“At least,” she added suddenly, “you know all that’s really important. As Ebers’ affair was in the City, we warned the City police and left things with them. I think that’s all. Except, of course, Mr. Marshall Allerdyke, that we formally claim the reward for which you’re responsible. And—equally of course—that Mr. Rayner and I will hand over her jewels in the course of this afternoon to the Princess. Miss Lennard’s property, I should say, you’ll find hidden away on Schmall’s premises. Yes—that’s all.”
“Except this,” said the chief quietly. He unwrapped the newspaper in which he had carried his small parcel and revealed its contents to Miss Slade. “The jewels, you see, Miss Slade, are here. It has been my painful duty to visit your hotel, and to possess myself of them. Sorry but—”
Miss Slade gave one glance of astonishment at the chief and his exhibit; then she laughed in his face.
“Don’t apologize, and don’t trouble yourself!” she said suavely. “But you’re a bit off it, all the same. Those are some paste things which Mr. Rayner got together for me in case it came to being obliged to exhibit some to the crooks. You don’t think, really, that I was going to run any risks with the genuine articles? Sakes—they’re all right! They’re deposited, snug and safe, at my bankers, and if you’ll get a cab, we’ll drive there and get them!”
Late that afternoon Marshall Allerdyke and Fullaway, responding to an urgent telephone call, went to New Scotland Yard, and were presently ushered into the presence of the great man who had been so much in evidence that day. The great man was as self-possessed, as suave, and as calmly cheerful as ever. And on the desk in front of him he had two small and neatly made up parcels, tied and sealed in obviously official fashion.
“So we seem to have come to the end of this affair, gentlemen,” he observed as he waved his visitors to chairs on either side of him. “Except, of course, for the unpleasant consequences which must necessarily result to the men we caught to-day. However, there will be no consequences—of that sort—for one of them. Schmall has—escaped us!”
“Got away!” exclaimed Fullaway. “Great Scott you don’t mean that!”
“Schmall committed suicide this afternoon,” replied the chief calmly. “Clever man—in his own line, which was a very bad line. He was searched most narrowly and carefully, so I’ve come to the conclusion that he carried some of his subtle poison in his mouth—the hollow tooth dodge, no doubt. Anyway, he’s dead—they found him dead in his cell. It’s a pity—for he richly deserved hanging. At least, according to Merrifield.”
“Ah!” said Fullaway, with a start. “According to Merrifield, eh? Now what may that mean? To find Merrifield in this at all was, of course, a regular shock to me!”