The Inspector took up his hat. His manner now was no longer inquisitorial. With the closing of his notebook a new geniality had taken the place of his official stiffness.
“You are making a long stay here, Mr. Coulson?” he asked.
“A week or so, maybe,” that gentleman answered. “I am in the machinery patent line—machinery for the manufacture of woollen goods mostly—and I have a few appointments in London. Afterwards I am going on to Paris. You can hear of me at any time either here or at the Grand Hotel, Paris, but there’s nothing further to be got out of me as regards Mr. Hamilton Fynes.”
The Inspector was of the same opinion and took his departure. Mr. Coulson waited for some little time, still sitting on his trunk and clasping his hairbrushes. Then he moved over to the table on which stood the telephone instrument and asked for a number. The reply came in a minute or two in the form of a question.
“It’s Mr. James B. Coulson from New York, landed this afternoon from the Lusitania,” Mr. Coulson said. “I am at the Savoy Hotel, speaking from my room—number 443.”
There was a brief silence—then a reply.
“You had better be in the bar smoking-room at seven o’clock. If nothing happens, don’t leave the hotel this evening.”
Mr. Coulson replaced the receiver and rang off. A page-boy knocked at the door.
“Young lady downstairs wishes to see you, sir,” he announced.
Mr. Coulson took up the card from the tray.
“Miss Penelope Morse,” he said softly to himself. “Seems to me I’m rather popular this evening. Say I’ll be down right away, my boy.”
“Very good, sir,” the page answered. “There’s a gentleman with her, sir. His card’s underneath the lady’s.”
Mr. Coulson examined the tray once more. A gentleman’s visiting card informed him that his other caller was Sir Charles Somerfield, Bart.
“Bart,” Mr. Coulson remarked thoughtfully. “I’m not quite catching on to that, but I suppose he goes in with the young lady.”
“They’re both together, sir,” the boy announced.
Mr. Coulson completed his toilet and hurried downstairs
CHAPTER VII. A FATAL DESPATCH
Mr. Coulson found his two visitors in the lounge of the hotel. He had removed all traces of his journey, and was attired in a Tuxedo dinner coat, a soft-fronted shirt, and a neatly arranged black tie. He wore broad-toed patent boots and double lines of braid down the outsides of his trousers. The page boy, who was on the lookout for him, conducted him to the corner where Miss Penelope Morse and her companion were sitting talking together. The latter rose at his approach, and Mr. Coulson summed him up quickly,—a well-bred, pleasant-mannered, exceedingly athletic young Englishman, who was probably not such a fool as he looked,—that is, from Mr. Coulson’s standpoint, who was not used to the single eyeglass and somewhat drawling enunciation.