The solicitor agreed with Dr. Orwin’s suggestions as to the course to be followed with regard to the inquest; it would be wise, he said, to keep matters quiet for at any rate a few days, until they were in a position to bring forward more facts. Consequently, the few people who were present at the Coroner’s court next morning gained no idea of the real importance of the inquiry which was then opened. Even the solitary reporter who took a perfunctory note of the proceedings for his newspaper gathered no more from what he heard than that a gentleman had died suddenly at the Station Hotel, that it had been necessary to hold an inquest, that there was some little doubt as to the precise cause of his death, and that the inquest was accordingly adjourned until the medical men could tell something of a more definite nature. Nothing sensational crept out into the town; no bold-lettered headlines ornamented the afternoon editions. An hour before noon Marshall Allerdyke entrusted his cousin’s body to the care of certain kinsfolk who had come over from Bradford to take charge of it; by noon he and Fullaway were slipping out of Hull on their way to Edinburgh—to search for a witness, who, if and when they found her, might be able to tell them—what?
“Seems something like a wild-goose chase,” said Allerdyke as the train steamed on across country towards York and the North. “How do we know where to find this woman in Edinburgh? Her housekeeper didn’t know what hotel she was at—I suppose we’ll have to try every one in the place till we come across her!”
“Edinburgh is not a very big town,” remarked Fullaway. “I reckon to run her down—if she’s still there—within a couple of hours. It’s our first duty, anyway. If she—as I guess she did—saw those jewels, then we know that James Allerdyke had them on him when he reached Hull, dead sure.”
“And supposing she can tell that?” said Allerdyke. “What then? How does that help? The devils who got ’em have already had thirty-six hours’ start of us!”
The American produced a bulky cigar-case, found a green cigar, and lighted it with a deliberation which was in marked contrast to his usual nervous movements.
“Seems to me,” he said presently, “seems very much to me that this has been a great thing! I figure it out like this—somehow, somebody has got to know of what the Princess and your cousin were up to—that he was going to carry those valuable jewels with him to England. He must have been tracked all the way, unless—does any unless strike you, now?”