“Well, what of that?” he asked. “I told her.”
“She tells me that my present hiding-place is known!”
“Not known to the police? Impossible!” gasped the black-gloved man.
“I take it that such is a fact.”
“Why, Molly is there!” cried the man Howell. “If the police suspect that Henfrey is at Shapley, then they’ll visit the place and have a decided haul.”
“Why?” asked Hugh in ignorance.
“Nothing. I never discuss other people’s private affairs, Mr. Henfrey,” Howell answered very quietly.
Hugh was surprised at the familiar mention of “Molly,” and the declaration that if the Manor were searched the police would have “a decided haul.”
“This is very interesting,” declared The Sparrow. “What did Miss Ranscomb say in her letter?”
For a second Hugh hesitated; then, drawing it from his pocket, he gave it to the gloved man to read.
Hugh knew that The Sparrow was withholding certain truths from him, yet had he not already proved himself his best and only friend? Brock was a good friend, but unable to assist him.
The Sparrow’s strongly marked face changed as he read Dorise’s angry letter.
“H’m!” he grunted. “I will see her. We must discover why she has sent you this warning. Come back again this evening. But be very careful where you go in the meantime.”
Thus dismissed, Hugh walked along Ellerston Street into Curzon Street towards Piccadilly, not knowing where to go to spend the intervening hours.
The instant he had gone, however, The Sparrow turned to his companion, who said:
“I wonder if Lisette has revealed anything?”
“By Jove!” remarked The Sparrow, for once suddenly perturbed. "I never thought of that!"
CLOSING THE NET
“Well—recollect how much the girl knows!” Howell remarked as he stood before The Sparrow in the latter’s room.
“I have not forgotten,” said the other. “The whole circumstances of old Henfrey’s death are not known to me. That it was an unfortunate affair has long ago been proved.”
“Yvonne was the culprit, of course,” said Howell. “That was apparent from the first.”
“I suppose she was,” remarked The Sparrow reflectively. “But that attempt upon her life puzzles me.”
“Who could have greater motive in killing her out of revenge than the dead man’s son?”
“Agreed. But I am convinced that the lad is innocent. Therefore I gave him our protection.”
“I was travelling abroad at the time, you recollect. When I learnt of the affair through Franklyn about a week afterwards I was amazed. The loss of Yvonne to us is a serious one.”
“Very—I agree. She had done some excellent work—the affair in the Rue Royale, for instance.”
“And the clever ruse by which she got those emeralds of the Roumanian princess. The Vienna police are still searching for her—after three years,” laughed the companion of the chief of the international organization, whose word was law in the criminal underworld of Europe.