“Very well, Mr. Allerdyke,” he said, in conclusion. “Leave the thing with me, and I will see what I can do. As I say, the proper course will be to get it tried on one of the smaller railway lines—if it answers there, we can, perhaps, induce one of the bigger companies to take it up. I’ll do my best.”
Allerdyke thanked him and rose. He had certainly done something for his man Gankrodgers, and he had seen Ramsay, or Rayner, at close quarters, but—Ramsay was speaking again. He had picked up Allerdyke’s card, and glanced from it to its presenter, half shyly.
“You’re the cousin of the Mr. Allerdyke whose name’s been in the papers so much in connection with this murder and robbery affair, I suppose?” he said. “I’ve seen your own name, of course, in the various accounts.”
“I am,” replied Allerdyke. He had moved towards the door, but he turned and looked at his questioner. “You followed it, then?” he asked.
“Yes,” assented Ramsay. “Closely. A curiously intricate case.”
“Any solution of it present itself to your mind?” asked Allerdyke in his brusque, downright fashion. “Got any theory?”
Ramsay smiled and shook his finely shaped head. He, too, rose, walking towards the door.
“It’s a little early for that, isn’t it?” he said. “I’ve studied these affairs—criminology, you know—for many years. In my opinion, it’s a mistake to be too hasty in trying to arrive at solutions. But,” he added, with a shrug of his misshapen shoulders, “it’s always the way of the police, and of most folk who try to get at the truth. Things that are deep down need some deep digging for!”
“There’s the question of the present whereabouts of nearly three hundred thousand pounds’ worth of jewels,” remarked Allerdyke grimly. “Remember that!”
“Quite so,” agreed Ramsay. “But—your own particular and personal desire, as I gather from the newspapers, is to find the murderer of your cousin?”
“Ah!” said Allerdyke. “And it is! Got any ideas on that point?”
Ramsay smiled as he opened the door.
“I think,” he said, with a quiet significance. “I think that you’ll be having all this mystery explained and cleared up all of a sudden, Mr. Allerdyke, in a way that’ll surprise you. These things are like warfare—there’s a sudden turn of events, a sudden big event just when you’re not expecting it. Well, good-bye—thank you for giving me a chance with your man’s invention.”
Allerdyke found himself walking up Arundel Street before he had quite realized that this curious interview was over. At the top he paused, staring vacantly at the folk who passed and repassed along the Strand.
“I’d lay a pound to a penny that chap’s all right,” he muttered to himself. “He’s not a wrong ’un—unless he’s damned deceitful! All the same, he knows something! What? My conscience!—was there ever such a confounded muddle in this world as this is!”