“Had you taken any special notice of your fellow passengers on board the Perisco?”
“No—not at all. They were just the usual sort of passengers—I wasn’t interested in them. Of course, I talked to some of them, in the ordinary way, as one does talk on board ship. But I don’t remember anything particular about them, nor any of their names, even if I ever knew their names. Of course I remember Mr. James Allerdyke’s name, because of the business talk.”
The chief, who had been making shorthand notes of this conversation, paused for a moment, evidently considering matters, and then turned to Celia with a smile.
“Why did you leave the hotel at Hull so suddenly?” he asked. “I daresay you had good reasons, but I should just like to know what they were, if you don’t mind.”
“I’d no reason at all,” replied Celia, with almost blunt directness. “At least, if I had, they were only a woman’s reasons. I was a bit upset at being left alone. I didn’t like the hotel. I knew I shouldn’t sleep. It was a most beautiful moonlight night, and I suddenly thought I’d like to go motoring. I knew enough of the geography of those parts to know if I motored across country I should strike the Great Northern main line somewhere and catch a train to Edinburgh in the early morning. So—I just cleared out.”
“Ah—you see you had quite a number of reasons!” said the chief, smiling again. “Very well. Now then, before you go, Miss Lennard, I want you to do just one thing more which may be useful to us in our work.” He turned to the detective. “Get those things,” he said quietly. “Bring the lot in here.”
Celia made a little sound of distaste as the detective presently returned to the room carrying in one hand a brown leather suit-case, and in the other a cardboard dress-box, to which was strapped a travelling-coat, lined with fur. Her face, which had regained its colour, paled again.
“Lisette’s things!” she muttered. “Oh—I don’t—don’t like to see them! What is it you want?”
“We want you to identify them—and, if you will, to look them over,” replied the chief. “The cardboard box contains everything she was wearing when she went to the hotel in Eastbourne Terrace; the suit-case and coat are what she took in with her. Spread the things out on that side table,” he continued, turning to the detective.
“Let Miss Lennard look them over.”
Celia performed the task required of her with dislike—it seemed somehow as if she were inspecting the dead woman afresh. She hurried over the task.
“All these things are hers, of course,” she said. “That’s the suit-case she had with her when she left me at Hull, and that’s the coat I gave her—and the other things are hers, too. Oh—I don’t like looking at them. Can’t we go, please?”