Chettle, until Miss Lennard herself gives a receipt for this stuff, and
then you can take it back to Scotland Yard and frame it."

He left Chettle in an anti-room of Miss Lennard's flat while he himself
was shown into the prima donna's presence. She was alone, and evidently
unoccupied, and her eyes suddenly sparkled when Allerdyke came in as if
she was glad of a visitor.

"You!" she exclaimed. "Really!"

"It's me," said Allerdyke laconically. "Nobody else," He looked round to
make sure that the door was safely closed; then he advanced to the little
table at which Miss Lennard was sitting and laid down his parcel.

"Something for you," he said abruptly. "Open it."

"What is it?" she asked, glancing shyly at him. "Not chocolates--surely!"

"Never bought aught of that sort in my life," replied Allerdyke. "More
respect for people's teeth. Here--I'll open it," he went on, producing a
penknife and cutting the string. "I've signed one receipt for this stuff
already--you'll have to sign another. There's a detective in your parlour
waiting for it, just now."

"A detective!" she exclaimed. "Why--why--you don't mean to say that box
has my pearls in it? Oh! you don't!"

"See if they're all right," commanded Allerdyke "Gad!--they've been
through some queer hands since you lost 'em. I don't know how you feel
about it, but hang me if I shouldn't feel strange wearing 'em again! I
should feel--but I daresay you don't!"

"No, I don't!" she said as she drew the jewels out of their wrappings and
hurriedly examined them. "Of course I don't; all I feel is that I'm
delighted beyond measure to get them back. You don't understand."

"No, I don't," agreed Allerdyke. He dropped into a chair close by, and
quietly regarded the owner of the fateful valuables. "I'm only a man, you
see. But--I should know better how to take care of things like these than
you did. Come, now!"

"I shall take better care of them--in future," said Miss Lennard.

Allerdyke shook his head,

"Not you!" he retorted. "At least--not unless you've somebody to take
care of you. Eh?"

Miss Lennard, who was still examining her recovered property, set it
hastily down and stared at her visitor. Her colour heightened, and her
eyes became inquisitive.

"Take care of--me!" she exclaimed. "Of--whatever are you talking about,
Mr. Allerdyke?"

"It's like this," replied Allerdyke, involuntarily squaring himself in
his chair. "You see me?--I'm as healthy a man as ever lived!--forty, but
no more than five-and-twenty in health and spirits. I've plenty of brains
and a rare good temper. I'm owner of one of the best businesses in
Yorkshire--I'm worth a good ten thousand a year. I've one of the best
houses in our parts--I'm going to take another, a country house, if
you're minded. I'll guarantee to make the best husband--"

Miss Lennard dropped back on her sofa and screamed.

"Good heavens, man?" she exclaimed. "Are you--are you really asking me
to--to marry you?"

"That's it," replied Allerdyke, nodding. "You've hit it. Queer way,
maybe--but it's my way. See?"

"I never heard of--of such a way in all my life!" said the lady.

"I am," said Allerdyke. "Yes--we are out of the ordinary in our part of
the world--we know it. Well," he went on after a moment's silence, during
which they looked at each other, "you've heard what I have to say. How is
it to be?"

The prima donna continued to gaze intently on this strange wooer for a
full minute. Then she suddenly stretched out her hand.

"I'll marry you!" she said quietly.

Allerdyke gave the hand a firm pressure, and stood up, unconsciously
pulling himself to his full height.

"Thank you," he said. "You shan't regret it. And now, then--a pen, if you
please. Sign that."

He handed his betrothed a paper, watched her sign it, and then, picking
up the pen as she laid it down, took a cheque-book from his pocket and
quickly wrote a cheque. This he placed in an envelope taken from the
writing-table. Envelope and receipt in hand, he turned to the door.

"Business first," he said, smiling over his shoulder. "I'll send Chettle
off--then we'll talk about ourselves."

He went away to Chettle and put the paper and the envelope in his hand.

"That's the receipt," he said. "T'other's a bit of a present for
you--naught to do with the reward--a trifle from me. Ah!--you might like
to know that I've just got engaged to be married!"

Chettle glanced round and inclined his head towards the room from which
Allerdyke had just emerged.

"What!--to the lady!" he exclaimed. "Deary me. Well," he went on,
grasping the successful suitor's hand, and giving it a warm and
sympathetic squeeze, "there's one thing I can say, Mr. Allerdyke--you'll
make an uncommon good-looking pair!"

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