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al |_-.:. :.-.-:: / / books . qooqle . com/| 

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' Now, my pretty, we'll have a dance and a song. 

Look up for a kiss ' " 

(.Sw pagt 11$) 

• •* - , 





Author of "The Riddle of The Night,' » "Cleek of 

Scotland Yard,/ "Cleek, The Man of 

The Forty Faces/' Etc 

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• • * 



Publishers New York 

Published by Arrangement with Doubleday, Pack & Company 

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THE K :.\v VO. :< 

702663 A 

AC; 'jr., l.': w ' X AND 

TILDL'.N l'(j.;fv JA". IONS 

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• • •• 

Copyright* *9*7» h 


All rights reserved, including that of 

translation into foreign language*. 

including the Scandinavian 

> • • • 


" ' Now, my pretty, we'll have a dance and a 
song. Look up for a kiss 9 " . . Frontispiece 


"' Dog of a half-caste! . . . By the beard 
of my father, but you shall tell me where 
sheis!'" 1 ^96 

" ' I can't make it out,' whispered Mr. Narkom 
as the two men stood looking down on the 
still figure" * . : 156 

44 Catching him by the leg in a little bit of jiu- 
jitsu • • . Cleek brought him crashing 
to the floor" 198 

44 4 Drink it up, mother, and it will make thy 

dreams rosy. Eh, what is that? A-h-h!/" 312 




IT WAS June — June with the world a-bloom, riot- 
ing with colour, fragrant as a lady's linen-chest, 
exquisite, golden. And of all spots most con- 
ducive to the full enjoyment of the month, a kindly 
Providence has created for that purpose the pleasant 
Thames Valley, where the river winds its idle way 
like a thread of silver, through golden pasture land 
and shady forest, and the sky above lies like a sap- 
phire canopy over the sun-drenched splendour of hill 
and dale. 

And it was upon just such an afternoon as this that 
Cleek, clad in the immaculate flannels that good taste, 
and better judgment, dictate for such weather, lay 
stretched upon a particularly green, particularly 
well-cared-for piece of lawn, shelving down to the 
river's edge, and breaking there into a riot of rose- 
foam that wound downward to the tiny landing stage. 
Beside him in a deck chair was Ailsa Lome; and, some 
distance away, Dollops, engaged in polishing his 
latest acquisition, a huge brass telescope, which Mr. 



Maverick Narkom had given him, fortified his la- 
bours at very frequent intervals by the consumption 
of green gooseberries. 

"A long job, eh, Dollops?" said Cleek, with a 
twitch of the head in his direction, and a healthy, 
happy laugh. For he was happy, was this man, 
happier than he had ever thought it possible to be. 
From now on, he need no longer adopt the disguise 
that had hidden him from a curious world, for with the 
renunciation of the throne of Maurevania for the sake 
of the one dear woman who sat beside him, had come 
simultaneously a slackening of the search parties of 
Apaches who had hitherto made his life an exciting 
and somewhat perilous game. 

Lor* lumme, sir," returned Dollops briskly, 

she's a fair old turkey gobbler for polish, but she's a 
rare beauty, and it beats me why you can see every 
blessed object, large as life and twice as natural, as 
you might say." 

Speaking, he put the instrument to his eye, and 
then gave out a little cry of dismay. 

"It's a motor, Mr. Cleek," he broke out anxiously, 
jumping to his feet. "Don't go for to say it's Mr. 
Narkom a-coming to spoil the first blessed holiday 
we've had." 

"I shouldn't be surprised," responded Cleek, wit » 
a rueful little laugh. "Eh, sweetheart? * When yc 
come to the end of a perfect day,' as the song say., 
you've got to face what the evening must bring fort! 
That's so, Ailsa, isn't it?" 




For answer she looked up at him suddenly, a gleam 
of anxiety in her deep hazel eyes, for she feared to 
have the man she loved out of her sight for a moment, 
lest the Fates be tempted once more to snatch her 
happiness from her. 

Presently the unmistakable hum of a swiftly driven 
motor fell only too plainly on their ears strained to 
catch the familiar sound, and Dollops sat holding his 
beloved telescope almost like a gun, as though he fain 
would repel the invader by main force. 

Nearer and nearer drew the panting car, until they 
were able to distinguish its occupants. 

A reassuring glance told Dollops that it was not the 
much-dreaded limousine of the Yard. Assured of 
this fact, he gave vent to a little sigh of ineffable re- 
lief, and snuggling down into the long, dry grass, re- 
turned to his labour of love. 

But the car stopped short in the lane that led down 
to the private landing stage, and from it leaped a gentle- 
man, tall and upright, with the mien and bearing of a 
soldier, and clad in the conventional afternoon dress 
of the well-born Englishman. 

Cleek twitched his head round as the wicket gate 
groaned on its rusty hinges, and catching sight of the 
intruder, he jumped hastily to his feet. 

" Count Irma ! " he ejaculated in the sharp staccato 
of tmfteoMat. "This is an unexpected pleasure. I 
thought jmi h*d returned to — that i# — left Eng- 

land. " He stretched out a swift hand of welcome, 
and gave vent to a little sharp sigh. 


The Count took that hand, bent over it, then draw- 
ing himself up, said sombrely : "No, Sire! I come to 
make a last appeal to your conscience and your man- 
hood. Maurevania calls to you, Sire; must she call in 

The smile had vanished from Cleek's lips at the 
sound of the first words, and simultaneously he linked 
his arm within that of Ailsa Lome, who had also risen 
from her low chair, and now stood by his side, as if to 
ward off a hidden danger. 

"I spoke my last word on that subject, Count, 
months ago/' he responded smoothly yet with a 
latent sternness that brooked no questioning beneath. 
"Do not let us quarrel, my friend. Maurevania 
must do without me, as she has done, contented, all 
these long years." 

"She has not! She has suffered, and suffered in 
silence!" retorted the Count with a sudden tinge of 
passion in his low voice. "Sire, I risk your dis- 
pleasure. Kings are but slaves in another form; 
slaves to their duty, slaves to God himself, and I be- 
seech you, do not fail us now in our hour of need. 
Maurevania looks to you for salvation from the yoke 
of the foreigner. Will you fail her?" The words 
came imploringly, in a swift rush of appeal, but Cleek 
raised a silencing hand. 

"Yes," he said quietly. "Yes, Count, if it means 
the loss of this dear woman by my side, who has res- 
cued my very soul, drawn me up from the depths of 
hell itself. That resolution you cannot shake. 


A kingdom without this lady as rightful, recognized 
Queen, is out of the question. But a few short days 
now, and she will become my wife, beyond all 
thrones, beyond all earthly kingdoms save that 
which lies within the shelter of her own home. And 
there she will be queen indeed! I have no other an- 
swer to give you." 

His hand fell, he drew back his head with some- 
thing akin to kingliness in the gesture. 

For a moment Count Irma looked at him, re- 
proachfully, sadly, then with a suddenly acquired 
defiance, and bent his head. He knew the sentence 
had been passed. 

" So be it," he said simply, in a bitter voice. " For 
the sake of a passing passion you have given over a 
nation to the horrors of civil war. Ruin, moral and 
financial, stares Maurevania in the face, and I must 
return to say that its rightful deliverer cares for 
naught but the love of a foreign woman!" 

Then he turned upon Ailsa furiously, his face 
white with a passion of hatred that seared it as a 
branding-iron sears the horses' skin, leaving its in- 
effaceable mark. 

"Mark my words, both of you, on my sword I will 
swear it — the sword with which I would have fought 
to the last drop of my blood for you — henceforth I will 
devote my life to the vengeance of that ill-fated people. 
You shall never marry this woman who has so blinded 
your eyes, and if your conscience will not aid you, 
then perhaps Maurevania herself shall speak to you." 


He swung round suddenly, giving out a low, peculiar 
whistle. At its sound, from the body of the waiting 
car there leapt some half a dozen men, whose pres- 
ence there had been hitherto unknown and undis- 
covered — Maurevanians, every man Jack of them, by 
the swarthy skin and deep-set eyes — who, at a signal 
from the Count, threw themselves on Cleek, and be- 
fore Ailsa could utter so much as a sound or make so 
much as a single movement from the restraining 
hands of one, Cleek was bound hand and foot and 
bundled into the car. 

So sudden had been the attack that apparently not 
even Dollops had realized the danger that his beloved 
master had encountered, for he had not made his 
presence known until Cleek's helpless body was lying 
prostrate in the car. Then he approached the Count, 
and pulling his forelock, said humbly : 

"Beg your pardon, sir — Yer 'Ighness I means — but 
I could 'elp yer along of that party there if yer paid 
me for it." 

" Dollops ! " The cry came like a moan from the lips 
of Ailsa as she stood helpless in the grasp of a huge 

"Money is money, miss," responded the youth 
sullenly, "an* as I 'appen to know which road Mr. 
Narkom an* 'is men are likely to be taking " 

The Count wheeled round on him. 

"The police!" he cried. "Ah! yes, good lad! 
How much? Tell me the road and you shall be weD 


"A couple of quid '11 do me," was the surprising 

Then, almost before the words were out of his 
mouth, the coins were pressed into the grimy hand 
outstretched to grab them, and swinging round so as 
to avoid the scorn on Ailsa Lome's face, the lad 
gazed thoughtfully up the distant road. 

