“Can we get into the house without waking any one?” he asked.
“Quite easily,” she assured him. “The front door is never barred.”
She walked by his side, swiftly and with surprising vigour. In the still, grey light, her face was more ghastly than ever, but there was a new firmness about her mouth, a new decision in her tone. They reached the Hall without further speech, and she led the way to a small door on the eastern side, through which they entered noiselessly and passed along a little passage out into the hall. A couple of lights were still burning. The place seemed full of shadows.
“What are you going to do now?” she whispered.
“I want to ring up London on the telephone,” he replied. “I know that there is a detective either in the neighbourhood or on his way here, but I shall tell my friend that he had better come down himself.”
“I am going to release Esther,” she said. “She is locked in her room. The telephone is in the study. I will come down there to you.”
She passed silently up the broad staircase. Hamel groped his way across the hail into the library. He turned on the small electric reading-lamp and drew up a chair to the side of the telephone. Even as he lifted the receiver to his ear, he looked around him half apprehensively. It seemed as though every moment he would hear the click of Mr. Fentolin’s chair.
He got the exchange at Norwich without difficulty, and a few minutes later a sleepy reply came from the number he had rung up in London. It was Kinsley’s servant who answered.
“I want to speak to Mr. Kinsley at once upon most important business,” Hamel announced.
“Very sorry, sir,” the man repelled. “Mr. Kinsley left town last night for the country.”
“Where has he gone?” Hamel demanded quickly. “You can tell me. You know who I am; I am Mr. Hamel.”
“Into Norfolk somewhere, sir. He went with several other gentlemen.”
“Is that Bullen?” Hamel asked.
The man admitted the fact.
“Can you tell me if any of the people with whom Mr. Kinsley left London were connected with the police?” he inquired.
The man hesitated.
“I believe so, sir,” he admitted. “The gentlemen started in a motor-car and were going to drive all night.”
Hamel laid down the receiver. At any rate, he would not be left long with this responsibility upon him. He walked out into the hall. The house was still wrapped in deep silence. Then, from somewhere above him, coming down the stairs, he heard the rustle of a woman’s gown. He looked up, and saw Miss Price, fully dressed, coming slowly towards him. She held up her finger and led the way back into the library. She was dressed as neatly as ever, but there was a queer light in her eyes.
“I have seen Mrs. Seymour Fentolin,” she said. “She tells me that you have left Mr. Fentolin and the others in the subterranean room of the Tower.”