“Si, Senorita,” replied Senor Rodriguez gallantly. “It is on my desk in here. Just a moment.”
He opened the door and passed into the adjoining room. Mr. Grimm’s eyes met those of Miss Isabel Thorne, and there was no listlessness in them now, only interest. She smiled at him tauntingly and lowered her lids. Senor Rodriguez appeared from the other room with the handkerchief.
“Mil gracias, Senor,” she thanked him.
“No hay de que, Senorita,” he returned, as he opened the door for her.
“Monsieur Grimm, au revoir!” She dropped a little curtsey, and still smiling, went out.
“She is charming, Senor,” the diplomatist assured him enthusiastically, albeit irrelevantly. “Such vivacity, such personality, such—such—she is charming.”
“The safe, please,” Mr. Grimm reminded him.
A SAFE OPENING
Together they entered the adjoining room, which was small compared to the one they had just left. Senor Rodriguez used it as a private office. His desk was on their right between two windows overlooking the same pleasant little garden which was visible from the suite of tiny drawing-rooms farther along. The safe, a formidable looking receptacle of black enameled steel, stood at their left, closed and locked. The remaining wall space of the room was given over to oak cabinets, evidently a storage place for the less important legation papers.
“Has any one besides yourself been in this room to-day?” Mr. Grimm inquired.
“Not a soul, Senor,” was the reply.
Mr. Grimm went over and examined the windows. They were both locked inside; and there were no marks of any sort on the sills.
“They are just as I left them last night,” explained Senor Rodriguez. “I have not touched them to-day.”
“And there’s only one door,” mused Mr. Grimm, meaning that by which they had entered. “So it would appear that whoever was here last night entered through that room. Very well.”
He walked around the room once, opening and shutting the doors of the cabinets as he passed, and finally paused in front of the safe. A brief examination of the nickeled dial and handle and of the enameled edges of the heavy door satisfied him that no force had been employed—the safe had merely been unlocked. Whereupon he sat himself down, cross-legged on the floor, in front of it.
“What are the first and second figures of the combination?” he asked.
“Thirty-six, then back to ten.”
Mr. Grimm set the dial at thirty-six, and then, with his ear pressed closely against the polished door, turned the dial slowly back. Senor Rodriguez stood looking on helplessly, but none the less intently. The pointer read ten, then nine, eight, seven, five. Mr. Grimm gazed at it thoughtfully, after which he did it all over again, placidly and without haste.