As Jacintha was retibitcoin usd candlestickring Edouard called to her to stop a minute.
"Oh-h," she exclaimed, "you're catching cold? Come, you must go right upstairs. You can't stay here another minute. I'm nearly through."eth price next week"I was never more contented in my life."
"You've no right to worry me. What would I do if you got sick? Come, I'll stop work till you go.""Well then, little boss, goodbye."With a half suppressed smile at his obedience Alida watched his reluctant departure. She kept on diligently at work, but one might have fancied that her thoughts rather than her exertions were flushing her cheeks.It seemed to her that but a few moments elapsed before she followed him, but he had gone. Then she saw that the rain had ceased and that the clouds were breaking. His cheerful whistle sounded reassuringly from the barn, and a little later he drove up the lane with a cart.She sat down in the kitchen and began sewing on the fine linen they had jested about. Before long she heard a light step. Glancing up, she saw the most peculiar and uncanny-looking child that had ever crossed her vision, and with dismal presentiment knew it was Jane.
Chapter 28 Another WaifIt was indeed poor, forlorn little Jane that had appeared like a specter in the kitchen door. She was as wet and bedraggled as a chicken caught in a shower. A little felt hat hung limp over her ears; her pigtail braid had lost its string and was unraveling at the end, and her torn, sodden shoes were ready to drop from her feet. She looked both curiously and apprehensively at Alida with her little blinking eyes, and then asked in a sort of breathless voice, "Where's him?""Bill" the girl said, with a familiarity which was equally evident in his manner to her, "this lady says a taxi-driver's been killed in the yard, and they've just burnt his body. I've told her that, if they did, it was nothing to do with you."
The man did not appear to regard this statement as incredible, but, unless he were an exceptionally good actor, it was a surprising item of news."I hadn't heard tell of that," he said. "The master told me to stay by the stairs, and not let anyone go down unless he came along with them.""This young lady says she'll give me eighty pounds if I'll let her out."Or a hundred," Irene interrupted quickly, "if you're sharing between you."
The man looked at her sharply. "You'd like to get out," he asked, "to make trouble for us? That'll have to be what the master says.""There's plenty of trouble coming," Irene replied, "whether I get out or not. But I shouldn't make any for you. I might save your life."
"I'd like to know how you'd do that?""By saying that I saw the two men who'd got the taxidriver's body, and that neither of them had red hair.""I don't know that anyone's been killed. It sounds just a tale to me.""Well; it isn't. You'll find somebody's going to get hanged. More than one, I expect. But I don't want anyone to get hanged for murdering me."
The man looked at her speculatively. It had become obvious that he believed her tale, and was considering whether it would be best for himself that he should remain loyal to his employer or purchase the immunity she had offered at the price of assisting her to escape.But as he hesitated Snacklit re-entered the room.Chapter 34 Thurlow Declines To WaitKINDELL RETURNED TO Scotland Yard to find Superintendent Allenby still sitting at his desk and Mr. Thurlow pacing restlessly across the room. It was as though he had left them for a moment only, but Mr. Thurlow showed how different it had seemed to him by the impatient exclamation: "What a time you've been! And all the while the superintendent here begging me to do nothing, and another hour nearly gone, and Irene - it doesn't bear thinking of what may be happening to her! I can only hope you've done something now!"
"I have a proposal from Professor Blinkwell. He might arrange for her return if he were assured that there would be no unpleasant consequences to follow."There was satisfaction in the superintendent's eyes, as well as surprise, as he exclaimed: "You really got him to say that! It's the best day's work you've done yet."
"Of course, he didn't put it into those words. He's as slippery as an eel. He said, if he were to negotiate, he would need authority to make terms of that kind.""Did he say about what? If it were only about the girl's abduction - if that's what's happened - and she were safely returned, we might possibly - I suppose he didn't say anything about drug-smuggling?"
"No. He did mention the Paris murder.""Did he? That's interesting. It's very near to an admission that there is a connection between the two, even if he himself - - ""Yes. I saw that. But it might be going a bit too far. There's the Gustav angle. He knows that he's being questioned about the valise, and that he might be implicated in the murder enquiry. There's a tie-up there.""Never mind that," Irene's father interrupted impatiently. "The question is, what you're going to do now. If you don't do something quickly, I tell you straight that I shall. It's as plain as paint that Blinkwell knows what's up, and it looks to me to be one of those times when a gun talks better than the best policeman I ever met.""You can be sure," the superintendent answered patiently, "we're not going to lose any time; but, if you think a moment, you will see that Kindell has done a great deal to relieve your anxiety and of course ours - because, after making that offer, Blinkwell will take care that nothing happens to Miss Thurlow which would make it more difficult to carry the bargain through. . . . That is, till he gets our reply. There doesn't seem to me, therefore, to be a special hurry about that. Indeed, unless it should be one which will thoroughly satisfy him, there might be an essential advantage in keeping him in suspense."He was speaking to Kindell rather than the ambassador as he continued: "We haven't been doing exactly nothing while you've been away. We haven't had any report in yet of the two cars being seen after you left them, though we've got every available man out on that job. But I expect Gustav is being questioned in Paris now, and it's ten to one that he knows something that could put us on the right track. You can bet anything that, if he does, our friends there will find some way of making him talk.
