After dinner Crawford sought Forbes. “Have you any fire-arms with you, Mort?” he whispered.
“A pair of automatics. Why . . .”
“Sh! Please hustle and get them and ask no questions. Hurry!”
“Mr. Killigrew,” whispered Haggerty, “will you get Miss Kitty an’ Thomas int’ th’ study-end o’ th’ library?”
“Th’ sapphires were in his trunk, all right. Tucked away in th’ toes of a pair o’ shoes. Webb is in th’ library now. Jus’ get Miss Kitty.”
“Very well,” replied Killigrew, leaden-hearted.
Thomas had been busy all day. He was growing very tired, and often now the point of his pen sputtered. The second man had brought in his dinner and set it on a small stand which stood at the right of the desk. It was growing cold on the tray. A sound. He glanced up wearily. He saw Kitty and Killigrew, and behind them the sardonic visage of Haggerty. Thomas got up slowly.
“Take it easy, Mr. Webb,” warned Haggerty. “Go on, Miss Killigrew, an’ we’ll see first if you’ve hit it.”
Thomas stared, wide-eyed, from face to face. What in heaven’s name had happened? What was this blighter of a detective doing at the villa? And why was Kitty so white?
“Mr. Webb,” began Kitty, striving hard to maintain even tones, “on the night of May 13, you and Lord Henry Monckton stood on the curb outside my carriage, near the Garden, where I was blockaded in the fog. I heard your voices. There was talk about a wager. The time imposed upon the fulfilment of this wager was six months. Shortly after, Lord Monckton entered my carriage under the pretense of getting into his own and took my necklace of sapphires. He did it very cleverly. Then they were turned over to you. You were to carry them for six months, find out to whom they belonged, and return them.”
“Thousands of miles away,” said Haggerty confidently. “Nothing ever happened like that.”
“Is it not true?” asked Kitty, ignoring Haggerty’s interpolation.
“Miss Killigrew, either I’m dreaming or you are. I haven’t the slightest idea what you are talking about.” Thomas was now whiter than Kitty. “The talk about a wager is true; but I never knew you had lost any sapphires.”
“How about this little chamois-bag which I found in your trunk, Mr. Webb?” asked Haggerty ironically. He tossed the bag on the desk.
The bag hypnotized Thomas. Suddenly he came to life. He snatched up the bag and thrust it into his pocket.
“Those are mine,” he said quite calmly. “Mine, by every legal and moral right in the world. Mine!”
Kitty breathed hard and closed her eyes.
“Some brass!” jeered Haggerty, stepping forward.
“Can you prove it, Thomas?” asked Killigrew, hoping against hope.
“Yes, Mr. Killigrew, to your satisfaction, to Miss Killigrew’s, and even to Mr. Haggerty’s.”