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J. S. Fletcher
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 228 pages of information about The Rayner-Slade Amalgamation.

“Oh! she’s found the various references—­two or three of ’em—­that she had with the French maid,” replied Fullaway.  “I looked at them—­there’s nothing in them but what you’d expect to find.  Two of the writers are well-known society women, the third was a French marquise.  I don’t think anything’s to be got out of them, but, anyway, I sent her off to Scotland Yard with them—­it’s their work that.  Fine photos there, Allerdyke,” he continued, turning over the leaves of the album.  “Some of your places in Bradford, eh.”

Allerdyke, who was particularly anxious that he should not seem to have had an ulterior object in bringing the album up to Fullaway’s office hailed this question with relief.  He began to point out and explain the various pictures—­photographs of his mills, warehouses, town office, his own private house, grounds, surroundings, chatting unconcernedly about each.  And while the two men were thus engaged in came Mrs. Marlow, bringing letters which needed Fullaway’s signature.

“Mrs. Marlow knows more about amateur photography than I do,” remarked Fullaway, with a glance at his secretary.  “Here, Mrs. Marlow, these are same of Mr. Allerdyke’s productions—­you remember that his cousin, Mr. James Allerdyke, gave you a photo which this Mr. Allerdyke had taken?”

Allerdyke, keenly watching the secretary’s pretty face as she laid her papers on Fullaway’s desk, saw no sign of embarrassment or confusion; Fullaway might have made the most innocent and ordinary remark in the world, and yet, according to Allerdyke’s theory and positive knowledge, it must be fraught with serious meaning to this woman.

“Oh yes!” she flashed, without as much as the flicker of an eyelash.  “I remember—­a particularly good photo.  So like him!”

Allerdyke’s ingenuity immediately invented a remark; he was at that stage when, he wanted to know as much as possible.

“I wonder which print it was that he gave you?” he said.  “One of them—­I only did a few—­had a spot in it that’ll spread.  If that’s the one you’ve got, I’ll give you another in its place, Mrs. Marlow.  Have you got it here?”

But Mrs. Marlow shook her head and presented the same unabashed front.

“No,” she answered readily enough.  “I took it home, Mr. Allerdyke.  But there’s no spot on my print—­I should have noticed it at once.  May I look at your album when Mr. Fullaway’s finished with it?”

Allerdyke left the album with them and went away.  He was utterly astonished by Mrs. Marlow’s coolness.  If, as he already believed, she was mixed up in the murders and robberies, she must know that the photograph which James Allerdyke had given her was a most important factor, and yet she spoke of it as calmly and unconcernedly as if it had been a mere scrap of paper!  Of course she hadn’t got it at the office—­nor at her home either—­it was there at Hull, fitted into the cover of Lydenberg’s old watch.

“A cool hand!” soliloquized Allerdyke as he went downstairs.  “Cool, clever, calm, never off her guard.  A damned dangerous woman!—­that’s the long and short of it.  And—­what next?”

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