"And we're enquiring about the owners of all the other cars that might have been faked to look like Miss Courtney's. That's an almost certain line of enquiry, though it may not be as quick as the occasion requires."Two of the cars of same pattern and colour recently sold were to members of the family of the Earl of Barleigh. There's not much hope there. We already know that one's in a garage in Lancashire. Another's in Belgium. Another belongs to Snacklit, the man who runs the well-known Dogs' Home. There's a chance there, but nobody'd call it good. The Divisional Superintendent says they've never had any complaint against him. Quite the other way. Still, we're taking nothing for granted. We're enquiring about his car now - where it is, and whether it's been out during the day.
"Another car was sold to Sellwell, the stockbroker who failed last August. He's failed twice before, and those little episodes seem to make no difference to his style of living. He's my choice, and an officer will be ringing his bell just about now."Mr. Thurlow said: "That's what we were arguing when you came in. I say a stockbroker isn't the kind. I don't care whether he's inside the Exchange or out, or whether he fails once a week. The dogs' meat man's my pigeon."
"He isn't a dogs' meat man," the superintendent replied with the calmness that Thurlow had found it so hard to endure; "he keeps a Dogs' Home. Kindness to animals and all that. His father was one of the most famous philanthropists of his time. . . . Still, I've an open mind. It's a startling world. Any minute we may know now."Even as he spoke, the telephone rang, and his two impatient companions had to wait while he listened silently to a rather long report, at the end of which he only said: "Thanks, Chorley you've done well. That's about what I expected. You'd better stand by for further orders."
He had scarcely laid down the receiver, and had no time to report what had been said, before the bell rang again, and there was a second report to be received in the same way. And this time his concluding comment, though briefer, was almost in the same words. He only said: "Well, that's that. It's just about what I was expecting to hear."Then he turned to Thurlow to say, "We've had reports in now about both Snacklit and Sellwell, and if I'd taken the bet you offered I'm afraid you'd have lost."As to Snacklit, he's had his car out during the day. Of course, you'd expect that. It would be more likely than not. But he met our enquiry reasonably, as any decent man would. Gave an account of where he'd been and why, and told us how it could be checked up if we should wish."Our man says he'd had a few words with someone in the yard before he asked to speak to Snacklit himself, and he gave just the same account of where the car had been.
"Sellwell acted differently. I'd put Chorley, one of our best men, on to him. He got into the garage first without being noticed, and he says the engine was still warm, so we know that that car had been out too. And that's all we do know. Chorley said he hadn't spoken a couple of sentences before Sellwell told him to go to hell"Chorley isn't quick-tempered. He says he tried to take it in a good-humoured way, and get Sellwell to listen, but the man worked himself up into a vile temper, and said that if he didn't get out he'd get thrown. So he came away, but he had the sense to put a man on to watch the house before reporting to me.
"There's nothing conclusive, of course, in either case; but you can see which of them acted like an innocent man.""You mean Sellwell, sir?" Kindell asked. He was less sure, but he knew that Allenby was a shrewd officer, whose mistakes were few.
"Naturally.""I wonder - - " Kindell began, and stopped.
"Wondering what? You needn't mind saying; even if it were whether I am a fool. You may be sure of that. Superintendents always are."Allenby smiled as he said this. His reputation was too securely founded for him to be over-sensitive to criticism, nor was he of the kind to refuse to listen to a subordinate's views."I was just wondering whether you would have judged the two reports quite in the same way if you hadn't had the previous argument.""That's how it looks to you? . . . Well, whatever I think, we'll follow them both up."
Mr. Thurlow broke in impatiently: "We're getting nowhere. What I want to know is what you're going to do about Blinkwell's offer.""I couldn't make such a deal on my own authority. Only the Home Secretary could do that. I was on the point of saying that I propose to report the matter to the Assistant Commissioner immediately, and if he thinks that such a bargain should be made he will doubtless lay the whole matter before Mr. Lambton at once. . . . I expect he'll have done that, more or less, already. . . . But, as I said before, I don't think there's any urgency about letting Blinkwell have our reply. While he's waiting, he's sure to be marking time, and that means that he'll be taking particular care of Miss Thurlow while we're pushing our enquiries on.
Mr. Thurlow picked up his hat. "You must go ahead in your own way," he said, "but I'm not hanging about for an hour longer waiting for something to be turned up. I'm going to get Rene home tonight, or someone's going to have a bad time.""What do you propose to do?"
"See Blinkwell. And a few others, if it's still necessary after that. But I expect to find that he'll be able to do what I want. . . . Kindell, you'll do no good staying here. You'd better come with me, and be a witness of what I do."Kindell hesitated. He looked at Superintendent Allenby. But that gentleman nodded silent assent. He had no authority to stop Mr. Thurlow, if he were determined to attempt the rescue of his daughter by his own method, and Kindell's company might be advantageous in several ways.