" Mr. Narkom (the old blighter) Vs supposed to be 
in London, but between you an* me, sir, Yer 'Ighness, 
beggin' yer pardon, Vs at Oxford, on a special job, 
and we expects him every hour. Starting now, as 
yer might say. I could take yer some short cuts, and 
you'd show a clean pair of 'ells." 

Count Irma nodded sharply and motioned him to a 
front seat in the big car, well satisfied with the deal. 
Then he turned to Ailsa, who stood sobbing some 
distance away, her face covered with her two hands, 
and the whole heart of her tortured and broken. 

" Mademoiselle," he said suavely, "the move is 
mine. His life depends entirely upon his consent. 
Escape is impossible, and were it otherwise, your own 
life would pay the penalty. I do not war on women 
if I can avoid it. So, mademoiselle, I bid you 

With a gallant bow he swung upon his heel, re- 
placed his hat, strode quickly over to the waiting 
motor, and stepped into it. Then, in the semi- 
silence of that perfect afternoon, the car slid out 
noiselessly into the road leading toward London and 
the things that lay ahead, leaving behind it a weeping 


woman, and a desolation that was as deep as it was 


Mr. Maverick Narkom sat in his private office at 
Scotland Yard, intent on reading the reports of the 
afternoon, with a cigar stuck between the fingers of 
his left hand and the open window sending a little 
breeze fluttering across the untidy desk. He looked 
up suddenly, as the sound of hurried footsteps without 
struck in upon the lazy silence of the afternoon, and 
wheeled round in his seat. 

But if he had expected to see Lennard, or any of the 
staff of Scotland Yard, he was doomed to disappoint- 
ment. The door opened and closed gustily, there 
came a swirl of woman's skirts, and the astonished 
eyes of the Superintendent fell on the last person he 
expected to see. It was Ailsa Lorne y white and shak- 
ing, the unrestrained tears coursing down her an- 
guished face, as her trembling lips struggled to frame 
the words to tell her plight. 

"Miss Lome; why, God bless me . . . what 
is wrong?" gasped the Superintendent. "Come, 
come; tell me — it is not " 

"Yes, yes, he's gone gone!" 

"Gone! Good God! do you mean Cleek? Not 

She gave out a little sob at that, then strove piti- 
fully to regain composure, finally getting out some of 
the facts, and as the Superintendent realized what 


the danger meant to his beloved ally and invaluable 
detective, he collapsed into a chair, with his face 
hidden in the palm of an upthrown hand, and his 
eyes wet with tears. 

"Cleek! My God! and we thought. . . . 
But who was to think of Count Irma?" he muttered 
at last, in a heart-wrung voice. "They'll never dare 
to touch a hair of his head! They can't I And after 
all the precautions, to be taken like a first offence 
safe-robber! Gad! but he shall be found, Miss 
Lome. I swear it! I swear it! The whole kingdom 
shall be searched, house to house, so that he shall re- 
turn to us at last!" 

His eye fell on the telephone and, fairly flinging 
himself upon it, he seized the receiver in one shaking 
hand and let a stream of words issue from his pale 
lips, his face white now as Ailsa's own. N 

In precisely ten minutes' time there wasn't a rail- 
way station, port, or terminus but was on the lookout 
for all suspicious characters. Then a red and per- 
spiring Mr. Narkom turned to Ailsa and put out a 
shaking hand. 

"It is Dollops I can't understand," he broke out 
bitterly, replacing the receiver. " If only I could get 
an explanation of him; it seems so impossible, so un- 
like the lad." 

.Even as he spoke, there came a tap at the door, it 
opened inward, and Hammond stepped into the room, 
removing his hat and standing at attention. 

"Well?" rapped out the Superintendent, in the 


sharp staccato of anxiety. "What is it? What do 
you want?" 

"Beg yer pardon, sir, for disturbing you, but I 
thought you ought to know; it's something to do with 
Mr. Cleek." 

Cleek!" flung out the Superintendent sharply. 

Speak up, man ! If it's a clue, speak up ! " 

Hammond "spoke up" forthwith. 
I was on point duty, just off Kensington High 
Street, sir," he began, "when a motor-car passed, 
exceeding the speed limit something awful. I tried 
to stop it, but to my surprise young Dollops was on 
the front seat, and when 'e sees me, 'e puts his 'and in 
his pocket, says something to a foreign-looking chap 
on the seat beside him, throws me this, and they 
drives on quicker than ever." 

Mr. Narkom snatched "this" from the out- 
stretched hand. It proved to be a scrap of paper 
twisted round a sovereign. The coin fell unheeded 
from Mr. Narkom's shaking fingers, however, for it 
was the grimy scrap of paper that he clutched. On 
it were the scrawled words: "God's sake and Cleek's, 
take this to Mr. Narkom, Scot. Yd. Car L 404. 
Dollops. Safe." 

"What does it mean?" cried Ailsa, her hands cling- 
ing to Mr. Narkom's arm. "Tell me, Mr. Narkom ! 
For God's sake, what does it mean?" 

Mr. Narkom's eyes fairly gleamed. 

"The bully boy! The splendid lad! Got him as 
safe as houses ! " he retorted with half a laugh and half 


a sob. "Thought it was a funny thing if that young 
shaver turned out a crook. That's the number of the 
car, Miss Lome, so don't you worry. We'll have 
Cleek back again safe and sound before you can turn 

He said no more, simply turned back to the tele- 
phone, stopping only to toss the sovereign over to 
Hammond as he told him that Cleek was in danger, 
and instructed him to find the car of that number. 

It did not take long to ascertain that L 404 belonged 
to the Ritz Hotel, and even as the news was borne to 
Narkom the clanging of his bell brought not only the 
}>orter, but Lennard himself, who had just heard the 

"The limousine, as quick as you can. What's 
that? Ready? Good man! To the Ritz, then." 
He dashed to a hook on which hung his hat and coat; 
grabbing them, he beckoned to Miss Lome, and flung 
open the door. "If only we're in time! If only it's 
possible to save him! Come on, Miss Lome; come 
on, my dear, to Cleek's victory!" 

Miss Lome "came on" with such a surprising 
suddenness that three minutes later the blue limou- 
sine shot out of the precincts of the Yard, and took 
the distance between it and Piccadilly at a mile-a- 
minute clip. 

The arrival of the well-known car and its still more 
familiar Superintendent brought the manager on the 
scene, only too willing to answer such inquiries as the 


English law, embodied in the portly person of Super- 
intendent Narkom, should demand of him. "Count 
Irma of Maurevania? Of a surety, yes, he was stay- 
ing here, occupying one of the finest suites the hotel 
offered. Yes, he would send up and ask for an 
interview. . . ." 

Mr. Narkom, his cheeks pink with suppressed 
excitement, mopped his forehead briskly. His foe 
could not escape him, for all round the Ritz was drawn 
a cordon of plain-clothes men, on the alert for all 
out-goers, and the Count himself should be held 
hostage for the man he had kidnapped. 

The few minutes which elapsed seemed like hours 
to Ailsa, her fears yet unallayed, despite her com- 
panion's optimism. The return of the manager 
brought with it therefore no disappointment to 

"But an hour ago, monsieur," he said with many 
bows of solicitude, "I find that one of his equerries 
was taken ill while out driving, and the Count him- 
self, like the kind master he is, drove him away to a 
hospital. He will return later." 

Mr. Narkom's banished fears arose in all intensity. 
Only too well did he know how many chances there 
were of Count Irma's return. Money would be sent, 
but Irma himself would not come; he was already 
making his way out of the country with all ex- 
peditiousness, and, with him, Geek. To search the 
hospitals was, of course, futile; they had come up 
against a blank wall, and the Superintendent met 


Ailsa's agonized gaze with a mute appeal for a re- 
newal of her faith in his resources. 

Without further delay they passed out into the 
courtyard, and were back on the pavement beside the 
limousine, when a paper-boy, to all intents and pur- 
poses bent on selling them the latest edition of the 
evening paper, sidled up closer and whispered to Mr. 
Narkom : 

"A chap said *e was Dollops, sir, if you're Mr. 
Narkom — paper, sir?" he broke off; "paper, sir? 
Buy a paper? " 

"Yes, yes!" gasped the Superintendent, feeling for 
a coin. 

"If you come 'ere, I was to give you this and get a 

The shilling appeared forthwith, and with the copy 
of the paper Mr. Narkom clutched another and still 
grimier scrap than that other one he had received. 

Instantly his eyes were on the alert. He glanced 
down at it, without seeming to do so, and read these 
words : " Tower House at London Bridge Docks, sail- 
ing to-night. 6. Dollops. He's awl rite." 

With one excited nod, Mr. Narkom fairly wrenched 
open the door of the limousine, and waving Miss 
Lome inside, leaned over to Lennard. 

The docks at London Bridge," he said excitedly. 
As fast as you can streak it, Lennard, my boy ! For 
Mr. Cleek, for me ! We've got to get there before six, 
or it's all up." 

"Right you are, sir!" responded Lennard heartily. 



