“Unfortunately for your theory it was a clerk of mine who lost the paper. I had nothing to do with it,” James retorted coldly. “No doubt the paper has been destroyed, but not by me. Quite by accident, I judge.”
His cousin let off a bomb beneath the broker’s feet. “You’ll be glad to know that the paper wasn’t destroyed,” he said. “I have it, with a translation, in my pocket at the present moment.”
James clutched the arms of his chair. His knuckles grew white with the strain. “Where—where did you find it?” he managed to say.
“In the most private drawer of your safe, where you hid it,” Kirby replied quietly.
Cunningham visibly fought for his composure. He did not speak until he had perfect self-control. Then it was with a sneer.
“And this paper which you allege you found in my safe—after a burglary which, no doubt, you know is very much against the law—does it convict me of the murder of my uncle?”
The tension in the room was nerve-shattering. Men and women suspended breathing while they waited for an answer.
“On the contrary, it acquits you of any guilt whatever in the matter.”
Phyllis Cunningham gave a broken little sob and collapsed into her husband’s arms. Jack rose, his face working, and caught his brother by the shoulder. These two had suffered greatly, not only because of their fear for him, but because of the fear of his guilt that had poisoned their peace.
James, too, was moved, as much by their love for him as by the sudden relief that had lifted from his heart. But his pride held him outwardly cold.
“Since you’ve decided I didn’t do it, Mr. Lane, perhaps you’ll tell us then who did,” he suggested presently.
There came a knock at the door.
A whimsical smile twitched at the corners of Kirby’s mouth. He did not often have a chance for dramatics like this.
“Why, yes, that seems fair enough,” he answered.
“He’s knockin’ at the door now. Enter X.”
Shibo stood on the threshold and sent a swift glance around the room. He had expected to meet James alone. That first slant look of the long eyes forewarned him that Nemesis was at hand. But he faced without a flicker of the lids the destiny he had prepared for himself.
“You write me note come see you now,” he said to Cunningham.
James showed surprise. “No, I think not.”
“You no want me?”
The Chief’s hand fell on the shoulder of the janitor. “I want you, Shibo.”
“You write me note come here now?”
“No, I reckon Mr. Lane wrote that.”
“I plenty busy. What you want me for?”
“For the murders of James Cunningham and Horikawa.” Before the words were out of his mouth the Chief had his prisoner handcuffed.