“No—no, signor; I have no nerves. I saw nothing. It was a shadow.”
Ganns instantly dismissed the subject and appeared to attach no importance whatever to it; but Doria’s mood was altered. He became less expansive and more alert.
“We’ll turn now,” announced Peter half an hour afterwards. “You’re a smart lad and you’ve given me a bright thought or two. We must lecture Mark. It may be better for you, as her husband, to pretend a bit, even though you don’t feel it. Let me know privately when Mrs. Doria is for the hills.”
He stopped, kept his eye on Giuseppe and took a pinch of snuff.
“Maybe we’ll get a move on to-morrow,” he said.
Doria, now self-possessed but fallen taciturn, smiled at him and his white teeth shone through the gloom.
“Of to-morrow nobody is sure,” he answered. “The man who knows what is to happen to-morrow would rule the world.”
“I’m hopeful of to-morrow all the same.”
“A detective must be hopeful,” answered Giuseppe. “So often hope is all that he has got.”
Chaffing each other amiably they returned together.
THE LAST OF THE REDMAYNES
For the night immediately following Doria’s experience at the old shrine, Albert Redmayne and his friend, Virgilio Poggi, had accepted Mark Brendon’s invitation to dine at the Hotel Victoria, where he still stayed. Ganns was responsible for the suggestion, and while he knew now that Giuseppe might view the festivity with suspicion, that mattered but little at this crisis.
His purpose in arranging to get Albert Redmayne away from home on this particular night was twofold. It was necessary that Peter himself should see Mark Brendon without interruption; and it was vital that henceforth his friend, the old book lover, should never for an instant lie within the power of any enemy to do him ill. In order, therefore, that he might enjoy private conversation with Brendon and, at the same time, keep a close watch upon Albert, Ganns had proposed the dinner party at the hotel and directed Brendon to issue the invitation as soon as Redmayne returned home.
Wholly unsuspicious, Signor Poggi and Albert appeared in the glory of soft white shirt fronts and rather rusty evening black. A special meal was prepared for their pleasure and the four partook of it in a private chamber at the hotel. Then they adjourned to the smoking-room, and anon, when Poggi and his companion were deep in their all-sufficing subject, Peter, a few yards distant with Mark beside him, related the incident of Giuseppe’s ghost.
“You did the trick to a miracle,” he said. “You’re a born actor, my son, and you came and went and got away with it just as well as mortal man could wish, and far better than I hoped. Well, Doria was fine. We stung him all right, and when he saw and thought he recognized the real Robert Redmayne, it got him in the solar plexus—I’m doggone sure of that. For just a moment he slipped, but how could he help it?