“Intuition,” said Allerdyke, with a laugh. “Aye, well perhaps Miss Slade’ll have got so infected with enthusiasm for your business that She’ll go in for it regularly. This reward’ll do for capital, you know, Chettle.”
“Ah!” responded Chettle feelingly. “Wish it was coming to me! I wouldn’t put no capital into that business—not me, sir! I’d have a nice little farm in the country, and I’d grow roses, and breed sheep and pigs, and—”
“And lose all your brass in a couple of years!” laughed Allerdyke. “Stick to your own game, my lad, and when you want to grow roses, do it in your own back yard for pleasure. And here we are—and you’d best wait, Chettle, until Miss Lennard herself gives a receipt for this stuff, and then you can take it back to Scotland Yard and frame it.”
He left Chettle in an anti-room of Miss Lennard’s flat while he himself was shown into the prima donna’s presence. She was alone, and evidently unoccupied, and her eyes suddenly sparkled when Allerdyke came in as if she was glad of a visitor.
“You!” she exclaimed. “Really!”
“It’s me,” said Allerdyke laconically. “Nobody else,” He looked round to make sure that the door was safely closed; then he advanced to the little table at which Miss Lennard was sitting and laid down his parcel.
“Something for you,” he said abruptly. “Open it.”
“What is it?” she asked, glancing shyly at him. “Not chocolates—surely!”
“Never bought aught of that sort in my life,” replied Allerdyke. “More respect for people’s teeth. Here—I’ll open it,” he went on, producing a penknife and cutting the string. “I’ve signed one receipt for this stuff already—you’ll have to sign another. There’s a detective in your parlour waiting for it, just now.”
“A detective!” she exclaimed. “Why—why—you don’t mean to say that box has my pearls in it? Oh! you don’t!”
“See if they’re all right,” commanded Allerdyke “Gad!—they’ve been through some queer hands since you lost ’em. I don’t know how you feel about it, but hang me if I shouldn’t feel strange wearing ’em again! I should feel—but I daresay you don’t!”
“No, I don’t!” she said as she drew the jewels out of their wrappings and hurriedly examined them. “Of course I don’t; all I feel is that I’m delighted beyond measure to get them back. You don’t understand.”
“No, I don’t,” agreed Allerdyke. He dropped into a chair close by, and quietly regarded the owner of the fateful valuables. “I’m only a man, you see. But—I should know better how to take care of things like these than you did. Come, now!”
“I shall take better care of them—in future,” said Miss Lennard.
Allerdyke shook his head,
“Not you!” he retorted. “At least—not unless you’ve somebody to take care of you. Eh?”
Miss Lennard, who was still examining her recovered property, set it hastily down and stared at her visitor. Her colour heightened, and her eyes became inquisitive.