Jenny hastened to do her uncle’s bidding, while Brendon made his farewell and promised to return at an early hour on the following morning.
“My plans for to-morrow,” said Peter, “subject to Mark’s approval, are these. I suggest that Signor Doria should take Brendon to the scene in the hills where Robert Redmayne appeared; while, by her leave, I have a talk with Mrs. Jenny here. I’m going to run her over a bit of the past and she must be brave and give me all her attention.”
He started and listened, his ear cocked toward the lake.
“What’s that shindy?” he asked. “Sounds like distant cannon.”
“Only the summer thunder on the mountains, signor,” he answered.
THE SUDDEN RETURN TO ENGLAND
A successful detective needs, above all else, the power to see both sides of any problem as it affects those involved in it. Nine times out of ten there is but one side; yet men have often gone to the gallows because their fellow men failed in this particular—followed the line of least resistance and pursued the obvious and patent conclusions to an end only logical upon a false premise.
Peter Ganns did not lack this perspicuity. It was visible in his big face to any student of physiognomy. He smiled with his mouth, but his eyes were grave—never ironical, never satirical, but always set in a stern, not unkindly expression. They were watchful yet tolerant—the eyes of one versed in the weakness as well as the nobility of human nature. He could measure the average, modest intelligence of his fellow creatures as well as estimate the heights of genius to which man’s intellect may sometimes attain. His own unusual powers, centred in sound judgment of character and wide experience of the human comedy, had set the seal in his eyes while graving something like a smile upon his full, Egyptian lips.
He sat next day and spoke to Albert Redmayne on a little gallery that extended from the dining-room of the villa and overhung the lake. Here, for half an hour, he talked and listened until Jenny should be ready for him.
The elder expounded his simple philosophy.
“I was long out of heart with God, while striving to keep my faith in man, Peter,” he declared. “But now I see more clearly and believe that it is only by faith in our Maker that we can understand ourselves. ‘Better’ is ever the enemy of ‘good,’ and ‘best’ is a golden word only to be used for martyrs and heroes.”
“Men do their best for two things, Albert,” replied Mr. Ganns. “For love and for hate; and without these tremendous incitements not the least or greatest among us can reach the limit of his powers.”