The Rayner-Slade Amalgamation eBook

J. S. Fletcher
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 319 pages of information about The Rayner-Slade Amalgamation.

Master and man went methodically to work; and an observer of an unduly sentimental shade of mind might have said that there was something almost callous about their measured, business-like proceedings.  But Marshall Allerdyke was a man of eminently thorough and practical habits, and he was doing what he did with an idea and a purpose.  His cousin might have died from sudden heart failure; again, he might not, there might have been foul play; there might have been one of many reasons for his unexpected death—­anyway, in Allerdyke’s opinion it was necessary for him to know exactly what James was carrying about his person when death took place.  There was a small hand-bag on the dressing-table; Allerdyke opened it and took out all its contents.  They were few—­a muffler, a travelling-cap, a book or two, some foreign newspapers, a Russian word-book, a flask, the various odds and ends, small unimportant things which a voyager by sea and land picks up.  Allerdyke took all these out, and laying them aside on the table, directed Gaffney to take everything from the dead man’s pockets.  And Gaffney, solemn of face and tight of lip, set to his task in silence.

There was comparatively little to bring to light.  A watch and chain—­the small pocket articles which every man carries—­keys, a monocle eyeglass, a purse full of gold, loose silver, a note-case containing a considerable sum in bank-notes, some English, some foreign, letters and papers, a pocket diary—­these were all.  Allerdyke took each as Gaffney produced them, and placed each in the bag with no more than a mere glance.

“Everything there is, sir,” whispered the chauffeur at last.  “I’ve been through every pocket.”

Allerdyke found the key of the bag, locked it, and set it aside on the mantelpiece.  Then he went over to the suit-case lying on the bench at the foot of the bed, closed and locked it, and dropped the bunch of keys in his pocket.  And just then Dr. Lydenberg came back, dressed, and on his heels came the manager of the hotel, startled and anxious, and with him an elderly professional-looking man whom he introduced as Dr. Orwin.

When James Allerdyke’s dead body had been lifted on to the bed, and the two medical men had begun a whispered conversation beside it, Allerdyke drew the hotel manager aside to a corner of the room.

“Did you see anything of my cousin when he arrived last night?” he asked.

“Not when he arrived—­no,” replied the manager.  “But later—­yes.  I had some slight conversation with him after he had taken supper.  It was nothing much—­he merely wished to know if there was always a night-porter on duty.  He said he expected a friend, who might turn up at any hour of the night, and he wanted to leave a card for him.  That would be you, I suppose, sir?”

“Just so,” replied Allerdyke.  “Now, how did he seem at that time?  And what time was that?”

“Ten o’clock,” said the manager.  “Seem?  Well, sir, he seemed to be in the very best of health and spirits!  I was astonished to hear that he was dead.  I never saw a man look more like living.  He was—­”

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The Rayner-Slade Amalgamation from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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