"Don't be silly, girls," cried the baroness, eth mensacheerfully; "there isnobody killed that we care about."Dr. Aubertin read the rest to himself.
Alida now laughed outright, without reservation.uniswap exchange how to"'By jocks!' as Watterly says, what a difference there is in women!" he soliloquized on his way to the barn. "Well, the church question is settled for the present, but if Alida should ask me to go, after her manner this morning, I'd face the whole creation with her."
When at last he came in and threw off his waterproof coat, the kitchen was in order and his wife was sitting by the parlor fire with Thomson's "Land and the Book" in her hand."Are you fond of reading?" he asked."Yes, very.""Well, I am, too, sort of; but I've let the years slip by without doing half as much as I ought.""Light your pipe and I'll read to you, if you wish me to."
"Oh, come now! I at least believe in Sunday as a day of rest, and you need it. Reading aloud is about as hard work as I can do.""But I'm used to it. I read aloud to mother a great deal," and then there passed over her face an expression of deep pain."You mean you've - - "
"We've done all we could, of course. And there's still some reason to think it may turn out all right."But there's fresh information just come in from Paris, and the question is really for you, sir. What you think it will be best for us to do. They've got a waiter detained there who's made a statement that Professor Blinkwell murdered Reynard, because he was on the point of revealing to Mr. Thurlow that Blinkwell had got some device for smuggling drugs through with the ambassador's luggage without his knowledge.""You mean Blinkwell, the director of Vantons? It sounds incredible.""I should say it's true, more likely than not. Blinkwell was certainly at the hotel. And someone finally did get the drugs through in that way, though it was by a different trick from the one that Gustav - that's the waiter - says they were first going to use.
"But to say it's probably true isn't to say it can be proved. There's only Gustav's word, and he gave another version before, which we know was all lies."Anyway, the S?ret? seem to have their tails in the air. They say they're sending through the extradition papers at once, and they want us to fetch Blinkwell in before he can get word of what's going on."
"Well, they've a right to ask that. Whether they'll get the extradition depends, of course, on what evidence they can produce. And that's a matter for the court to decide. I'm not concerned about that. It's the American - - ""But that's just where the difficulty comes in. Blinkwell's made an offer, almost in plain words, to hand over Miss Thurlow if we promise to leave him and his gang alone. Of course, he doesn't call it his gang, but I should say that's what it is. The question is, if we arrest him now, how's it going to affect that?""You know where Blinkwell is now?""Not exactly. We know that Thurlow went to his house and was out again in about three minutes, driving almost certainly to a Dogs' Home in Hampstead. I should say there'll be quite a party there before long."
"You mean you let His Excellency - - ""I couldn't have stopped him without knocking him down. We've got a good man - not one of the regular force - in his car with him. And there's another car following him wherever he goes, though he isn't likely to know that. Besides that, when I heard which way he was heading, I sent a squad straight to Snacklit's place. That's the Dogs' Home. I saw them off just before I took the Paris call. They ought to be there by now.""Well, I expect you've done all you could. We must just hope for the best. I suppose we shall soon know.""Yes, sir. I think we have. And as to pulling Blinkwell in - "
"I shouldn't do that, unless you think it will help you in this matter. I want you to put the Thurlows' interests first. Get them out of it, and then - - ""Yes, sir. I understand."
