“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 ourselves!”
PARTICIPANTS IN THE SECRET
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.