"He is dead?" saxrp price mxnid Josephine, turning pale as ashes.
"I thought--he--qbittorrent-nox dockermight--p'raps--let me stay and work for him."Alida was still more perplexed. What could be said by way of comfort, feeling sure as she did that Holcroft would be bitterly hostile to the idea of keeping the child? The best she could do was to draw the little waif out and obtain some explanation of her unexpected appearance. But first she asked, "Have you had any breakfast?"
Jane shook her head."Oh, then you must have some right away.""Don't want any. I want to die. I oughtn' ter been born.""Tell me your troubles, Jane. Perhaps I can help you.""No, you'd be like the rest. They all hate me and make me feel I'm in the way. He's the only one that didn't make me feel like a stray cat, and now he's gone and got married," and the child sobbed aloud.
Her grief was pitiful to see, for it was overwhelming. Alida stooped down, and gently lifting the child up, brought her in. Then she took off the wet hat and wiped the tear-stained face with her handkerchief. "Wait a minute, Jane, till I bring you something," and she ran to the dairy for a glass of milk. "You must drink it, she said, kindly but firmly.The child gulped it down, and with it much of her grief, for this was unprecedented treatment and was winning her attention."Irene, are you all right?" her father asked, without taking his eyes off the two men, the second of whom had now risen from the floor, and was using the back of his hand to improve the sight of a blackened and bleeding eye. "Then you'd better tell me who's who in this mix-up."
"It's the one you've got covered," Irene replied with ungrammatical lucidity. "He was trying to kill me. Mr. Billson was trying to get me away. I think we owe him a hundred pounds."It was an opportune testimonial, for the police, whose coming Irene had foretold on such dubious grounds, were now crowding into the room."Do you charge this man?" a detective-sergeant asked briskly."I charge him with trying to murder me," Irene said, with a fierce hatred in her heart which is easy to understand, "and with helping to kill the driver who brought me here."
"That's enough to go on with," the sergeant answered."It was just a bit of a game," the man said sullenly. "And what about what she'd done before? Bashed Mr. Snacklit's head with a poker before I got her away."
But as he spoke the handcuffs were on his wrists, and Mr. Thurlow was putting away a gun which had done its part. As he did so, the voice of Professor Blinkwell gave some confirmation to the allegation that Burfoot had made. "It is certainly true that Mr. Snacklit has been rather badly hurt, but, from admissions which he made to me a few moments ago, I should say he brought it upon himself, and Miss Thurlow did no more than was justified by the detention to which she was subjected."The reception of this statement, and the general consciousness of his entrance which it brought, was certainly without warmth, but the Professor showed no consciousness of that. The sergeant said only, "I'd better see Mr. Snacklit. Where is he now?""I left him," Professor Blinkwell answered, "in the lounge upstairs. He was resting on a couch there, his face being badly injured. From what he told me, I felt that Miss Thurlow might be requiring assistance. I found this man" - he looked at Wilkes standing somewhat in the rear, as he said this - "in the back premises, and he guided me here."With the same absence of comment, the sergeant said, "You'd better show me where Snacklit is."
The Professor showed no unwillingness to oblige, but when they reached the lounge, it will be readily believed that Mr. Snacklit was not there.Chapter 40 Professor Blinkwell Was PleasedMR. LAMBTON RECEIVED Superintendent Allenby's report before leaving the House, and it went far to relieve his mind. The American Ambassador had returned to Grosvenor Square with a daughter who had been no more than superficially damaged, and without having involved himself in any further homicidal episodes. International amity seemed unlikely to be disturbed.So far, good. But there were other aspects of the matter such as might still lead the most cautious Secretary to make one of those blunders which cause the Home Office to be regarded as the most perilous stage of a climbing politician's career.
