“It must have been Mr. Adderley I saw,” muttered the constable.
“Just before you arrived, sir. He came racing out into St. James’s Street and dashed off like a madman.”
“In which direction was he going?”
“Toward Pall Mall.”
The neighbourhood was practically deserted at that hour. But from the guard on duty before the palace we obtained our first evidence of Adderley’s movements. He had raced by some five minutes before, frantically looking back over his shoulder and behaving like a man flying for his life. No one else had seen him. No one else ever did see him alive. At two o’clock there was no news, but I had informed Scotland Yard and official inquiries had been set afoot.
Nothing further came to light that night, but as all readers of the daily press will remember, Adderley’s body was taken out of the pond in St. James’s Park on the following day. Death was due to drowning, but his throat was greatly discoloured as though it had been clutched in a fierce grip.
It was I who identified the body, and as many people will know, in spite of the closest inquiries, the mystery of Adderley’s death has not been properly cleared up to this day. The identity of the lady who visited him at his chambers was never discovered. She completely disappeared.
The ebony and ivory casket lies on my table at this present moment, visible evidence of an invisible menace from which Adderley had fled around the world.
Doubtless the truth will never be known now. A significant discovery, however, was made some days after the recovery of Adderley’s body.
From the bottom of the pond in St. James’s Park a patient Scotland Yard official brought up the gold nail-case with its mysterious engravings—and it contained, torn at the root, the incredibly long finger-nail of the Mandarin Quong!
THE KEEPER OF THE KEY
The note of a silver bell quivered musically through the scented air of the ante-room. Madame de Medici stirred slightly upon the divan with its many silken cushions, turning her head toward the closed door with the languorous, almost insolent, indifference which one perceives in the movements of a tigress. Below, in the lobby, where the pillars of Mokattam alabaster upheld the painted roof, the little yellow man from Pekin shivered slightly, although the air was warm for Limehouse, and always turned his mysterious eyes toward a corner of the great staircase which was visible from where he sat, coiled up, a lonely figure in the mushrabiyeh chair. Madame blew a wreath of smoke from her lips, and, through half-closed eyes, watched it ascend, unbroken, toward the canopy of cloth-of-gold which masked the ceiling. A Madonna