It came to an end at last, and master looked at man.
“Well?” said Allerdyke, after a silence that was full of meaning—“well?”
“Take some thinking about,” answered Appleyard tersely. “It’s a big thing—a devilish clever thing, too. There’s one fact strikes me at once, though. The news about the Nastirsevitch jewels leaked out somewhere, Mr. Allerdyke. That’s certain. Either here in London, or over there in Russia, it leaked out. Now until this Princess comes you’ve no means of knowing if the leakage was over yonder. But there’s one thing you do know now—at this very minute. There were three people here in England who knew that the jewels were on the way from Russia, in Mr. James Allerdyke’s charge. Those three were this man Fullaway, his lady secretary, and Delkin, the Chicago millionaire! Now, then, Mr. Allerdyke—how much, or what, do you know about any one of ’em?”
FIFTY THOUSAND POUNDS REWARD
Allerdyke encountered this direct question with a long, fixed stare of growing comprehension; his silence showed that he was gradually taking in its significance.
“Aye, just so!” he said at last. “Just so! How much do I know of any of ’em? Well, of Fullaway no more than I’ve seen. Of his secretary no more than what I’ve seen and heard. Of Delkin no more than that such a man exists. Sum total—what!”
“Next to naught,” said Appleyard. “In a case like this you ought to know more. Fullaway may be all right. Fullaway may be all wrong. His lady secretary may be as right as he is, or as wrong as he is. As to Delkin—he might be a creature of Fullaway’s imagination. Put it all to yourself now, Mr. Allerdyke—on the face of what you’ve told me, these three people—two of ’em, at any rate, for a certainty—knew about these valuables coming over in Mr. James’s charge. So far as you know, your cousin had ’em when he left Christiania and reached Hull. There they disappear. So far as you’re aware, nobody but these people knew of their coming—no other people in England knew, at any rate, so far, I repeat, as your knowledge goes. I should want to know something about these three, if I were in your place, Mr. Allerdyke.”
“Aye—aye!” replied Allerdyke. “I see your point. Well, I’ve been in Fullaway’s company now for two days—there’s no denying he’s a smart chap, a clever chap, and he seems to be doing good business. Moreover, Ambler, my lad, James knew him and James wasn’t the sort to take up with wrong ’uns. As to the secretary, I can’t say. Besides, Fullaway said this afternoon that he hadn’t told her all about it yet.”