Then, with a glance at the little clock before him: 
"Half an hour! Crumbs! but it's a close shave." 
Then they were off and away at a pace that ate up the 
distance like a cat lapping cream. 

But the age for miracles is over, and no motor can 
beat time for speed. Try as he might, it was just ten 
minutes after the hour had struck when Lennard 
brought the car up to a somewhat deserted-looking 
house at the rear of a disused landing stage to which 
they had been directed. Evidently Count Irma had 
had his plans all cut and dried before taking the final 
motor ride into the pleasant Thames Valley. It was 
not yet dusk, and even as they gazed up the expanse 
of the river they could distinguish a long electric 
launch making its way to the sea, and carrying with 
it the man they both loved, beyond hope, beyond re- 
demption, beyond everything that made life worth 

Mr. Narkom sucked in his breath helplessly, then 
switched round on his heel. 

"The police launch, quick! Follow me, Miss 
Lome. You stay here, Lennard, with the car. You 
may be needed. Come!" The Superintendent 
panted off, and a few minutes later he was telling as 
much as was necessary to the head of the River Police. 

In the swiftest launch obtainable they took their 
places. There was a whirr, a shaking of the whole 
boat, then it swept out, on the race against time, as 
though it were a living thing, cognizant of the reason 
for its mad haste. 


Mr. Narkom sat with clenched hands, breathing 
with great effort, until they again saw the trail of the 
escaping boat, when he gave a little shout. 

" Faster, man ! Faster ! Don't let it escape ! For 
God's sake overtake it!" 

And overtake it they did. Heading the launch 
round so as to get directly in the way of the boat, the 
police officers hailed it, bidding it stop, in the name of 
the law. But there came no slackening of speed. 
The hunted boat was simply swerved aside, and sped 
on its course apparently undaunted. 

"No use, Mr. Narkom, sir," said the police officer 
in charge. " There's only one thing — wireless. Stop 
her at the mouth of the Thames." 

Darting down into a cabin, he closed the door, and 
a few minutes later Mr. Narkom knew that the chase 
was practically over. The launch would be over- 
hauled by the police boats at the mouth of the 

Summoning as much patience as it was possible, 
Mr. Narkom prepared for the wait, with Miss Lome 
at his side. 

The launch was still in sight when they came up at 
Gravesend, and from both sides of the shore there 
came a little fleet of boats. Seeing that escape was 
impossible, the boat slackened her speed, then came 
to a dead stop and Mr. Narkom, with the officer, 
made his way on board. 

To his keen delight, he was greeted by Count Irma 
himself, who was highly indignant and demanded ex- 


planations for the chase and the outrage of 

To Mr. Narkom's supreme dismay, a systematic 
search revealed not the slightest trace of the two they 
sought. From deck to cabin, from end to end, every 
corner of the boat was subjected to closest scrutiny, 
but in vain; there was no sign of Cleck or of Dollops, 
nor was there any suspicious sight or sound. Indeed, 
it began to look as if they had been led on a wild-goose 
chase. The Count, who accompanied them, his dark 
face now darker still with anger, looked triumphant 
as they once more entered the gloomy little cabin, 
while the perspiration stood out in great beads on Mr. 
Narkom's forehead. Ailsa Lome's face was tense 
with disappointment as they turned to go up once 
more to the deck. 

His eyes gleaming, Count Irma raised a lantern, and 
proceeded to show his unwelcome guests up the 
companion-way. As its light flashed round, it lit on 
a familiar object, the very sight of which sent the 
blood coursing back to Ailsa's heart, and caused 
her fingers to grip feverishly on Mr. Narkom's 

The sight was no less than Dollops's precious 
telescope. With superhuman self-control she suc- 
ceeded in drawing the attention of the Superintendent 
to it, at the same time motioning him to be silent. 
The effect on Mr. Narkom was instantaneous. He 
stopped short, and sucked in his breath, for he, too, 
realized what its presence meant. But it took all his 


caution to prevent him crying aloud in his relief and 

As it was, he strode up the narrow steps with 
jaunty mien, and rejoining the River Police on deck, 
delivered his ultimatum to the Count, who awaited 
him impatiently. 

" Well, Count, we've made our search," he said in 
imperturbable tones, "and everything is quite all 
right. Still, my orders are very strict, and since you 
are merely in a hurry to catch up with the packet 
boat, you will have no objection, I feel assured, to 
taking our police launch, which is able, as you are now 
aware, to go even faster than this. I will return in 
this one to London Bridge/' 

Count Irma's face grew livid with rage, and he 
resented this fresh proposal with all the language at 
his command. 

But Mr. Narkom remained obdurate. The launch 
and its owner were subject to the commands of the 
English law. His own boat was at the Count's com- 
mand; a hasty signal from one of the officers brought 
the launch alongside again. 

The Count was evidently nonplussed, to say the 
least of it, but seeing no chance of escape, he finally 
accompanied the River Police into their launch, leav- 
ing the beaming Superintendent and Ailsa Lome to 
make the return journey alone. 

The other boat had been barely set in motion when 
Mr. Narkom turned and plunged down the stairs 
again. Once more with Ailsa they made a detour of 


the boat, calling aloud the names of both Dollops and 
Cleek. It was Ailsa again who came to the rescue. 
Pulling aside a tarpaulin thrown carelessly down at 
the extreme end of the boat, she saw a series of newly 
drilled holes, and it did not need the sight of the 
boards, barely joined together, to tell her what they 

She gave a little cry which brought Mr. Narkom to 
her side at one swift jump, and the two proceeded to 
tear up the boards. A few seconds, and the fast-fad- 
iug light in the summer sky revealed the bound and 
gagged figures of the two they had sought so ar- 

The journey back was one in which very little was 
spoken, after the few words of praise for Dollops, 
whose quick-wittedness and apparent defection had 
been so successful. 

"I reckon we're quits, you young monkey ," said 
Cleek, stretching out a hand to his young henchman. 

"Not in this life, Guv'nor, Gawd bless yer for all 
yer've done for me," was the fervent reply, and, at the 
pressure of Cleek's hand on his, he grew very, very 

It was quite dark when they disembarked at Lon- 
don Bridge, and having seen the launch in the care of 
the River Police, made their way to the limousine, 
w T here Lennard waited. He gave a little whoop of 
delight as his eyes fell on Cleek and Dollops. 

But it was not until after Cleek had seen Ailsa safe 
at an hotel, and he himself was on his way with Mr. 


Narkom to the riverside cottage that he referred to 
the subject which lay uppermost in their minds. 

Then with a curious smile looping up one side of his 
face, he said quietly : 

"This is but the first throw of the dice, old friend. 
Do not mistake. I am at the Yard's service now and 
henceforth, but our journeyings together will be 
accompanied by the hate of Irma, as well as the 
vengeance of Margot. This is but the beginning; the 
end, who shall say?" 

A silent grip of the hand was all that Mr. Narkom 
gave in answer, for he, too, was alive to the danger 
which must now dog their footsteps. He did not rest 
content, therefore, until he had seen Cleek and Dol- 
lops safe in the cottage which served them for a tem- 
porary home. Then he returned to town through the 
soft coolness of the summer night, but though Cleek 
was once more within the reach of the protecting 
arm of the law, the Superintendent's heart was heavy 
within him. 


A FTER due reflection over the question of dis- 

iJk guise, Cleek determined for the present to 
^ ^ revive that of Lieutenant Deland, and it was 
as that smart young officer that he once more took up 
his quarters in Clarges Street, in a house not very far 
from that which had been wrecked by Margot and her 
gang of Apaches. That they, too, were on his trade 
was ascertained by Dollops, who traced them down to 
their lairs of Soho like a bloodhound scenting his 

Despite the danger which surrounded him, Cleek 
insisted on having the rest of their riverside holiday 
with Ailsa Lome and Mrs. Hawkesley, who had re- 
turned from India on a short visit, in the interests of 
her little son, Lord Chepstow. Mrs. Hawkesley had 
been spending her summer on a houseboat with 
Ailsa Lome, that friend who by enlisting the aid of 
Cleek had saved her son's life and given her her newly 
found married happiness by the sale of the sacred 

Dollops then was the happiest of mortals when, 
having polished and repolished his beloved telescope, 
on their return from the riverside retreat, he was given 
the morning to polishing the mirrors in the great 



dining-room of Clarges Street. Now, if there was one 
thing he loved more than another, it was a liberal use 
3f "elbow grease," next, of course, to that ever- 
present delight of satisfying his appetite, and it was 
with much relish that he set out to undertake the 
task. So it may be readily understood that his sen- 
sations were not those of unmixed delight when, just 
is he had got the mirrors thoroughly moist, an im- 
perative postman's knock brought him to earth, 
literally as well as metaphorically. Tumbling down 
the high wooden step ladder, he flew to answer the 

"Orl right, orl right!" he ejaculated, as a still more 
riolent assault took place. "I'm not a blooming 
caterpillar; only got two legs, you know, like the rest 

"Bit of a hurry — I don't think," answered the 
postman sarcastically, as he handed in a brown card- 
board box similar to those sent out by most florists, 
wid marked with all the usual precautionary labels. 

