“Well?” asked Howell, when a few minutes later they were walking along Wardour Street together. “How did you get on in Nice?”
“Had my journey for nothing.”
“Wouldn’t the old man tell anything?” asked Howell eagerly.
“Not a word,” Benton replied. “But my firm opinion is that he himself tried to kill Yvonne—that he shot her.”
“Do you really agree with me?” gasped Howell excitedly. “Of course, there has, all along, been a certain amount of suspicion against him. The police were once on the point of arresting him. I happen to know that.”
“Well, my belief is that young Henfrey is innocent. I never thought so until now.”
“Then we must prove Cataldi guilty, and Henfrey can marry Louise,” Howell said. “But the reason I wanted to get in touch with you is that the police went to Shapley.”
“To Shapley!” gasped Benton.
“Yes. They went there the night you left London. Evidently somebody has given you away!”
“Given me away! Who in the devil’s name can it be? If I get to know who the traitor is I—I’ll—by gad, I’ll kill him. I swear I will!”
“Who knows? Some secret enemy of yours—no doubt. Molly has been arrested and has been up at Bow Street. They also arrested Louise, but there being no charge against her, she has been released. I’ve sent her up to Cambridge—to old Mrs. Curtis. I thought she’d be quite quiet and safe there for a time.”
“But Molly arrested! What’s the charge?”
“Theft. An extradition warrant from Paris. That jeweller’s affair in the Rue St. Honore, eighteen months ago.”
“Well, I hope they won’t bring forward other charges, or it will go infernally bad with her. What has The Sparrow done?”
“He’s abroad somewhere—but I’ve had five hundred pounds from an unknown source to pay for her defence. I saw the solicitors. Brigthorne, the well-known barrister, appeared for her.”
“But all this is very serious, my dear Howell,” Benton declared, much alarmed.
“Of course it is. You can’t marry the girl to young Henfrey until he is proved innocent, and that cannot be until the guilt is fixed upon the crafty old Giulio.”
“Exactly. That’s what we must do. But with Molly arrested we shall be compelled to be very careful,” said Benton, as they turned toward Piccadilly Circus. “I don’t see how we dare move until Molly is either free or convicted. If she knew our game she might give us away. Remember that if we bring off the Henfrey affair Molly has to have a share in the spoils. But if she happens to be in a French prison she won’t get much chance—eh?”
“If she goes it will be ten years, without a doubt,” Howell remarked.
“Yes. And in the meantime much can happen—eh?” laughed Benton.
“Lots. But one reassuring fact is that, as far as old Henfrey’s fate is concerned, Mademoiselle’s lips are closed. Whoever shot her did us a very good turn.”