On the fifth day he wrote a long urgent letter to Allonby; and for the succeeding two days he had the occupation of waiting for an answer. He hardly stirred from his rooms, in his fear of missing the letter by a moment; but would the District Attorney write, or send a representative: a policeman, a “secret agent,” or some other mysterious emissary of the law?
On the third morning Flint, stepping softly—as if, confound it! his master were ill—entered the library where Granice sat behind an unread newspaper, and proferred a card on a tray.
Granice read the name—J. B. Hewson—and underneath, in pencil, “From the District Attorney’s office.” He started up with a thumping heart, and signed an assent to the servant.
Mr. Hewson was a slight sallow nondescript man of about fifty—the kind of man of whom one is sure to see a specimen in any crowd. “Just the type of the successful detective,” Granice reflected as he shook hands with his visitor.
And it was in that character that Mr. Hewson briefly introduced himself. He had been sent by the District Attorney to have “a quiet talk” with Mr. Granice—to ask him to repeat the statement he had made about the Lenman murder.
His manner was so quiet, so reasonable and receptive, that Granice’s self-confidence returned. Here was a sensible man—a man who knew his business—it would be easy enough to make him see through that ridiculous alibi! Granice offered Mr. Hewson a cigar, and lighting one himself—to prove his coolness—began again to tell his story.
He was conscious, as he proceeded, of telling it better than ever before. Practice helped, no doubt; and his listener’s detached, impartial attitude helped still more. He could see that Hewson, at least, had not decided in advance to disbelieve him, and the sense of being trusted made him more lucid and more consecutive. Yes, this time his words would certainly carry conviction...
DESPAIRINGLY, Granice gazed up and down the shabby street. Beside him stood a young man with bright prominent eyes, a smooth but not too smoothly-shaven face, and an Irish smile. The young man’s nimble glance followed Granice’s.
“Sure of the number, are you?” he asked briskly.
“Oh, yes—it was 104.”
“Well, then, the new building has swallowed it up—that’s certain.”
He tilted his head back and surveyed the half-finished front of a brick and limestone flat-house that reared its flimsy elegance above a row of tottering tenements and stables.
“Dead sure?” he repeated.
“Yes,” said Granice, discouraged. “And even if I hadn’t been, I know the garage was just opposite Leffler’s over there.” He pointed across the street to a tumble-down stable with a blotched sign on which the words “Livery and Boarding” were still faintly discernible.
The young man dashed across to the opposite pavement. “Well, that’s something—may get a clue there. Leffler’s—same name there, anyhow. You remember that name?”