"Don't let the lieutenant's buttonhole fade before 
you take it to him, will you? " And with this parting 
ihot the man departed, leaving Dollops for once too 
busy reading the half-obliterated stamp to give full 
rein to his usual gift of repartee. 

"Lor' lumme!" he soliloquized, as he ascended the 
staircase, three steps at a time, and rapped at the 
study door. "Another flower from Miss Ailsa, bless 
er! An' won't 'e just jump at it ! " 

And jump at it Cleek did. He was writing his 


usual morning letter to her, but at sight of Dollops's 
smiling countenance his face lit up, and he fairly 
snatched the box from him in his hurry. 

JMeanwhile Dollops, with commendable tact, 
turned to flick away a particle of imaginary dust on 
one of the picture frames, and smiled knowingly. 

But only for a moment. Came suddenly the 
sound of a cry, half curse, half snarl, which sent the 
lad spinning round like a top, and the sight of Cleek's 
distorted face froze his very marrow. 

"Gawd's truf, guv'nor, but what is it?" he gulped 
breathlessly, running over to his master and peering 
anxiously down into the agonized face. 

The beads of perspiration stood out upon Cleek's 
forehead, his fists clenched at his sides. 

"The devils! The infernal devils !" he cried 
fiercely, shaken out of himself by the awfulness of the 
thing that lay before him. "By Heaven! but they 
shall suffer for this! Ailsa, my dear, my dear!" 

He lifted the little cardboard box from the table, 
and held it toward Dollops with a look of almost 
petrified agony. The boy gave vent to a hysterical 
scream, for, even as he looked, he saw that it con- 
tained a finger — a woman's finger — slender and ex- 
quisite, encircled with the Maurevanian ring which 
Cleek had replaced upon Ailsa Lome's hand such a 
few short months ago at the Embassy. The box was 
lined and padded with snowy cotton wool, a fit rest- 
ing place for so precious though grim a treasure. 

"Miss Lome ! " he gulped, passing a hand across his 


yes in terrified amazement. "O, Lor' lumme, sir, 
lon't go to say it's 9 er ! Oh, don't say it, guv'nor, for 
jrawd's sake, don't!" He snatched up the piece of 
Tested paper which had fallen from it, and scanned it 
ragerly, feeling at such a time as this that he was one 
arith his master. It bore these words: "With Count 
[rma's compliments. Miss Lome releases the King 
f rom his engagement, and he will do well to take up 
lis duties immediately, lest worse befall her." 

A chalky pallor overspread Cleek's face. His eyes 
aarrowed. "Never!" he rapped out furiously, hit- 
ting his hands together and breathing hard, like a 
spent runner. "From this day I live to avenge my- 
self! Dollops, the 'phone, quick ! Ring up Mr. Nar- 
kom, and get him to speak to me. Quick as you can, 
for God's sake!" 

It was barely half an hour later when the limou- 
sine, travelling at a mile-a-minute clip that sent the 
police of the neighbourhood blinking and winking like 
a cat in the sun, dashed up Clarges Street, and drew 
up before the particular house in that particular row 
that was owned and lived in by Lieutenant Deland. 
A somewhat perturbed and crimson -countenanced 
Superintendent sprang out upon the pavement, 
flinging a few hurried words over his shoulder to 

"Leave both doors open, Lennard," he said 
hastily, grudging the time it took to give instruc- 
tions. "Don't know which side he'll come in, but 
don't take any notice. I'm doubtful these days. 


Then make for the Thames cottage, and drive like 
the wind. Miss Ailsa is in danger/ 9 

Lennard gasped, and then nodded. 

"Leave it to me, sir." 

Then Mr. Narkom sprang up the stone steps, to 
find Lieutenant Deland waiting for him, and Cleek's 
agonized eyes looking out of the frame of his face. 

He made no effort to speak, merely beckoned the 
Superintendent and disappeared, and a second later 
appeared again, and followed Mr. Narkom down 
the steps to the limousine, handing him the little 
cardboard box, with its horrible treasure, as he 
entered the car. 

The Superintendent opened it, then groaned aloud. 

"Curse them!" he broke forth excitedly, as the car 
leaped forward and went thundering off into the dis- 
tance ahead. "I'll hang 'em, every one, if my life 
goes for it. The beasts! The devils!" His voice 
broke, and trailed off into silence; he put a hand 
out, and touched upon the shoulder the crouching 
figure in the corner. But Cleek never stirred, 
never moved, merely sat there with bowed head, 
while both hands covered his face, and his shoulders 
drawn up like a whipped thing. 

Then the Superintendent leaned forward, and picked 
up the speaking-tube. 

"Streak it," he instructed Lennard; and "streak 
it " Lennard did, for the car went scudding through 
the traffic at as mad a pace as the law would dare to 
wink at. 


Soon they were passing down a narrow hawthorn- 
hedged lane, field-edged with waving grasses that 
swayed idly to and fro, and, half way down this, 
came in sight of another car, standing empty and 
disabled. The feet of the chauffeur showed gro- 
tesquely from beneath it, and the sound of hammer- 
ing punctured the silence that lay about them. 

Lennard flashed a look of mute apology over his 
shoulder, as he was perforce obliged to slow down; 
and Mr. Narkom, feverish with anxiety, unlatched 
the door, and stood ready to descend. It was im- 
possible to pass the disabled car, unless it were 
pushed right into the hedge. 

"Curse the thing !" muttered Mr. Narkom, 
furious at the unnecessary delay. "Just one minute, 
my dear chap, and 111 settle it." He did not wait 
for Cleek to answer, but jumped from the limousine, 
and went stamping off in the direction of the other car. 

Finally, in answer to Lennard's angry demands, 
the chauffeur decided to come out, and out, too, 
came something else, for with a paralyzing sudden- 
ness, breaking on the calm of the summer morning, 
shots rang out from behind the flowering hedges, 
burying themselves in the limousine's front tire 
with remarkably good aim. ' And before so much 
as a word of warning could be uttered, the car itself 
was surrounded by a crowd of dark, swarthy men, 
muttering and talking among themselves in some 
strange, outlandish language which Mr. Narkom 
rightly assumed to be the Maurevanian native tongue. 


Hearing this, he spun upon his heel, and with a 
great fear in his heart went pelting back to the 
limousine, and thrust his head inside the open win- 

"Cleek," he said swiftly, with a little tremor in 
his tones. "Save yourself, for God's sake!" 

But too late. For even as he spoke a couple of 
men bore down upon him, seized him ruthlessly 
about his ample waist line, and slung ropes around 
him, binding him close. 

He cursed, he spluttered, he fought bravely and 
well, hitting out with his fists as they swarmed about 
him. But the numbers were too unequal. He 
succumbed, and even as he fell his eyes saw Len- 
nard bound and gagged also, and his heart went 
out to Cleek in an agony of misgiving. 

Yes, there he was! Cleek! Cleek, his pal, his 
friend, the person he loved best in all the world. 
They had thrown a cloth over his head, and were 
bearing him toward the other car, which, for some 
reason, seemed now to be in •perfect working order. 
The whole miserable plot lay bared before the 
Superintendent's eyes. He twisted over on his 
side, and choked uncomfortably. There were tears 
in his eyes, so that he could barely distinguish the 
figures that kept passing to and fro in front of 

At last they were all gone, babbling and laughing 
triumphantly as the car sped off in the direction of 


"God!" cried the Superintendent mentally, in a 
very anguish of soul. "Take care of him! Take 
care of Cleek, for if he is hurt, I swear he shall be 

The purr of the car dropped off into the distance, 
and a silence followed. The sun was scorchingly 
hot; the Superintendent's forehead streamed with 
perspiration; every second seemed an hour. Then, 
as if from some spot quite near him, came a sound 
that nearly caused his heart to stop beating. It was 
impossible! Incredible! Just the murmur of a 
soft laugh, and before he could so much as lurch his 
heavy weight over in the direction from which it 
had come, Cleek, Cleek himself, by the powers! 
stepped out from the limousine, and came toward 
him, smiling. 

"Well played, well played!" said he softly, as he 
whipped out a pocket-knife, and cut the Super- 
intendent's bonds. "It was a close enough shave, 
though! I suspected as much. It was a shame to 
give you such a bad quarter of an hour, dear friend, 
but there was no other way." 

" Cleek, you're safe! Oh, thank God, thank God ! " 

The Superintendent's voice broke and was silent; 
he staggered to his feet, and clutched Geek's hand as 
a drowning man might clutch at a floating spar; his 
heart was in his eyes. He drew a shaking hand 
across them. 

"Come," said he, "let's get Lennard free, too. 
It's too hot a day to enjoy such close captivity. 


Then we must get on as quickly as possible. There's 
none hurt, thank fortune!" 

