Inspector Dunbar took out his notebook and fountain-pen, and began to tap his teeth with the latter, nodding his head at the same time.
“You are sure of the accuracy of your last statement?” he said, raising his eyes to the other.
“I followed one of them,” was the reply, “and saw her footman gravely take charge of the luggage which I had just brought from Victoria; and a pal of mine followed the other—the Waterloo one, that was.”
Inspector Dunbar scribbled busily. Then:—
“You have done well to make a clean breast of it,” he said. “Take a straight tip from me. Keep off the drink!”
THE GREAT UNDERSTANDING
It was in the afternoon of this same day—a day so momentous in the lives of more than one of London’s millions—that two travelers might have been seen to descend from a first-class compartment of the Dover boat-train at Charing Cross.
They had been the sole occupants of the compartment, and, despite the wide dissimilarity of character to be read upon their countenances, seemed to have struck up an acquaintance based upon mutual amiability and worldly common sense. The traveler first to descend and gallantly to offer his hand to his companion in order to assist her to the platform, was the one whom a casual observer would first have noted.
He was a man built largely, but on good lines; a man past his youth, and somewhat too fleshy; but for all his bulk, there was nothing unwieldy, and nothing ungraceful in his bearing or carriage. He wore a French traveling-coat, conceived in a style violently Parisian, and composed of a wonderful check calculated to have blinded any cutter in Savile Row. From beneath its gorgeous folds protruded the extremities of severely creased cashmere trousers, turned up over white spats which nestled coyly about a pair of glossy black boots. The traveler’s hat was of velour, silver gray and boasting a partridge feather thrust in its silken band. One glimpse of the outfit must have brought the entire staff of the Tailor and Cutter to an untimely grave.
But if ever man was born who could carry such a make-up, this traveler was he. The face was cut on massive lines, on fleshy lines, clean-shaven, and inclined to pallor. The hirsute blue tinge about the jaw and lips helped to accentuate the virile strength of the long, flexible mouth, which could be humorous, which could be sorrowful, which could be grim. In the dark eyes of the man lay a wealth of experience, acquired in a lifelong pilgrimage among many peoples, and to many lands. His dark brows were heavily marked, and his close-cut hair was splashed with gray.
Let us glance at the lady who accepted his white-gloved hand, and who sprang alertly onto the platform beside him.