Beyond this faint, mysterious odor there was nothing else. The first step would be to ascertain whether this narcotic was occidental or oriental.
“Nothing doing yet,” he confessed to the anxious manager. “But there ain’t any cause for you t’ worry. You’re not responsible for jools not left in th’ office.”
“That isn’t the idea. It’s having the thing happen in this hotel. We’ll add another five hundred if you succeed. Not in ten years has there been so much as a spoon missing. What do you think about it?”
“Big case. I’ll be back in a little while. Don’t tell th’ reporters anything.”
Haggerty was on his way to a near-by chemist whom he knew, when he espied Crawford in his electric, stalled in a jam at Forty-second and Broadway. He had not seen the archeologist since his return from Europe.
“Hey, Mr. Crawford!” Haggerty bawled, putting his head into the window.
“Why, Haggerty, how are you? Can I give you a lift?”
“If it won’t trouble you.”
“Not at all. Pretty hot weather.”
“For my business. Wish I could run off t’ th’ seashore like you folks. Heard o’ th’ Maharajah’s emeralds?”
“Yes. You’re on that case?”
“Trying t’ get on it. Looks blank jus’ now. Clever bit o’ work; something new. But I’ve got news for you, though. Your man Mason is back here again. I thought I wouldn’t say nothing t’ you till I put my hand on his shoulder.”
“I’m sorry. I had hoped that the unfortunate devil would have had sense to remain abroad.”
“Then you knew he was over there?”—quickly. “See him?”
“No. I shall never feel anything but sorry for him. You can not live with a man as I did, for ten years, and not regret his misstep.”
“Oh, I understand your side. But that man was a born crook, an’ th’ cleverest I ever run up against. For all you know, he may have been back of a lot o’ tricks Central never got hold of. I’ll bet that each time that you went over with him, he took loot an’ disposed of it. I may be pig-headed sometimes, but I’m dead sure o’ this. Wait some day an’ see. Say, take a whiff o’ this an’ tell me what y’ think it is.” Haggerty produced the handkerchief.
“I don’t smell anything,” said Crawford.
Haggerty seized the handkerchief and sniffed, gently, then violently. All he could smell was reminiscent of washtubs. The mysterious odor was gone.
This is not a story of the Maharajah’s emeralds; only a knot in the landing-net of which I have already spoken. I may add with equal frankness that Haggerty, upon his own initiative, never proceeded an inch beyond the keyhole episode. It was one of his many failures; for, unlike the great fictional detectives who never fail, Haggerty was human, and did. It is only fair to add, however, that when