Broken by the entrance of Crawford and Forbes, who were also pale and disturbed. Crawford flung a packet of papers on the desk.
“Webb, I fancy that these papers are yours,” said Crawford, smiling.
One glance was enough for Thomas.
“Tell them the truth,” went on Crawford; “tell them who you are.”
“I have wagered . . .”
“Never mind about the wager,” put in Forbes. “Crawford and I have just canceled it.”
“What has happened?” asked Thomas. The whole world seemed tumbling about his unhappy head.
“Tell Mr. Killigrew here how you have imposed on him and his family,” urged Crawford, serious now. “Tell them your name, your full name.”
Thomas hesitated a moment. “My name is Henry Thomas Webb-Monckton.”
“Ninth Baron of Dimbledon,” added Forbes, “and as crazy as a loon!”
Meanwhile the whirligig had gone about violently after this fashion.
Forbes, wondering mightily, procured his automatics and gave one to his impatient friend.
“What’s the row, Crawffy?”
“Be as silent as you can,” said Crawford. “Follow me. We may be too late.”
“Anywhere you say.”
“The door will be locked. We’ll creep around the upper veranda and enter by opposite windows. You keep your eye on the valet. Don’t be afraid to shoot if it’s necessary.”
“What the deuce . . . !”
“Lord Monckton’s room.”
Blindly and confidently Forbes went out the rear window of the corridor, while Crawford made for the front. They crept soundlessly forward. Lord Monckton? What was up? Shoot the valet if necessary! All right; Crawford knew what he was doing. He generally did. Through his window Forbes saw two men packing suit-cases furiously. The moment Crawford entered the room, Forbes did likewise, without the least idea what it was all about.
“Put up your hands!” said Crawford quietly.
Master and man came about face.
“H’m! The dyed beard and stained skin might fool any one but me, Mason.”
Mason! Forbes’ hand shook violently.
“I have seen you with a beard before, in the days when we hadn’t time for razors. I knew you the instant I laid eyes on you. Now, then, a few words. I do not care to stand in your debt. Haggerty is down-stairs. Upon two occasions you saved my life . . . Keep your eye on your man, Forbes! . . . Twice you saved my life. I’m going to give you a chance in return. An hour’s start, perhaps. Forbes, come over to me. That’s it. Give me the automatic. There. Now, go through their pockets carefully, and put everything in your own. Leave the money. Mason, a boat leaves to-morrow noon for Liverpool. I’ll ship your trunks and grips to the American Express Company there. Do you understand? If I ever see you again, I shan’t lift a finger to save you.”