“To whom do you refer?”
Inspector Dunbar rose.
“It is a point with which I need not trouble you, sir,” he said. “It was not included in the extract of report sent to you. This is going to be the biggest case of my professional career, or my name is not Robert Dunbar!”
Closing his notebook, he thrust it into his pocket, and replaced his fountain-pen in the little leather wallet.
“Of course,” said the solicitor, rising in turn, and adjusting the troublesome pince-nez, “there was some intrigue with Leroux? So much is evident.”
“You will be thinking that, eh?”
“My dear Inspector”—Mr. Debnam, the wily, was seeking information—“my dear Inspector, Leroux’s own wife was absent in Paris—quite a safe distance; and Mrs. Vernon (now proven to be a woman conducting a love intrigue) is found dead under most compromising circumstances—most compromising circumstances—in his flat! His servants, even, are got safely out of the way for the evening"...
“Quite so,” said Dunbar, shortly, “quite so, Mr. Debnam.” He opened the door. “Might I see the late Mrs. Vernon’s maid?”
“She is at her home. As I told you, Mrs. Vernon habitually released her for the period of these absences.”
The notebook reappeared.
“The young woman’s address?”
“You can get it from the housekeeper. Is there anything else you wish to know?”
“Nothing beyond that, thank you.”
Three minutes later, Inspector Dunbar had written in his book:—Clarice Goodstone, c/o Mrs. Herne, 134a Robert Street, Hampstead Road, N. W.
He departed from the house whereat Death the Gleaner had twice knocked with his Scythe.
Returning to Scotland Yard, Inspector Dunbar walked straight up to his own room. There he found Sowerby, very red faced and humid, and a taximan who sat stolidly surveying the Embankment from the window.
“Hullo!” cried Dunbar; “he’s turned up, then?”
“No, he hasn’t,” replied Sowerby with a mild irritation. “But we know where to find him, and he ought to lose his license.”
The taximan turned hurriedly. He wore a muffler so tightly packed between his neck and the collar of his uniform jacket, that it appeared materially to impair his respiration. His face possessed a bluish tinge, suggestive of asphyxia, and his watery eyes protruded remarkably; his breathing was noisily audible.
“No, chuck it, mister!” he exclaimed. “I’m only tellin’ you ’cause it ain’t my line to play tricks on the police. You’ll find my name in the books downstairs more’n any other driver in London! I reckon I’ve brought enough umbrellas, cameras, walkin’ sticks, hopera cloaks, watches and sicklike in ’ere, to set up a blarsted pawnbroker’s!”
“That’s all right, my lad!” said Dunbar, holding up his hand to silence the voluble speaker. “There’s going to be no license-losing. You did not hear that you were wanted before?”