Haggerty did so. “Th’ stuff they put th’ maharajah t’ sleep with!”
Then Forbes emptied his pockets.
“Th’ emeralds!” shouted Haggerty.
Suddenly he stiffened. “I’m wise. I know. It’s your man Mason, an’ you’ve bunked me int’ letting him have all this time for his get-away!”
“That is true, Haggerty. I had a debt to pay.” Crawford spun a billiard ball down the table.
“Mr. Crawford, I’m going t’ show you that I’m a good sport. You’ve challenged me. All right. I want that man, an’ by th’ Lord Harry, I’m going t’ get him. I’m going t’ put my hand on his shoulder an’ say ‘Come along!’ Cash ain’t everything, even in my business. I want t’ show it’s th’ game, too. I don’t want money in my pockets for winking my eye.”
“You’ll have hard work.”
“He has burned the pads of his fingers and thumbs,” blurted out Forbes.
Crawford made an angry gesture.
A Homeric laugh from Haggerty. “I don’t want his fingers now; this bottle an’ these emeralds are enough for me.” He stuffed the jewels away. “Where’s th’ phone?”
“In the hall, under the stairs.”
The nights of Poe and the grim realities of Balzac would not serve to describe that chase. The magnificent vitality of that man Haggerty yet fills me with wonder. He borrowed a roadster from Killigrew’s garage, and hummed away toward New York. On the way he laid his plans of battle, winnowed the chaff from the grain. He understood the necessity of thinking and acting quickly. A sporting proposition, that was it. He wanted just then not so much the criminal as the joy of finding him against odds and laying his hand on his shoulder: just to show them all that he wasn’t a has-been.
His telephone message had thrown a cordon of argus-eyed men around New York. Now, then, what would he, Haggerty, do if he were in Mason’s shoes? Make for railroads or boats; for Mason did not belong to New York’s underworld, and he would therefore find no haven in the city. Boat or train, then; and of the two, the boat would offer the better security. Once on board, Mason would find it easy to lose his identity, despite the wireless. And it all hung by a hair: would Mason watch? If he hid himself and stayed hidden he was saved.
“Chauffeur, what’s your name?” asked Haggerty of Killigrew’s man, as the car rolled quietly on to Brooklyn Bridge.
“That’s good enough for me,”—jovially. “Fill up th’ gas-tank. I’m going t’ keep y’ busy for twenty-four hours, mebbe. An’ if I win, a hundred for yours. All y’ got t’ do is t’ act as I say. Let ’er go. Th’ Great White Way first, where th’ hotels hang out.”
Lord Monckton had not returned to the hotel. Good. More telephoning. Yes, the great railroad terminals had ten men each. A black-bearded man with scarred fingers.