“You don’t know Hull very well,” remarked Allerdyke, who had been pulling his moustache and frowning over the telegram, “else you’d know how that could be done easy enough in High Street. High Street,” he went on, turning to the detective, “is the oldest street in the town. It’s the old merchant street. Half of it—lower end—is more or less in ruins. There are old houses there which aren’t tenanted. Back of these houses are courts and alleys and queer entries, leading on one side to the river, and on the other to side streets. A man could be lured into one of those places and put out of the way easily and quietly enough. Or he could be shot by anybody lurking in one of those houses, and the murderer could be got away unobserved with the greatest ease. That’s probably what’s happened—I know that street as well as I know by own house—I’m not surprised by that! What I’m surprised about is to hear that Lydenberg has been shot at all. And the question is—is his murder of a piece with all the rest of this damnable mystery, or is it clean apart from it? Understand, Fullaway?”
“I’m thinking,” answered the American. “It takes a lot of thinking, too.”
“You see,” continued Allerdyke, turning to Blindway again, “we’re all in a hole—in a regular fog. We know naught! literally naught. This Lydenberg was a foreigner—Swede, Norwegian, Dane, or something. We know nothing of him, except that he said he’d come to Hull on business. He may have been shot for all sorts of reasons—private, political. We don’t know. But—mark me!—if his murder’s connected with the others, if it’s all of a piece with my cousin’s murder, and that French girl’s, why then—”
He paused, shaking his head emphatically, and the other two, impressed by his earnestness, waited until he spoke again.
“Then,” he continued at last, after a space of silence, during which he seemed to be reflecting with added strenuousness—“then, by Heaven! we’re up against something that’s going to take it out of us before we get at the truth. That’s a dead certainty. If this is all conspiracy, it’s a big ’un—a colossal thing! What say, Fullaway?”
“I should say you’re right,” replied Fullaway. “I’ve been trying to figure things up while you talked, though I gave you both ears. It looks as if this Lydenberg had been shot in order to keep his tongue quiet forever. Maybe he knew something, and was likely to split. What are your people going to do about this?” he asked turning to the detective. “I suppose you’ll go down to Hull at once?”
“I shan’t,” answered Blindway. “I’ve enough to do here. One of our men has already gone—he’s on his way. We shall have to wait for news. I’m inclined to agree with Mr. Allerdyke—it’s a big thing, a very big thing. If Mr. Allerdyke’s cousin was really murdered, and if the Frenchwoman’s death arose out of that, and now Lydenberg’s, there’s a clever combination at work. And—where’s the least clue to it?”