“They are all mad,” she said. Her tone was low, but I heard her distinctly. “Don’t take them seriously enough to defend yourself.”
“I am glad you think I didn’t do it,” I observed meekly, over the crowd. “Nothing else is of any importance.”
The conductor had pulled out his note-book again. “Your name, please,” he said gruffly.
“Lawrence Blakeley, Washington.”
“Attorney. A member of the firm of Blakeley and McKnight.”
“Mr. Blakeley, you say you have occupied the wrong berth and have been robbed. Do you know anything of the man who did it?”
“Only from what he left behind,” I answered. “These clothes—”
“They fit you,” he said with quick suspicion. “Isn’t that rather a coincidence? You are a large man.”
“Good Heavens,” I retorted, stung into fury, “do I look like a man who would wear this kind of a necktie? Do you suppose I carry purple and green barred silk handkerchiefs? Would any man in his senses wear a pair of shoes a full size too small?”
The conductor was inclined to hedge. “You will have to grant that I am in a peculiar position,” he said. “I have only your word as to the exchange of berths, and you understand I am merely doing my duty. Are there any clues in the pockets?”
For the second time I emptied them of their contents, which he noted. “Is that all?” he finished. “There was nothing else?”
“That’s not all, sir,” broke in the porter, stepping forward. “There was a small black satchel.”
“That’s so,” I exclaimed. “I forgot the bag. I don’t even know where it is.”
The easily swayed crowd looked suspicious again. I’ve grown so accustomed to reading the faces of a jury, seeing them swing from doubt to belief, and back again to doubt, that I instinctively watch expressions. I saw that my forgetfulness had done me harm —that suspicion was roused again.
The bag was found a couple of seats away, under somebody’s raincoat —another dubious circumstance. Was I hiding it? It was brought to the berth and placed beside the conductor, who opened it at once.
It contained the usual traveling impedimenta—change of linen, collars, handkerchiefs, a bronze-green scarf, and a safety razor. But the attention of the crowd riveted itself on a flat, Russia leather wallet, around which a heavy gum band was wrapped, and which bore in gilt letters the name “Simon Harrington.”
A FINE GOLD CHAIN
The conductor held it out to me, his face sternly accusing.
“Is this another coincidence?” he asked. “Did the man who left you his clothes and the barred silk handkerchief and the tight shoes leave you the spoil of the murder?”
The men standing around had drawn off a little, and I saw the absolute futility of any remonstrance. Have you ever seen a fly, who, in these hygienic days, finding no cobwebs to entangle him, is caught in a sheet of fly paper, finds himself more and more mired, and is finally quiet with the sticky stillness of despair?