“But you speak of Cataldi. How can he know?”
“When I entered the house I told him quickly that I believed Howell was following me. I ordered him to watch. This no doubt he did. He has ever been faithful to me.”
“Buy why should Howell have attempted to fix his guilt upon Mr. Henfrey?” asked The Sparrow. “In doing so he was defeating his own aims. If Mr. Henfrey were sent to prison he could not marry Louise Lambert, and if he had married Louise he would have benefited Howell! Therefore the whole plot was nullified.”
“Exactly, m’sieur. Howell attempted to kill me in order to preserve his secret, fearing that if I told Mr. Henfrey the truth he would inform the police of the circumstances of his father’s assassination. In making the attempt he defeated his own ends—a fact which he only realized when too late!”
The foregoing is perhaps one of the most remarkable stories of the underworld of Europe.
Its details are set down in full in three big portfolios in the archives of the Surete in Paris—where the present writer has had access to them.
In that bald official narrative which is docketed under the heading “No. 23489/263—Henfrey” there is no mention of the love affair between Dorise Ranscomb and Hugh Henfrey of Woodthorpe.
But the true facts are that within three days of Mademoiselle’s recovery of her mental balance, old Giulio Cataldi made a sworn statement to the police at Nice, and in consequence two gendarmes of the Department of Seine et Oise went one night to a small hotel at Provins, where they arrested the Englishman, Shaw, alias Howell, who had gone there in what he thought was safe hiding.
The arrest took place at midnight, but Howell, on being cornered in his bedroom, showed fight, and raising an automatic pistol, which he had under his pillow, shot and wounded one of the gendarmes. Whereupon his companion drew his revolver in self-defence and shot the Englishman dead.
Benton, a few months later, was sentenced to forced labour for fifteen years, while his accomplice, Molly Bond, received a sentence of ten years. Only one case—that of jewel robbery—was, however, proved against her.
Dorise, about six weeks after Mademoiselle Yvonne’s explanation, met her in London, and there she and Hugh became reconciled. Her jealousy of Louise Lambert disappeared when she knew the actual truth, and she admired her lover all the more for his generosity in promising, when the Probate Court had set aside the false will, that he would settle a comfortable income upon the poor innocent girl.
This, indeed, he did.
The Sparrow has never since been traced, though Scotland Yard and the Surete have searched everywhere for him. But he is far too clever. The writer believes he is now living in obscurity, but perfectly happy, in a little village outside Barcelona. He loves the sunshine.