“Begging your pardon, Major, could not you telegraph to the harbour master at Ostend, asking if the Phantom is there?”
“I might do that, George, but if I go over there I may pick up some clue. I may find out what hotel he stopped at after the crew had left, and if so, whether he crossed to England or left by a train for France. There is no saying what information I may light on. You stay on board here. You can be of no use to me on the journey, and may be of use here. I will telegraph to you from Ostend. Possibly I may want the yacht to sail at once to Dover to meet me there, or you may have to go up to town to do something for me.
“Now I must go down and tell Lady Greendale as much as is necessary. It will, of course, be the best thing for her to go up to town with me, but if she is not well enough for that, of course she must stay on board.”
Lady Greendale had just come into the saloon when he went down.
“I think I have got a clue—a very faint one,” he said. “I am going up to town at once to follow it up. How are you feeling, Lady Greendale?”
“I have a terrible headache, but that is nothing. Of course, I will go up with you.”
“But do you feel equal to it?”
“Oh, yes, quite,” she said, feverishly. “What is your clue, Frank?”
“Well, it concerns the yacht in which I believe Bertha has been carried off. At any rate, I feel so certain as to who had a hand in it, that I have no hesitation in telling you that it was Carthew.”
“Mr. Carthew! Impossible, Frank. He always seemed to me a particularly pleasant and gentlemanly man.”
“He might seem that, but I happen to know other things about him. He is an unmitigated scoundrel. Of course, not a word must be said about it, Lady Greendale. You see that for Bertha’s sake we must work quietly. It would never do for the matter to get into the papers.”
“It would be too dreadful, Frank. I do think that it would kill me. I will trust it in your hands altogether. I have only one comfort in this dreadful affair, and that is that Bertha has Anna with her.”
“That is certainly a great comfort; and it is something in the man’s favour that when he enticed her from the yacht with that forged letter he suggested that she should bring her maid.”
Frank Mallet and Lady Greendale crossed to Southampton by the twelve o’clock boat, and arrived in London at three.
“I have been thinking,” she said, as they went up, “that it will be better for me to stop in town. I shall have less difficulty in answering questions there than I should have at home. Everyone is leaving now, and in another week there will be scarcely a soul in London I know; and I shall keep down the front blinds, and no one will dream of my being there. I shall only have to mention to Bertha’s own maid that my daughter has remained