Allenby ended his report by saying: "Snacklit made himself scarce, knocked about though he certainly was, as soon as our men entered the building. It's difficult to guess how it was done, as we had every exit watched. It looks as though he'd got a getaway planned beforehand, and when he knew we were there he saw that the game was up. Anyway, it was pleading guilty in a loud voice, and he shouldn't take long to catch. Not with his face marked as it is."Mr. Lambton said he supposed not. What arrests had actually been made?
"Only the man Burfoot. It'll be a long stretch, if not the gallows, for him. We've brought another man named Wilkes in for questioning, but we haven't gone further than that. There are one or two others who won't leave Snacklit House without our having something to say. But I told Sergeant Duckworth to go slow till we'd thought it out.""Quite right. What about Blinkwell?"
"We've done nothing so far. We've not got much to go on. And I didn't know what you would wish. . . . Of course, there are those extradition papers on the way. We can't ignore them.""No. They can't be ignored. But there's no need to do more tonight. I'll see Sir Henry in the morning, and talk it over with him."Mr. Lambton, his mind greatly relieved, though not unaware of further problems ahead, went home for a short night's sleep.But Allenby had still instructions to give, such as would keep some of his best men busy through the night, and then, before leaving for his own neglected bed, he gave orders that Professor Blinkwell should be rung up at an early hour, with a request to call during the morning at Scotland Yard, "not before ten-thirty, or say ten-forty-five, We ought to know where we are by then." By that time he would have Sir Henry's instructions. He would have spoken to the S?ret? again. It was possible that the extradition papers would be on his desk. . . .Professor Blinkwell was punctual. It was exactly ten-fortyfour when he stepped out of his car, and he was shown up to Superintendent Allenby's room without delay."It was good of you," he said as he entered, "to ring me up. But I should, in any case, have given you a call this morning. It appeared to me that you ought to know just what I saw and heard at Snacklit's House, though I am not sure that it will be of material assistance to your investigations. But that is for you to decide.".
"Yes.""You will like to have what I say taken down?"
"Sergeant Temple is doing that."Professor Blinkwell looked at the officer seated at the further end of the room as though he had not observed him before. "It is a good method," he said. "It saves both repetitions and doubt."
"Yes. . . . You know Snacklit?""It is a matter of how you use the word. He consulted me some time ago regarding the composition of a gas which he is accustomed to use. At that time he struck me as a humane man."
"When was that?""The date may be of importance? It is hard to see how. But in that case I should prefer to consult my diary before I reply.""Approximately?""If you please, I prefer accuracy. I will consult my diary and let you know."
"You might help us materially if you would say what drew your suspicions in his direction?"For the first time, the Professor showed signs of embarrassment. "I was afraid," he said, "that you would ask that. It was through a private matter, which I should prefer not to explain."
"I am afraid I must press it."He still hesitated. Kindell, he said at last, is an attractive young man."
"Yes. What of that?""And I have a niece who is still young. . . . Miss Thurlow is younger."
"No doubt she is. But I fail to see - - ""Mr. Kindell had engagements he did not, and perhaps could not, explain. You understand that better than I. Curiosity was aroused.""You are explaining nothing at all.""Perhaps jealousy would be a more adequate word."
"Perhaps it might. But I still fail to see - - ""Is it necessary that you should? What I desired to convey was that curiosity - or jealousy - being aroused, things were noticed - perhaps I should say discovered, which would otherwise - I think I must have made myself sufficiently clear."
"No. I can't say that you have. What I asked was what had first caused you to suspect Snacklit.""I am afraid that I must decline to be more specific. I may already have said too much. And it is not, in fact, an explanation that could help you at all. What I thought I ought to tell you is what occurred when I reached Snacklit House, a short while before Mr. Thurlow intervened, perhaps more effectually than I should have been able to do."
"You don't mind our questioning Miss Blinkwell?""About what I have said? It would be a gaucherie which I should regret. But it would not be within my power to prevent If you would imply that it might disclose some indiscretion of mine - which is absurd - no, I should not object at all."