Mr. Lambton said that he had no doubt of that. He wished to be rung up instantly if anything of importance should occur. Not to his secretary. Not through the Commissioner. Allenby was to report to him direct. He would be at the House for the next two hours, if not three.Chapter 38 Incidents Of An Active Hour
IF WE SHOULD be disposed to consider that some of those concerned acted with extreme folly and disregard for almost certain consequences to themselves during the hour with which we are now dealing, we should give due weight to the fact that no one but the three concerned were aware of the conversation which had occurred between Irene, Kate, and Billson. And if we should go on to analyse cause and effect, and to observe the perverse results of the most cautious and intelligent courses, we may see the origin of all that followed in the telephone message from Professor Blinkwell, which caused Snacklit to leave Irene, to which the action of Allenby in sending an officer to enquire concerning Snacklit's car must be added, as it prolonged Snacklit's absence from the room. . . .The long fa?ade of Snacklit House had three entrances. One was closed by the wide gates into the yard. One, the central and most imposing, was that which gave access to the business premises, where dogs and other animals could be bought, or deposited for hospital treatment, or for the destruction of which it was etiquette to speak so delicately, and which was so discreetly, expeditiously and thoroughly done.Beyond that was the entrance to the philanthropist's private residence. It had an appearance of modesty, disguising the fact that it led to luxurious apartments which crossed the complete length of the rear of the building, both at its first and second floors.Professor Blinkwell, who knew the place, directed his chauffeur to drive to the private entrance, and to wait for him there. He did not intend there should be any appearance of his having made a furtive visit. He acted on his usual principle of conforming to the natural conduct of a man whose conscience is well at ease. In the past, he had found it to be a method which served him well.Kate was the one who normally opened the door, as she did now. Billson was in charge of the main entrance, which was closed at this hour, but there was another reason why he was not on the scene, to which we shall come.Kate took the Professor's name, which was strange to her. She knew that customers came at all hours, and such she took him to be. She asked him to take a seat in the hall, and went to give Snacklit his name. The Professor gave her a ten yards' start, and then followed her. The carpets were soft and thick and she did not hear him until she had knocked at the door of her master's room. He was close behind her then. He said: "All right, my good girl. I can manage now." She thought it discreet to withdraw.
Snacklit called, "Come in," in a voice of irritation, and stared in surprise unmixed with pleasure when he saw who it was who entered. The Professor looked equally surprised at the condition of the man upon whom he intruded with so little ceremony.Snacklit lay back on a settee. There was a swelling on the side of his head where it had been first hit, and the black bruise, streaked with drying blood, had now spread over half his face. He held a reddened towel, with which he was still wiping blood from his mouth.
"You seem," the Professor said coldly, "to have been making a mess of things, or perhaps I should say that they have been making a mess of you.""It's that she-devil whose been handling the stuff," Snacklit answered. "She looked as though a mouse could have made her jump; but you never know."
"Well," the Professor answered, "you shouldn't have brought her here. It was the act of a fool, and I've come to see what can be done now.""I didn't bring her. She followed me."
"We won't argue that. The question is where she is now.""She's where she'll be no more trouble to us. Burfoot's seeing to that.""You mean - - ""Yes. She went off with him like a lamb." Snacklit's face was contorted into a difficult smile at the recollection.
"How long ago was this?""Ten minutes. Maybe a bit more."
"Then it would be too late to interfere?""That's a safe guess."
"Then we won't attempt it. After all, it may be the best way. But I had told you - - ""You didn't know that she'd seen the taxi-man after he'd been knocked on the head?"
"Did she? That was certainly an argument for ruling a double line. But it is a matter on which I must be sure that there has been no further mistake. I should like to see her before I go.""She'd be a queer sight by now.""It will be one that I can endure. She would still I suppose be in the gas-chamber?""I don't know that. Burfoot wouldn't lose any time. He might have her in the furnace by now."
"So I expect he will. I have been informed that he is both thorough and energetic in all he does. Perhaps you will show me the way there? I should like to see for myself, and after that the incident shall not be mentioned between us again."On this assurance, which sounded satisfactory to him, and in saying which the Professor had spoken with a literal sincerity which he did not always employ, Snacklit rose and led the way down the corridor, and by a back-stair to the walled enclosure beside the garden in which the incinerator was built.
"You have," Professor Blinkwell remarked, as they approached it, "a furnace of ample size."Mr. Snacklit was gratified by this recognition, so that he almost forgot the pains he was enduring as he replied that it was his policy to be ready for all emergencies. There were occasions when a large number of dogs had to be destroyed in a short time. It would be objectionable to keep them lying about, as might happen in smaller and less efficient establishments. And the proportion of large dogs (such as Great Danes and mastiffs) which were offered for his ministrations (probably owing to the cost of their food) was high.
As he completed this explanation, they reached the door of the furnace, where the man Wilkes, of whom we have seen nothing except that brief moment when he shared the labour of wheeling the dead taxi-driver across the garden, and of whom we know nothing beyond the negative fact that he had not got red hair, was standing by.Snacklit asked, "Anything special put into the furnace just lately?"