"No, none hurt, as you say, and that's some- 
thing to be thankful for, in all conscience/' said 
Cleek, as having freed Lennard, he drew Narkom's 
hand in his arm and walked over to the limousine. 
" But I think I've done for 'em this time, anyway. 
They were as much taken in with Master Dollops 
as you were. But the boy's safe enough. Hell 
take care of himself. When those devils find oat 
who it is, they'll start hot-foot on my trail again, 
and run straight into Hammond and Petrie and a 
posse of others. I rang up the Yard, dear friend, 
after I had rung up you. I suspected a trick, and 
I knew the kind I was dealing with. But it was 
warm under that seat, I can tell you ! What's that, 
Lennard? Got the tires on already? Bully boy! 
Bully boy!" He sprang into the limousine, fol- 
lowed by a puffing, breathless, somewhat incoherent 
Mr. Narkom. Then, with a bound like a mad thing, 
the car plunged forward, and proceeded upon its 
journey without further mishap. 

But there was no sign of Ailsa Lome when they 
reached the cottage, and Cleek's heart sank within 
him when Mrs. Condiment related how her young 
mistress had gone off "in a grand motor, with a 
splendid gentleman, with medals all over him, sir, 
just like my friend, the sergeant." 

"Count Irma himself!" rapped out Cleek in 
answer to this. "He's tricked her somehow. I 


might .have guessed they would hit at me through 
her." He turned on his heel, and crossed over to 
the latticed window, looking out with anguished 
eyes. A minute passed in silence, then a tapping 
sound attracted his attention. There was a pigeon 
outside the casement window. He threw open the 
window with a cry of delight. 

4 * It's a message, a message from her dear self!" 
he cried, as he pounced upon the bird and whipped 
a tiny fold of paper tied with yellow silk from its 
leg. "It's from Ailsa, Mr. Narkom, from Ailsa! 
Listen!" The words "imprisoned — Sir Lionel Cal- 
mount — safe," he read; then looked up into the 
Superintendent's face with thankful eyes. 

But the Superintendent was not so grateful. 
"Yes, but where is that?" he bleated despairingly, 
scanning the paper eagerly. 

"Wait!" rapped out Cleek. "Calmount, Cal- 
mount, " he gave a little yap of pleasure, like a terrier 
that has just seen a rat — "Calmount! Lionel 
Calmount, Irma's English chum! I've heard of 
him often; one of the old school — noblesse oblige, 
and all that sort of thing. And as for letting a 
poor devil of a monarch marry anything but a 
princess of the Royal blood — oh, dear, no! Yes, 
our friend Count Irma knew his man when he sought 
Calmount's help. But we'll be even with the lot 
yet. He's got a place in Hampshire, Calmount 
Castle, I think; that will be it, or else the pigeon 
couldn't have done the journey." He rushed over 


to the bookcase. "Here's a road map. Come, let's 
see! I don't doubt that Lennard will do it all 

And Lennard did "do it," for in a few minutes 
the limousine was once more upon its way, with 
Cleek and Mr. Narkom seated inside it, and the 
road map in Cleek's hands. Now and again he 
gave hasty instructions to Lennard through the 
tube, watching with eager eyes how the distances 
fell away. 

The Superintendent laid a hand upon his arm. 
"I say, dear chap," said he doubtfully, "but isn't 
it a bit risky putting your head into the lion's mouth 
like this, eh?" 

"I'd risk fifty lives for her dear sake!" snapped 
out Cleek sharply, his eyes upon the fleeting vista 
of fields that swept by the window, "but it's all 
right, Mr. Narkom. Down with the blinds, and 
switch on the electrics, and we'll see what Lieutenant 
Arthur Deland from the Embassy can do with the 
matter. That'll be best, I think." 

Mr. Narkom thought so, too, and said so. For 
the next half hour the two men worked feverishly, 
and so it was that Lieutenant Arthur Deland stepped 
out upon the stage, and found himself playing as 
strange a part in the drama of existence as had ever 
fallen to his lot. 


IT WAS exactly five o'clock in the afternoon, and 
the sun was beginning to think of retiring from 
business, when a dusty, travel-stained limousine 
drew up at the lodge gates of Calmount Castle like 
a snorting, puffing horse, and demanded entrance. 

"Who are you and what do you want?" demanded 
the shambling old gatekeeper, -in a cracked voice. 

"We want Sir Lionel Calmount," threw in Mr. 
Narkom excitedly. "Open the gates, my good 
fellow, as quickly as you can. The matter is urgent, 
cannot be delayed. 9 ' 

But the "good fellow" was in no great hurry to 
accede to this demand. He hemmed and hawed for 
some moments, scratching his thatch of white 
hair with a horny hand, so that Cleek felt, in the 
unnecessary delay, a strong desire to leap out and 
shake the sense into him. But at sight of the flash 
of gold in Mr. Narkom's palm his actions quickened. 
The transferring of that same gold piece to his hand 
caused immediate obedience, and the limousine was 
soon gliding comfortably up the long drive toward 
Calmount Castle, and the fulfilment of at least one 
part of the quest that had brought them here. 

The great front door stood wide open, and in the 



frame of it was a tall, erect, white-haired gentleman 
staring downatthemblankly from beneath shaggy eye- 
brows. Cleek stepped forward, and removed his hat. 

"Sir Lionel Calmount?" he said politely. "We 
come on account of Maurevania. Will you give us 
a hearing? 9 ' He thrust out the Maurevanian ring, 
and at sight of it the old man changed colour. 

"If you have much to say," said he, leading the 
way to a small drawing-room at the rear of the 
building. "What do you want with me, sir? And 
what is the business you have come upon?" 

"I want the release of your prisoner, Miss Ailsa 
Lome," rapped out Cleek sharply, meeting the 
keen eyes with his own. "She is under the pro- 
tection of the British Government, and Scotland 
Yard has come to take possession of her and bring 
her safely back home." 

Sir Lionel clicked his teeth together. 

"Impossible! Miss Lome is . . . well, to 
speak perfectly plainly, she is not in possession of 
her senses, sir. She is mad." 

"Mad! Not unless you have driven her insane 
with your atrocities. For God's sake, let us see her, 
lest I do you an unjust injury, Sir Lionel. I beg of 
you to take me to her at once ! " 

Theold man switched round and looked athim keenly. 

"Who are you, that you ask this of me?" 

"Deland, Lieutenant Deland," Cleek made answer, 
"and responsible for the safety of the lady you have 
so foully injured!" 


Sir Lionel's ruddy face went dough white; he shut 
his hands together and breathed hard. "Injured?" 
he bleated incredulously. "Injured, my dear sir? 
I have done Miss Lome no personal injury, I assure 
you. She has greatly endeared herself to my wife 
and to me by her gentleness of disposition, and we 
feel only a great grief at the terrible thing that has 
deprived her of her mind. But as for any personal 
injury; you speak in riddles." 

Mr. Narkom looked at Cleek; Cleek looked at Mr. 
Narkom. The old man's words rang true. There 
was a great light shining in Cleek's eyes. 

"If you will come this way," went on Sir Lionel, 
and the two men followed him silently through a 
long hallway, into what was probably the music 
room, for at one end of it stood an organ and at the 
other a piano. Seated before it, playing softly to 
herself, was Ailsa, with her dear hand unblemished, 
but bare of the ring that Cleek had first put upon 
her finger many months before. She looked up, 
and seeing Cleek dressed as she had seen him so 
often, rose to her feet and came running toward 

"Lieutenant Deland!" she cried, putting out her 
hands impulsively, "this is indeed a surprise. So 
vou discovered me, and come to take me back home 
again? Why, and you, too, Mr. Narkom? Ah, 
but this is too good to be true!" 

With a little ejaculation of relief Cleek caught the 
small hands in his. 


Mr. Narkom drew the attention of Sir Lionel, 
and tactfully contrived to leave the two together. 

"Count Irma came for me," whispered Ailsa, 
under cover of the conversation. "He told me you 
had sent for me to come to the Embassy, and I 
was to send on your ring as a sign that I was well; 
an officer in another car took my message to you 
while I packed. Luckily they never noticed my 
new leather-covered travelling basket for the pigeons 
that you gave me. Dear things! They did not 
know of what invaluable use they were to prove, 
otherwise they would have taken it from me. But 
I smuggled it into the back of the car, and contrived 
to get it out when no (one was looking. Then I was 
driven straight here, and Sir Lionel and his wife 
were told I was mad! Mad, mind you!" 

Cleek pressed her hands in his, too thankful at 
her escape to care aught for his own danger. 

"Come, let us get away," he said. And Narkom 
turned at the same time. "I must get back to 
London, Sir Lionel. I think I have convinced you 
that you have been fooled and deceived. How 
serious the consequences might have been I need 
scarcely say. But if Count Irma returns " 

"He will be refused admittance," said Sir Lionel 
sternly. "I am not to be made a catspaw, as he 
will see. You and your friend are as safe here as 
in the King's palace itself. It is late. I beg you 
to stay, if only for the night." 

Narkom looked at his ally dubiously, but Cleek 


was gazing in turn at Ailsa, and it seemed to him 
els if her eyes signalled "Yes." And accordingly, 
some five minutes later, the dazed but delighted 
Lennard was being led off for a welcome meal and 
rest, while a party of five were soon seated round 
the dining table, Cleek laughing as happily as if 
Maurevania and all its troubles were at the bottom 
of the sea, now that he knew Ailsa was safe, and 
that the whole thing was but a malicious plot to 
entrap him. 

