Marshall Allerdyke felt his heart beating like a sledgehammer as he put his next question, and for the life of him he could not tell how he managed to keep his voice under control.
“Ah!” he said. “You’ve seen it before, then? James show it to you?”
Fullaway nodded towards the door of the outer room, from which came the faint click of the secretary’s machine.
“He gave one to Mrs. Marlow the very last time he was here.” he answered. “They were talking about amateur photography, and he pulled a print of that out of his pocket and made her a present of it; said it couldn’t be beaten. You’re a clever hand, Allerdyke—most lifelike portrait I ever saw. Well—any news?”
THE LATE CALL
It was with a mighty effort of will that Allerdyke controlled himself sufficiently to be able to answer Fullaway’s question with calmness. This was for him a critical moment. He knew now to whom James Allerdyke had given the photograph which Chettle had found concealed in Lydenberg’s watch; knew that the recipient was sitting close by him, separated only from him by a wall and a door; knew that between her and Lydenberg, or those who had been in touch with Lydenberg, there must be some strange, secret, and sinister connection. From Mrs. Marlow to Lydenberg that photograph had somehow passed, and, as Chettle had well said, the entire problem of the murders and thefts was mixed up in its transference. All that was certain—what seemed certain, too, was that Fullaway knew nothing of these things, and was as innocent as he himself. And for the fraction of a second he was half-minded to tell all he knew to Fullaway there and then—and it was only by a still stronger effort of will that he restrained his tongue, determined to keep a stricter silence than ever, and replied to the American in an offhand, casual tone.
“News?” he said, with a half-laugh. “Nay, not that I know of. They take their time, those detective chaps. You heard aught?”
“Nothing particular,” answered Fullaway. “Except that the Princess was in here this morning, and that Miss Lennard came at the same time. But neither of them had anything of importance to tell. The Princess has been ransacking her memory all about her affairs with your cousin; she’s more certain than ever now that nobody in Russia but he and she knew anything about the jewel deal. They were always in strict privacy when they discussed the matter; no one was present when she gave him the jewels; she never mentioned the affair to a soul, and she’s confident from what she knew of him, that he wouldn’t. So she’s more convinced than ever that the news got out from this side.”
“And Miss Lennard—what did she want?” asked Allerdyke.