One of the detectives stirred uneasily—he did not quite understand the American’s light and easy manner, and he seemed to suspect him of persiflage.
“We ought to be furnished with a list of the missing articles,” he said. “That’s the first thing.”
“By no means,” replied Fullaway. “That, my dear sir, is neither the first, nor the second, nor the third thing. There is much to do before we get to that stage. At present, you, gentlemen, cannot do anything. To-morrow morning, perhaps, when I have consulted with Mademoiselle de Longarde, I may call you in again—or call upon you. In the meantime, there’s no need to detain you. Now,” he continued, turning to the manager, when the detectives, somewhat puzzled and bewildered, had left the room, “will you see that your nicest supper is served—for three—in this room at eleven o’clock, against Mademoiselle’s return? Send up your best champagne. And do not allow yourself to dwell on Mademoiselle’s agitation on discovering her loss. That agitation was natural. If it is any consolation to you, I will give you a conclusion which may be satisfactory to your peace of mind as manager. What is it? Merely this—that though Mademoiselle de Longarde has undoubtedly lost her jewels, they were certainly not stolen from her in this hotel!”
THE LADY’S MAID’S MOTHER
When the manager, much appeased and relieved in mind, had gone, Fullaway tapped at the door of the bedroom, summoned the pretty chambermaid, and handed her the rosewood box.
“Put this back exactly where Mademoiselle has kept it since she came here,” he commanded. “Now you yourself—you’re going to stay in the rooms until she comes back from the concert? That’s right—if she returns before my friend and I come up again, tell her that we shall present ourselves at five minutes to eleven. Come downstairs, Allerdyke,” he proceeded, leading the way from the room. “We must book rooms for the night here, so we’ll send to the station for our things and make our arrangements, after which we’ll smoke a cigar and talk—I am beginning to see chinks of daylight.”
He led Allerdyke down to the office, completed the necessary arrangements, and went on to the smoking-room, in a quiet corner of which he pulled out his cigar-case.
“Well?” he said. “What do you think now?”
“I think you’re a smart chap,” answered Allerdyke bluntly. “You did all that very well. I said naught, but I kept an eye and an ear open. You’ll do.”
“Very complimentary!—but I wasn’t asking you what you thought about me,” said Fullaway, with a laugh. “I’m asking you what you think of the situation, as illuminated by this last episode?”
“Well, I’m still reflecting on what you said to that manager chap,” answered Allerdyke. “You really think this young woman has lost her jewels?”