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 arch-murderer!”
THE CARD ON THE DOOR
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?”