The Illustrious Prince eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 334 pages of information about The Illustrious Prince.
the driver or attract the attention of any passer-by, had been strangled to death by a person who had disappeared as though from the face of the earth.  The facts seemed almost unbelievable, and yet they were facts.  The driver of the taxi knew only that three times during the course of his drive he had been caught in a block and had had to wait for a few seconds—­once at the entrance to Trafalgar Square, again at the junction of Haymarket and Pall Mall, and, for a third time, opposite the Hyde Park Hotel.  At neither of these halting places had he heard any one enter or leave the taxi.  He had heard no summons from his fare, even though a tube, which was in perfect working order, was fixed close to the back of his head.  He had known nothing, in fact, until a policeman had stopped him, having caught a glimpse of the ghastly face inside.  There was no evidence which served to throw a single gleam of light upon the affair.  Mr. Vanderpole had called at the Savoy Hotel upon a travelling American, who had written to the Embassy asking for some advice as to introducing American patents into Great Britain and France.  He left there to meet his chief, who was dining down in Kensington, with the intention of returning at once to join the Duchess of Devenham’s theatre party.  He was in no manner of trouble.  It was not suggested that any one had any cause for enmity against him.  Yet this attack upon him must have been carefully planned and carried out by a person of great strength and wonderful nerve.  The newspaper-reading public in London love their thrills, and they had one here which needed no artificial embellishments from the pens of those trained in an atmosphere of imagination.  The simple truth was, in itself, horrifying.  There was scarcely a man or woman who drove in a taxicab about the west end of London during the next few days without a little thrill of emotion.

The murder of Mr. Richard Vanderpole took place on a Thursday night.  On Monday morning a gentleman of middle age, fashionably but quietly dressed, wearing a flower in his buttonhole, patent boots, and a silk hat which he had carefully deposited upon the floor, was sitting closeted with Miss Penelope Morse.  It was obvious that that young lady did not altogether appreciate the honor done to her by a visit from so distinguished a person as Inspector Jacks!

“I am sorry,” he said, “that you should find my visit in the least offensive, Miss Morse.  I have approached you, so far as possible, as an ordinary visitor, and no one connected with your household can have any idea as to my identity or the nature of my business.  I have done this out of consideration to your feelings.  At the same time I have my duty to perform and it must be done.”

“What I cannot understand,” Penelope said coldly, “is why you should bother me about your duty.  When I saw you at the Carlton Hotel, I told you exactly how much I knew of Mr. Hamilton Fynes.”

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The Illustrious Prince from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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