An onlooker would have deemed it the most 
commonplace of country dinners, for it was not until 
dessert was reached that anything untoward oc- 

Just as the door opened to admit the butler with 
this course, the house rang from end to end with 
the sound of laughter, harsh, malicious, utterly 
mad. Lady Calmount looked at her husband with 
blanched cheeks. Then she sprang to her feet; 
she was shaking as if with the ague. 

"Lionel, Lionel, that dreadful laughter again !" 
she cried hysterically, forgetting all else but her 
terror, her unutterable fear. "Oh, my boy, my 
boy! God help us all! What is to be done?" 

Sir Lionel laid a steadying hand upon her arm. 
His own face was pale, but he remembered the pres- 
ence of strangers, and sought to calm her. 

"Hush, hush, my dear!" he said persuasively, 
pressing her back. "It is some servant, some trick. 
You must not pay any attention to it. What's 


that, Miss Lome? Smelling salts? Oh, thank you 
very much. That will be best. There, there!" 
He smoothed Lady Calmount's pale cheeks with a 
tender hand, his own face as white as hers. 

Ailsa looked up at Cleek. Then she nodded her 

"Tell him, dear Lady Calmount, tell the 
lieutenant. He can help you, if any one can/' 
she said softly in her low, sweet voice. "What is 
the meaning of that awful laughter? I heard it 
last night, and I really thought you had a mad 
person under your roof. So if there is anything 
to tell. . . ." 

"Oh, there is, there is!" broke in Lady Calmount 
despairingly. "You tell them, Lionel; I can't. 
I can only think of my boy's danger; he is coming 
to his death, I know he is, and it is too late to stop 
him! Oh, it is cruel, cruel! What shall I do? 
What shall I do?" 

There was a pregnant silence; then, with a look 
of mute pity at his wife, Sir Lionel cleared his throat. 

"This must be all inexplicable to you, Lieutenant 
Deland," he began haltingly, wiping his face with a 
silk handkerchief, "but I will try to explain. We 
are in very great trouble. Within the year both my 
younger sons have been killed, I might say murdered, 
in some mysterious, diabolical manner by some 
agent that works by supernatural powers; there is 
no other possible explanation. They have been 
done to death, though showing no sign of wound 


or poison, just as that laughing gypsy swore that the 
sons of our house should die, when she cursed them 
root and branch." 

"Hallo! Hallo! what's that?" said Cleek, sitting 
up sharply, and dropping his table napkin. "A 
gypsy's curse and the sons of the family dying mys- 
teriously ! That's melodramatic, surely ! ' ' 

"God help us! It is indeed," said Sir Lionel. 
" There is only my eldest son left now. He has been 
abroad, or else Heaven knows but what he, too, 
might now be lying with his ill-fated brothers. It 
is all so inexplicable, and yet so appallingly true I 
You can understand how I dread to see Edward 
enter the castle gates." 

Cleek pulled down his brows and pinched up his 

"Hum-m-m! I can quite believe it," said he. 
"But what has the curse to do with that sound we 
have just heard? For I presume that you have no 
insane inmate. " 

"No, no! That is the forerunner of death — 
her gypsy ladyship's laughter. I will try to explain. 
As you, perhaps, know, we are a very old family, 
one of the first to bear arms with King Richard the 
Lion-hearted in the Holy War, and we have been 
settled here in this castle more generations than I 
can count upon my fingers. Our menfolk have 
always married women of their own class." 

"Noblesse oblige" murmured Cleek, with 9, whim- 
sical smile, as he met Mr. Narkom's eye. 


"Exactly," murmured Sir Lionel approvingly. 
"All except one. Sir Humphry Calmount, in 
seventeen-sixty-something, made a second marriage, 
and mated with a beautiful gypsy girl. It was 
believed that she was of Spanish descent, but, as a 
matter of fact, she was one of a travelling band of 
gypsies who settled on the waste lands just outside 
the castle gates. Well, to cut a long story short, 
Humphry Calmount fell in love with her and married 
her. For a time all went well. Her portrait was 
painted by " 

"Sir Peter Lely," interposed Cleek. "Of course, 
of course! I remember now. 'The Laughing Girl* 
was the title he gave it. I saw a print of it only a 
short time ago/' 

"Yes," said Sir Lionel, with a shudder. "Her 
laughter rang incessantly through the old walls, 
and he got to hate it, just as we do. to this day. Well, 
one day, in a fit of rage, he struck her, and I believe 
a fearful scene followed. It ended in the lady pull- 
ing out a dagger and stabbing herself. Just before 
she died she cursed the house up and down and ended 
by declaring that whenever her laughter rang through 
the castle some disaster should befall one of its 

"Hum-m-m!" said Cleek, "am I right in presum- 
ing that at different times a wild death, that is to 
say, a sudden death, has occurred, Sir Lionel?" 

"At least once in every generation." 

"But a coincidence, surely," threw in Ailsa, her 


eyes on Cleek's face. "I cannot believe that a dying 
woman's utterance could have any effect, after all 
these hundreds of years. Can you, Lieutenant?" 

"That's what Wentworth says," moaned Lady 
Calmount, wiping her eyes with a wisp of real lace, 
gossamer as a fairy's cobweb. "He is my nephew, 
you know, Lieutenant Deland, and our heir, after 
Edward, to the family estates. He has had trouble, 
poor fellow, and is staying with us for the present, 
until his plans are more settled." 

Cleek's mouth grew grim. Yes, he had heard of 
the "poor fellow's" trouble. It had something to 
do with card playing, with a prompt resignation 
from the army following shortly after. 

"Tell me," said he quietly, addressing Sir Lionel, 
who was watching him with great intentness,"was 
he here when your two sons died? I do not wish 
to probe into family affairs, but only, if you will 
permit me, to help you to unravel this strange affair. 
And a few facts are necessary. Was Captain Cal- 
mount here with you at that time?" 

Sir Lionel bowed his head. 

"He was. But why do you ask? He was our 
great prop and comfort." 

"You called in the police, of course?" said Cleek, 
apparently ignoring the last sentence. 

"Well, no," admitted Sir Lionel, turning scarlet. 
"The fact is, as Wentworth said, neither of the lads 
was over-strong, and Dr. Marsh had advised them to 
be kept quiet; for that reason they were allowed the 


run of the house, and spent a great deal of their time 
in the picture gallery.'* 

Cleek lifted his chin. His face wore a curious 

"Tell me," said he, "did they er — meet their 
death in the picture gallery — at the same time? " 

"Within six months of each other. Harold 
fretted terribly, and he must have had a fatal attack 
of heart failure, for his heart was naturally weak; he 
probably just managed to crawl to the picture when 
death overtook him. Dr. Marsh was very good to us, 
and Wentworth did what we all considered to be for 
the best. I see you are suspecting my nephew of 
having some connection with that foul deed. I tell 
you it is impossible. He cared more for those two 
younger lads than Edward himself; indeed, that is 
what they quarrelled about." He stopped short, as 
if regretting having spoken. 

"What's that? They quarrelled? What about?" 
Cleek demanded imperatively. 

"Wentworth never did get on with Edward, from 
boyhood upward," put in Lady Calmount. " But he 
did care for my poor darlings, and in his brusque way 
he blamed Edward for going abroad on a pleasure 
trip, the very one, in fact, from which he is now re- 
turning. If anything happens to him " She 

stopped abruptly, and let the rest of the sentence go 
by default. 

But Cleek got to his feet, and rubbed his hands to- 
gether, smiling a little. "I should like to have a look 


at Her Laughing Ladyship, if it's not too late and 
it wouldn't trouble you too much, Sir Lionel," he 

"Certainly, certainly," replied Sir Lionel, and 
promptly led the way into a long, comparatively 
narrow gallery, in the middle of which, in fact, right 
opposite to the door, was a picture, roped off from too 
dose inspection by a dark red, silken rope. 

Sir Lionel held up a candle, and proceeded quickly 
to light others. 

"So that's her Laughing Ladyship, is it?" said 
Cleek, gazing curiously up at the brilliant Spanish 
beauty smiling down into his eyes. 

" You beauty, you ! " he apostrophized her. " Have 
you lured those boys to their death, or is it a trap?" 
His eyes wandered first to Sir Lionel, if ho appeared 
to be watching him almost too eagerly, then around 
the gallery . Then he turned : 

"Nothing to be learned here to-night, Sir Lionel. 
So it's no use wasting any more time. I don't mind 
having another look round in the daylight. Ton my 
word I don't wonder you get superstitious up here. 
Let's get down into the light again. I feel quite 

"I very rarely come here myself," said Sir Lionel, 
with a bitter laugh. "The place has hateful mem- 


He stopped suddenly and shook his head. Then, 
snuffing the candles about the spot, turned on his heel 
and led the way downstairs once more. 


As they passed the music-room door, there came 
the rich strains of the organ playing the grand choral, 
" Now Praise We All Our God," so that the house was 
filled with the sound. 

Cleek paused and lifted his head. "A grand 
thing," he said softly, "a great and grand thing; and 
the man who can play like that is fit for the angels 

"And that is as true a thing as was ever spoken/' 
put in the baronet, with a sigh of genuine delight. " It 
is Gaston Calmount, a distant cousin, who lives with 
us. Poor lad, he is humpbacked, but he is as dear to 
us as a son." 

