I told her of the situation as it concerned Brower. While the dissolution of partnership papers still existed and might still be recorded, such a murder would be useless. For naturally the dissolution abrogated the old partnership agreement. The girl’s share of the property would, at her demise intestate, go to the state. That is, provided the new papers were ever recorded.
“Then I am safe until——?” she began.
“Until he negotiates or otherwise settles with Brower. Until he has destroyed all evidence.”
“Then everything seems to depend on this Brower,” she said, knitting her brows anxiously. “Where is he?”
I did not answer this last question. My eyes were riveted on the door knob which was slowly, almost imperceptibly, turning. Cortinez continued to breathe heavily in sleep outside. The intruder was evidently at great pains not to awaken the guard. A fraction of an inch at a time the door opened. A wild-haired, wild-eyed head inserted itself cautiously through the crack. The girl’s eyes widened in surprise and, I imagine, a little in fear. I began to laugh, silently, so as not to disturb Cortinez. Mirth overcame me; the tears ran down my cheeks.
“It’s so darn complete!” I gasped, answering the girl’s horrified look of inquiry. “Miss Emory, allow me to present Mr. Artie Brower!”
Brower entered the room quickly but very quietly, and at once came to me. His eyes were staring, his eyelids twitched, his hands shook. I recognized the symptoms.
“Have you got it? Have you got it with you?” he whispered, feverishly.
“It’s all right. I can fix you up. Untie me first,” I replied.
He began to fumble with the knots of my bonds too hastily and impatiently for effectiveness. I was trying to stoop over far enough to see what he was doing when my eye caught the shadow of a moving figure outside. An instant later Tim Westmore, the English groom attached to the Morgan stallion, came cautiously through the door, which he closed behind him. I attempted unobtrusively to warn Brower, but he only looked up, nodded vaguely, and continued his fumbling efforts to free me. Westmore glanced at us all curiously, but went at once to the big windows, which he proceeded to swing shut. Then he came over to us, pushed Brower one side, and most expeditiously untied the knots. I stood up stretching in the luxury of freedom, then turned to perform a like office for Miss Emory. But Brower was by now frantic. He seized my arm and fairly shook me, big as I was, in the urgence of his desire. He was rapidly losing all control and caution.
“Let him have it, sir,” urged Westmore in a whisper. “I’ll free the young lady.”
I gave Brower the hypodermic case. He ran to the wash bowl for water. During the process of preparation he uttered little animal sounds under his breath. When the needle had sunk home he lay back in a chair and closed his eyes.