Kerry pressed the button, and met the glance of upturned, glazing eyes. Even as he dropped upon his knee beside the dying man, Peters swept his arm around in a convulsive movement, having the fingers crooked, coughed horribly, and rolled upon his face.
Switching off the light of the torch, Kerry clenched his jaws in a tense effort of listening, literally holding his breath. But no sound reached him through the muffling fog. A moment he hesitated, well knowing his danger, then viciously snapping on the light again, he quested in the blood-stained mud all about the body of the murdered man.
It was an exclamation of triumph.
One corner hideously stained, for it had lain half under Peters’s shoulder, Kerry gingerly lifted between finger and thumb a handkerchief of fine white silk, such as is carried in the breast pocket of an evening coat.
It bore an ornate monogram worked in gold, and representing the letters “L. C.” Oddly enough, it was the corner that bore the monogram which was also bloodstained.
THE ROOM OF THE GOLDEN BUDDHA
It was a moot point whether Lady Pat Rourke merited condemnation or pity. She possessed that type of blonde beauty which seems to be a lodestone for mankind in general. Her husband was wealthy, twelve years her senior, and, far from watching over her with jealous care—an attitude which often characterizes such unions— he, on the contrary, permitted her a dangerous freedom, believing that she would appreciate without abusing it.
Her friendship with Lou Chada had first opened his eyes to the perils which beset the road of least resistance. Sir Noel Rourke was an Anglo-Indian, and his prejudice against the Eurasian was one not lightly to be surmounted. Not all the polish which English culture had given to this child of a mixed union could blind Sir Noel to the yellow streak. Courted though Chada was by some of the best people, Sir Noel remained cold.
The long, magnetic eyes, the handsome, clear-cut features, above all, that slow and alluring smile, appealed to the husband of the wilful Pat rather as evidences of Oriental, half-effeminate devilry than as passports to decent society. Oxford had veneered him, but scratch the veneer and one found the sandal-wood of the East, perfumed, seductive, appealing, but something to be shunned as brittle and untrustworthy.
Yet he hesitated, seeking to be true to his convictions. Knowing what he knew already, and what he suspected, it is certain that, could he have viewed Lou Chada through the eyes of Chief Inspector Kerry, the affair must have terminated otherwise. But Sir Noel did not know what Kerry knew. And the pleasure-seeking Lady Rourke, with her hair of spun gold and her provoking smile, found Lou Chada dangerously fascinating; almost she was infatuated—she who had known so much admiration.