“In that case you’d have thought he’d have wired Fullaway of their dispatch,” said Allerdyke.
“How do we know that he didn’t intend to, first thing in the morning?” asked Chettle. “He probably did intend to—but he wasn’t there to do it in the morning, poor gentleman! No—and now the thing is, Mr. Allerdyke—prompt action! What do you think, sir?”
“You mean—go and tell everything to your people at headquarters?” asked Allerdyke.
“I shall have to,” answered Chettle. “There’s no option for me—now. What I meant was—are you prepared to tell them all you know?”
“Yes!” replied Allerdyke. “At least, I will be in the morning—first thing. I’ll just tell you how things have gone to-day. Now,” he continued, when he had given Chettle a full account of the recent happenings, “you stay here to-night—you can have my chauffeur’s room, next to mine—and in the morning I’ll telephone to Appleyard to meet us outside of New Scotland Yard, and after a word or two with him, we’ll see your chief, and then—”
Chettle shook his head.
“If that woman got a night’s start, Mr. Allerdyke—” he began.
“Can’t help it now,” said Allerdyke decisively. “Besides, you don’t know what Appleyard mayn’t have learned during the night.”
But when Appleyard met them in Whitehall next morning,
in response to
Allerdyke’s telephone summons, his only news was that neither Rayner nor
Miss Slade had returned to the Pompadour, and without another word
Allerdyke motioned Chettle to lead the way to the man in authority.
THE PACKET IN THE SAFE
It was to a hastily called together gathering of high police officials that the three visitors told all they knew. One after another they related their various stories—Chettle of his doings and discoveries at Hull, Allerdyke of what had gone on at the hotel, Appleyard of the mysterious double identity of the woman who was Miss Slade in one place and Mrs. Marlow in another. The officials listened quietly and absorbedly, rarely interrupting the narrators except to ask a searching question. And in the end they talked together apart, after which all went away except the man who had kept his hands on the reins from the beginning. He turned to his visitors with an air of decision.