"Another prop, eh?" 

But Sir Lionel did not hear. He had opened the 
door, and now, coming toward them from the organ, 
was the figure of the hunchback, with a face that was 
as beautiful as the angels he emulated. 

"Uncle Lai!" he murmured tenderly, his soft- 
toned voice shaking with emotion, "I heard the 
laughter; I heard, I tell you. Surely now you will 
take action? You will not let our own Edward be 
murdered by that devil incarnate! You will not, 
you will not!" 

"Hush, hush, Gaston," struck in Sir Lionel 
hurriedly. Then, as the boy drew back, ashamed of 
his outburst, and sent a startled look up into Cleek's 
face, he explained : " These gentlemen are detectives, 
Gaston. This is Lieutenant Deland, and he is going 
to try to protect our lad. ! 



" The police! Oh, thank God!" The boy— for he 
looked but little more, although he must have reached 
manhood some time before — fairly flung himself at 
Cleek, and laid a trembling hand upon his arm. 
"Oh, save us, Lieutenant! Save us!" he cried 
despairingly, "before he kills us all. It is Went- 
worth's hand that has done the dastardly deed. It is 
his wicked desire to become master here that is at 
the root of it. He has hushed up the first two, but, 
mark my words, Edward will be killed in some way or 
other. It is not for nothing that he has been poring 
over the medical books in the library. Oh, yes, I 
know; I watched. I may have done wrong, but 
Edward is as dear to me as though he were my own 
brother, and if anything happens to him " 

Cleek gave vent to a low whistle of surprise. 
"Medical books, eh? Queer literature that for an 
officer, Sir Lionel!" 

"I've heard of queerer," broke in Sir Lionel 
fiercely, with a sudden display of temper. "I can't 
believe it, and I won't. It is one of Gaston's foolish 
notions, simply because he hates Wentworth. That 
is all it is." 

"Steady, steady," said Cleek softly, with a quick 
smile. " Circumstantial evidence isn't the best rod 
to lean on, though I'm inclined to think you're right. 
Anyhow, we're all safe for to-night, and, to tell you the 
truth, Sir Lionel, I'm getting deuced tired. I . . . 
I ..." he turned suddenly, sniffed the air, then 
gave vent to a tremendous sneeze. "There's a 


draught somewhere. I think, if you would make my 
adieux to the ladies, I would like to retire." 

"Certainly, certainly/' The baronet hurried off, 
as if glad to escape from further parley with so curious 
an individual. And, left to himself, Cleek turned to 
the bowed figure of the hunchback, and laid a hand 
upon his shoulder. 

" My dear young sir," said he briskly, " why didn't 
you wait till you got me alone before breaking out 
like that? So you want Mr. Edward to escape death, 
do you?" 

The other looked up. 

" Then you believe it, too," he said abruptly, not 
answering the question. 

" Don't see a shadow of doubt," responded Cleek. 
" You leave it to me." 

Then, turning upon his heel, he yawned wearily, 
wished the boy a sleepy "Good-night," and followed 
Mr. Narkom up the broad staircase to their allotted 


G LEEK'S desire to see Captain Wentworth Cal- 
mount was speedily granted, for they met at 
the breakfast table next morning. Cleek 
guessed instinctively that the captain was inwardly 
very wroth at the turn of events. He laughed rudely 
when his aunt timidly volunteered the information 
that Lieutenant Deland had offered to unravel the 

"There's nothing to discover," he declared, in a 
loud, grating voice. "One of the servants must have 
played a trick on you while I was out last night." He 
glared at the Superintendent. "They know all your 
superstitious ways, Aunt Helena, from A to Z, and 
most likely have taken advantage of that fact; still, if 
it pleases you to tell every one your family history, it's 
nothing to me." 

"Pleases, Wentworth! How dare you say such a 
thing!" ejaculated Sir Lionel angrily, glaring at him 
in amazement. "I think you forget yourself, sir, 
when you address your aunt like that. Lieutenant, 
at down." 

The meal proceeded forthwith, and Cleek, in the 
presence of Ailsa, found himself making a big break- 
fast Afterward he announced his intention of 



thoroughly examining the picture gallery by day- 
light. The whole party filed up to it, talking and 
chattering as they entered the gallery. Here the sun 
shone with full brilliance, and as Cleek stood with the 
handle of the door still beneath his fingers, a shaft of 
sunlight glinted upon the face of "The Laughing 
Girl." Then, his shoulders hunched, he gripped the 
knob firmly, and his mouth set into a thin, hard line. 

"Idiot!" he ejaculated forcibly, "blithering idiot 
that I am! I might have guessed, I might have 

"Guessed what?" demanded Gaston interestedly, 
staring up into Cleek's face with round eyes. "Struck 
an idea, Lieutenant?" 

"Yes, rather! There's no fireplace, you see," he 
explained, as the rest crowded about him, "and it 
doesn't look as if these windows are ever opened." 

"They are not," said Sir Lionel. "I had them 
screwed down so there should be no qhance of bur- 
glars getting in; some of these pictures are of priceless 
value, you know. I had ventilators put in the wall, 
and it is the duty of one of the maids to pull the ropes 
outside in the passage every morning so as to air the 
gallery thoroughly." 

"H'm-m-m — yes, I see," put in Cleek, with a jerk 
of the head. "That is to say, if these ventilators 
were not opened, for some reason or other, it would be 
possible to be suffocated? Oh, no, it wouldn't/' He 
stooped suddenly as his eye caught something at the 
lower left-hand corner of one of the pictures. "I see 


youVe taken care of that. Here's a hole for venti- 
lation purposes, I presume?" 

"What! Impossible!" chimed in Sir Lionel and 
the captain in one breath. 

"Well, I'm blest," said the captain, "so there is. 
Too big for a mouse hole. Funny we never noticed 
that before." 

"Anyhow, it's no use for ventilation," threw in 
Sir Lionel nonchalantly, "for it leads right into one 
of the bedrooms, yours, too, by the way, Went- 
worth." And he stared at the captain with a 
strangely startled expression. 

Gaston shot a meaning look into Mr. Narkom's 

"Well, what of it?" demanded the captain ir- 
ritably. "There's no crime in a hole being in the 
wainscoting, surely?" 

"Not a bit!" said Cleek. "For one thing"— 
he went down on his knees and sniffed audibly — 
" it's not an old hole, but one newly bored; new wood 
smells, don't you know? That's a mouse or a rat 
hole." Then quite suddenly he seemed to find it 
difficult to rise. "Oh, Lord. I'm getting stiff in 
my legs. Old age, eh? Give us a hand, Mr. Nar- 
kom. Thanks. What's that? No, no clue at all. 
Shan't want to come in here again. Let's have a 
look at these rooms on the other side of the gallery. 
Yours, captain, and yours, too, Master Gaston, if 
you don't mind." 

They didn't; but beyond establishing the fact that 


the mouse hole had apparently led right through into 
Captain Calmount's room, the good lieuteiant ap- 
peared to be absolutely stumped for a few minutes. 
Then: "Bully, why didn't I think of it before? 
Wait a minute. I've a book in my bag that's got a 
similar kind of story. Some of those writing johnnies, 
don't you know, aren't half bad." 

He was gone before any one could utter so much 
as a word, and Mr. Narkom's eye lit up, scenting a 
clue. But the Superintendent was doomed to dis- 
appointment, for barely two minutes later Cleek 
returned looking the picture of sorry dejection. 
"Can't find it," he said glumly, "must have left it 
in the limousine. Mr. Narkom, you might nip down 
and ask Lennard if it is there. Here's the title. 
I know you'll forget it if I don't write it down." 

When Mr. Narkom came back, Cleek turned 

"Did you find it?" he asked rapidly, biting his 
words off short. 

"Yes, yes, you were quite right, dear chap; here it 
is." He handed over a small red book; but after a 
glance at its cover, Cleek seemed to lose entire 
interest in it. He spun around upon his heel. 

"It is not always the dog that barks the loudest 
that fights the best," he went on quietly in a low, 
even voice. "I'm sorry to have to hurt you, Sir 
Lionel, but justice is justice." And all in a minute 
those who were watching him saw a strange thing 
happen; saw him turn and spring like a crouching 


lion upon the figure — not of Captain Calmount, but 
of the twisted, misshapen hunchback, saw him grip 
the huge shoulders in his two hands, and heard his 
voice ring out sharp and clear. 

"Got you, got you, by Jupiter! " And even as Sir 
Lionel sprang forward, with a little angry cry, there 
came the sharp click-click of the handcuffs, and the 
boy lay snarling and cursing, no longer a white-faced 
angel, but a writhing, furious thing, biting and 

"You Judas, you ! " snarled Cleek, as he leaned over 
him and surveyed the distorted face. "You beast! 
To kill the little lads who trusted you — to betray 
your own flesh and blood ! " 

"Man alive!" cried Sir Lionel, leaping forward. 
•*What are you saying? It's impossible, utterly! 
What had he to do with it?" 

Cleek surveyed the baronet with stern eyes. 
"Everything!" he snapped. "Everything! Per- 
haps you'd like to hear Her Ladyship laugh once 
more?" He ducked under the rope, and pushing 
in one of the little carved acorns which ornamented 
the frame, stood back. 

