“You are making me your debtor,” Gwen replied slowly, “beyond my power ever to repay you.”
“It is in the hope that no payment may ever be demanded of you,” he rejoined, “that I am busying myself in your affairs.” The colour sprang to Gwen’s cheeks, but she only replied by a grateful glance. I knew what was passing through her mind. She was thinking of her promise—of her father’s last words, and of the terrible possibilities thereof from which Maitland was seeking to rescue her. She felt that she could safely owe him any debt of gratitude, however great, while he, on his part, took what I fancied, both then and afterward, were unnecessary pains to assure her that, in the event of his finding the assassin, she need have no fear of his making any claim whatsoever upon her. And so the whole affair was dropped for the time being and the rest of the evening devoted to listening to Maitland’s account of his experiences while abroad.
The next morning I called upon our detective at his laboratory and asked him what he intended to do next. He replied that he had no plans as yet, but that he wished to review with me all the evidence at hand.
“You see,” he said, “the thing that renders the solution of this mystery so difficult is the fact that all our clues, while they would be of the utmost service in the conviction of the assassin had we found him, are almost destitute of any value until he has been located. Add to this that we are now unable to find any motive for the crime and you can see how slight are our hopes of success. If ever we chance to find the man,—for I feel that such a consummation would result more from chance than from anything else,—I think we can convict him.