“Aye, well,” said Allerdyke musingly, “it’s true he did go across to Russia a good deal, and no doubt he knew folk there that he never told me about.”
“Well,” he went on, throwing himself into his chair again, “what’s to be done? Do you honestly think that he had those things on him when he came here last night? You do? Very well, then, he’s been murdered by some devil or devils who’s got ’em! But how? And who are they—or who’s he—or—good Lord! it might be who’s she?”
“Poisoned,” said Fullaway. “That’s my answer to your question of—how? As to your other question—is there no clue to anything? you forget—I don’t know any details. I only know that he was found dead. Under what circumstances?”
Allerdyke pulled his chair nearer to his visitor.
“I’d forgotten,” he said. “I’ll tell you the lot. See if you can make aught out of it—they always say you Yankees have sharp brains. Try to see a bit of daylight! So far it licks me.”
He gave the American a brief yet full account of all that had happened since his receipt of James Allerdyke’s wireless message. And Fullaway listened in silence, taking everything in, making no interruption, and at the end he spoke quietly and with decision.
“We must find that woman—Miss Celia Lennard—and at once,” he said. “That’s absolutely necessary.”
“Just so,” agreed Allerdyke. “But look here—I’ve been thinking that over. Is it very likely that a woman who’d stolen two hundred and fifty thousand pounds’ worth of stuff from an hotel would wire back to its manager, giving her address, for the sake of a shoe-buckle, even one set with diamonds?”
“I’m not—for the moment—supposing that she is the thief,” answered Fullaway. “Why I want—and must—find her at once is to ask her a simple question. What was she doing in James Allerdyke’s room? For—I’ve an idea.”
“What?” demanded Allerdyke.
“This,” replied Fullaway. “They were fellow-passengers on the Perisco. Your cousin—as I daresay you know—was the sort of man who readily makes friends, especially with women. My idea is that if this Miss Lennard went into his room last night it was to be shown the Princess Nastirsevitch’s jewels. Your cousin was just the sort of man who knew how a woman would appreciate an exhibition of such things. And—”
At that moment a waiter tapped at the sitting-room door and announced Dr. Orwin.
THE PRIMA DONNA’S PORTRAIT
Marshall Allerdyke’s sharp eyes were quick to see that his new visitor had something of importance to communicate and wished to give his news in private. Dr. Orwin glanced inquiringly at the American as he took the seat which Allerdyke drew forward, and the cock of his eyes indicated a strong desire to know who the stranger was.
“Friend of my late cousin,” said Allerdyke brusquely. “Mr. Franklin Fullaway, of London—just as anxious as I am to hear what you have to tell us, doctor. You’ve come to tell something, of course?”