“There are lots of ends to this that I don’t understand,” said Larry to himself as he was on his way to the hotel where the mysterious man was stopping. “This mystery seemed to start with the wrecking of the Olivia, yet I don’t see how I can connect Mr. Potter with that. He must have met Retto in New York after the rescued men came here. Maybe I’m wrong in thinking Mr. Potter is in New York now. He may be some distance off, and depending on Retto to look after his interests. If that’s so it would explain why the East Indian was hanging around the house. He wanted to see that Grace and her mother were well, so he could report to the millionaire.
“Yet if that was so, I can’t see how Mr. Potter could write in the letter, as he did, that I was getting too close to him? Yes, there’s something very strange in all this, but maybe it will soon be cleared up.”
Thus Larry hoped, but he was doomed to disappointment. For, when he inquired at the hotel desk for Mr. Retto, and said he would like to see him, the clerk replied:
“Mr. Retto left early this morning. He gave up his room. I don’t know where he went.”
“I’ve got it all to do over again,” the young reporter thought as he strolled out into the street. “I’ll never have such luck again. If he watches the house after this he’ll do it in a way that won’t give me a chance to catch him. Well, I’ve got to go back and tell Grace I made a fizzle of it. Too bad, when they’re hoping so much on the result of this visit!”
Larry purchased a morning paper from a newsboy on the street, and glanced at it idly, as he strolled along. His eye lighted on the column devoted to shipping news, and, almost unconsciously, he saw among the “arrivals,” the Turtle, of an Italian line. At once a train of thought was started in his mind.
“The Turtle,” he mused. “That’s the freight ship that Captain Tantrella, formerly of the Olivia, commands. That’s the captain Retto was inquiring about the day Grace and I made the tour of the steamer offices. He wanted to meet him. Well, Captain Tantrella is in now. I wonder if Retto could have left the hotel to go and see him?”
Larry puzzled over it for a few minutes. Several ideas came to him, but they were confused, and he did not know which line to follow.
“Why should Retto want to see Captain Tantrella?” he asked himself. “Is it possible that Retto is a criminal and had to escape from the sinking ship? It looks so. But if he has done something that would necessitate him keeping out of the way, how can he aid Mr. Potter? It’s too deep for me. But I know what I’ll do. I’ll go and see Captain Tantrella. He’ll remember me, for I interviewed him about the wreck.
“I’ll ask him who Retto is. He’ll know him, for he was probably one of the first-cabin passengers. That’s what I’ll do. I think I’m on the right track now.”