By the time that I had reached the cavern the waves already flowed over old sea wolf’s resting-place. I landed, half filled my sack with stones and sand, scattered judicious drops of blood and climbed the steps and tunnel, laying the trail that occupied official attention to such poor purpose during the days that followed. Having reached the plateau, I emptied my sack, casting its contents over the cliff; I then left a good impression or two of Robert Redmayne’s shoes, which I had, of course, remembered to put on. They would be recollected by Mark Brendon, for impressions had been found and records taken at Foggintor.
I swiftly descended the tunnel again after these operations, returned to my boathouse, stowed my sack, changed my boots and hastened to Brendon with my story. How we proceeded to the cave, our fruitless inquiries and the subsequent failure to find any solution to the disappearance of Bendigo and the reappearance of Robert are all facts within the memory. I need not tell you that tale again; but may declare how specially attractive it was to picture the puzzled police upon the little beach next day, and know that Bendigo Redmayne lay not a yard beneath their feet.
Once more my amazing wife and I parted for a brief period and then I had the joy of introducing her to Italy, where the remainder of our task awaited us. But we resolved that considerable time should pass before proceeding and we did not appear before her remaining uncle for many months. Meantime we revelled in a second honeymoon, reported our marriage to Albert Redmayne and the egregious Marco, to whom, at Jenny’s suggestion we conveyed a piece of wedding cake, that he might the better grasp our achievement. We had not finished yet with the pride of New Scotland Yard.
And now for Italy. It is true that in my early manhood I had suffered a sad accident at Naples, the secret of which was known to my mother and myself alone. I therefore entertained some grudge against her country; but the fact at no time lessened my love for the south; and Jenny and I had always determined that when our task was accomplished the balance of our united life should there be spent in dignity and peace.
A LEGACY FOR PETER GANNS
If at any time I entertained one shadow of regret in the execution of those who had traduced me and so earned their destruction, it was after we had dwelt for a season with Albert Redmayne beside Como. The lake itself is so flagrantly sentimental and the environment so serene and suggestive of childlike peace and good-will that I could almost have found it in my heart to lament the innocent book lover’s taking off. But Jenny swiftly laughed me out of these emotions.
“Keep your tenderness and sentiment for me,” she said. “I will not share them.”
We might have killed Albert a thousand times and left no sign—a fact that brings me to that part of my recital I most deplore. But a measure of delay was necessary that we might learn the market value of his books—otherwise Virgilio Poggi would doubtless have robbed us after the old man’s death. There was a medieval history of the Borgia family I should myself have greatly treasured under happier circumstances.