“Mr. Fullaway, I suppose?” he said, phlegmatically. “Aye, to be sure! Sit you down, Mr. Fullaway. Will you take anything?—it’s a longish ride from London, and I daresay you’d do with a drink, what?”
“Nothing, nothing, thank you, Mr. Allerdyke,” answered Fullaway, obviously surprised by the other’s coolness. “I had lunch on the train.”
“Very convenient, that,” observed Allerdyke. “I can remember when there wasn’t a chance of it. Aye—and what might this be that you’re asking about, now, Mr. Fullaway? What do you refer to?”
Fullaway, after a moment’s surprised look at the Yorkshireman’s stolid face, elevated his well-marked eyebrows and shook his head. Then he edged his chair nearer to the table at which Allerdyke sat.
“You don’t know, then, that your cousin had valuables on him?” he asked in an altered tone.
“I know exactly what my cousin had on him, and what was in his baggage, when I found him dead in his room,” replied Allerdyke drily. “And what that was—was just what I should have expected to find. But—nothing more.”
Fullaway almost leapt in his chair.
“Nothing more!” he exclaimed. “Nothing more than you would have expected to find! Nothing?”
Allerdyke bent across the table, giving his visitor a keen look.
“What would you have expected to find if you’d found him as I found him?” he asked. “Come—what, now?”
He was watching the American narrowly, and he saw that Fullaway’s excitement was passing off, was being changed into an attentive eagerness. He himself thrust his hand into his breast pocket and drew out the papers which had been accumulating there since his arrival and discovery.
“We’d best be plain, Mr. Fullaway,” he said. “I don’t know you, but I gather that you knew James, and that you’d done business together.”
“I knew Mr. James Allerdyke very well, and I’ve done business with him for the last two years,” replied Fullaway.
“Just so,” assented Allerdyke. “And your business—”
“That of a general agent—an intermediary, if you like,” answered Fullaway. “I arrange private sales a good deal between European sellers and American buyers—pictures, curiosities, jewels, antiques, and so on. I’m pretty well known, Mr. Allerdyke, on both sides the Atlantic.”
“Quite so,” said Allerdyke. “I’m not in that line, however, and I don’t know you. But I’ll tell you all I do know and you’ll tell me all you know. When I searched my cousin for papers, I found this wire from you—sent to James at St. Petersburg. Now then, what does it refer to? Those valuables you hinted at just now?”
“Exactly!” answered Fullaway. “Nothing less!”
“What valuables are they?” asked Allerdyke.
“Jewels! Worth a quarter of a million,” replied Fullaway.
Fullaway laughed derisively.
“Dollars! No, pounds! Two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, my dear sir!” he answered.