The effect was startling: peal after peal of laughter 
rang through the hall. Then, as the others in their 
excitement surged up to the silken rope, Cleek looked 
down at the handcuffed figure of the hunchback who 
was watching them almost breathlessly. 

"No, you little devil, you, it is quite safe. They 
won't all fall down, stone-dead, without a sign or 


mark, as your poor cousins died. See!" He picked 
up the red rope, and let it drop to the floor with i 
metallic clang. "I have had the current discon- 

Lady Calmount gave vent to a little moaning 
sound, and stared piteously up into Cleek's face. 
"What does it mean?" she cried. 

"It means, dear lady," said Cleek gently, "that it 
was all part of a plot. He wanted to make himself 
the heir. Did it never occur to you or to Sir Lionel 
that, providing he could only continue his crimes 
without discovery, he could stand in your son's 
place? He comes from the French branch of the 
family, does he not? And your life, your sons 9 , and 
Captaii* Calmount's stood between him and this 
inheritance. Look! I will show you the secret of 
Her Ladyship's laughter. But there will be no more 
* wild deaths ' in the family, Sir Lionel." He whipped 
out his knife, and inserting it between the frame and, 
the oak-panelled wall, caused the whole picture to 
slide down gently. A deep, hollow recess revealed 
itself, in which was seen the big brass funnel of a 

"Here's our 'Laughing Girl,'" he said swiftly, 
lifting out the instrument and setting it down upon 
the floor; "and now you can set her laughing when 

you like. As for you " Cleek turned to the 

prisoner, but at sight of him he gave a little cry and 
darted forward. For the boy was lying in a little 
crumpled heap, with head dropped and eyes shut. 


Cleek bent over him. Then, of a sudden, he straight- 
ened himself, and passed a quick hand over his eyes. 

"Dead," said he. "Dead, poor, malicious thing! 
Dead before the rest of his malice could find its way 
out. Heart, I suppose. Couldn't stand the shock 
of discovery. Off with the handcuffs. No one ever 
need know. Put back the picture, Sir Lionel, and 
call up the servants, and let the outside world under- 
stand that the boy died suddenly. After all, it's 
the best thing that could have happened." 

He picked up the limp, lifeless body, pillowed it in 
his strong arms, and then, at a word from Sir Lionel, 
passed out into the bedroom, and laid it gently upon 
the bed. Ten minutes later he telephoned for the 

"How did I come to discover it, Mr. Narkom?" 
said Cleek, an hour later, as they sat together in 
Geek's bedroom and the Superintendent was once 
more questioning him, while Ailsa made ready for 
her departure. 

"Oh, quite a simple riddle, dear chap. I sus- 
pected electricity from the very first; only thing pos- 
sible to kill like that, and always in the same place. 
Then when I picked up a shred of yellow flexible 
wiring on the staircase, that 'gave me to think,' as 
our French cousins say. On top of that came the 
unmistakable smell of that insulating material called 
'Chatterton,' not after the poet, Mr. Narkom, but its 


inventor; while the sight of that red cable acting as a 
rope to guard the picture — which was just a metal 
copper cable, and coloured red, a live wire, in fact — 
gave me the whole truth. I was uncertain at first 
whether it was Gaston or the captain who had com- 
mitted the crime, until I remembered that there was 
a framed genealogical table in the library; that gave 
me the clue. That new hole bored through to the 
captain's room was too obvious, and, besides, Gaston 
was so over-anxious to fix the blame on his cousin, 
that when I found every medical book in the libraiy 
thick with dust, I began to have my doubts. Then 
I felt pretty certain that that locked cupboard in his 
room contained batteries, and I was right, was I 
not, Mr. Narkom?" 

"As you always are, dear chap ! " put in that gentle- 
man with a glance of admiration. 

Cleek sighed and stretched himself. Then, at the 
sound of a light footstep on the stair, picked up his 
hat and went swiftly out of the room. 

"She's ready!" he called excitedly, like a wild 
schoolboy. "She's ready, forsooth! And now back 
to London and home. I'm anxious to know about 
Dollops, Mr. Narkom, and to assure myself of his 
safety. Ready, Ailsa? Ready, Mr. Narkom? 
Ready, the pair of you? Good-bye, Sir Lionel, and 
good luck. The son will come home to you safe and 
sound. No, don't thank me; you have taken care of 
Miss Lome, that is sufficient for anything I have 
done. Good-bye, captain; and apologies for any 


undue rudeness. Good-bye, all of you. Now, then, 
Leonard, quick as you can, my boy." 

Like a mad thing the car leaped forward and went 
spinning down the long drive, out through the great 
gateway and on into the soft, green distances ahead. 
The sun was like fire in the sky, the day was warm, 
and summer in her merriest mood; the trees swam 
past the windows of the car like rivers of green. 

Within the limousine, with eyes alight, Ailsa 
was listening to the old, old story from Cleek's lips, 
and laughing now and again as she glanced tenderly 
down at the Maurevanian ring upon her finger, while 
the Superintendent, with commendable tact, gazed 
from his window at the changing country, and 
tried to let them think they were alone. 


HOW did I come to suspect the young hunch- 
back?" said Cleek, as they rushed through 
the coolness of the summer night, leaving 
Sir Lionel Calmount still dazed with the unexpected 
revelation of human duplicity, but happy, too, in 
the relief from all future danger. 

"Well, as a matter of fact, I did not give him a 
thought; his feeble body and innocent look stood him 
in good stead, as he had invariably banked on. It 
was only when I came near him and caught the famil- 
iar scent, that I knew, and when I saw the marks on 
his finger I was certain. What's that, Mr. Narkom? 
What marks? Why, of the Chatterton; and the 
odour is peculiarly clinging. That is the stuff with 
which he had joined the flexible electric wire round 
the picture. Still, I didn't know but what he was an 
innocent tool of the captain's, until he mentioned 
that medical book. If you carry your mind back, 
dear friend, you will remember that he said the cap- 
tain had taken it from the library. The book was 
certainly missing from there, but it happened to be in 
his room, and not the captain's. That's where the 
point comes in. The rest followed naturally/' 

He looked out as the car turned into the station 



from whence the London express would whisk them 
to the metropolis and back into the maelstrom of that 
evening's pleasure seekers. Lennard and the limou- 
sine were to come on at their leisure. Briskly the 
little party took their places in the train and prepared 
for a somewhat lengthy journey. 

"I think an evening out will do us all good," said 
Ailsa, presently, with a little sigh, "and Lady 
Chepstow — Mrs. Hawkesley I mean (somehow, the 
old title still fits her best) , she, I know, will be only 
too glad of a change. Suppose you come back to 
dinner, and take us out afterward?" 

"The very thing," put in Mr. Narkom briskly. 
"Berkely Square is, if I remember rightly, on Petrie's 
beat this week, and I shall feel safer if I know you are 
under his eye. And, as I have promised myself a 

night off with Mrs. Narkom " He smiled at 

Cleek, who nodded back at him happily. Seated by 
Ailsa's side, with her hand lying in the crook of his 
arm, the world spelt happiness complete. Even 
Count Irma and the menace of the Apaches were far 
distant. He lived for the moment in the lap of a 
glorious reality. 

The journey's end reached at last, he saw Ailsa 
safely into a taxi, and promised to be with her in a 
short half hour. Then bidding good-bye to Mr. 
Narkom he turned on his heel and forged ahead 
through the stream of traffic that surged in and out of 
Charing Cross station. Foreigners there were al- 
ways in plenty, but to Cleek, absorbed though he 


was in the narrow escape of the woman who repre- 
sen ted the whole sum of human happiness to him, there 
seemed an ever-increasing number of Frenchmen in 
the moving medley of humanity. It brought a frown 
to his brows, and his mouth puckered into a network 
of tiny creases that boded ill for any one who might 
cross his path and his temper at that particular mo- 

But long before he had reached the safety of Clarges 
Street the magic of London had exerted its soothing 
power; the old philosophical outlook returned and the 
grimness departed, for, after all, and despite every- 
thing, God was in his heaven, as the poet sang, and 
"all's right with the world." 

Of a sudden he gave out a happy laugh and swung 
round the corner of the street, glancing up at the 
house wherein he had taken up his lodging till he and 
AiLsa should find themselves a more suitable apart- 
men t . At the very thought of what was to follow, his 
heart sang with happiness. But in his room all was 
dark; no light met him on the landing, the place was 
silent and deserted. Dollops had not yet returned. 

On the table in the dining-room stood the remains 
of a meal that would have been ruinous to the strong- 
est of digestions — a menu in which Dutch cheese, 
pickled walnuts, jam puffs, and monkey nuts figured 
conspicuously. Cleek laughed aloud at the sight of 
the disordered table. 

"Only an ostrich could digest " he com- 
menced, but the sentence died on his lips unfinished. 


Of a sudden his mouth fell open, he screwed round at 
the sound of the door being opened cautiously, and 
Dollops's face, the colour of new dough, peered in on 
him in the half light, like an eerie spirit. 

"Gawd's truth, guv'nor, it is you, is it? I've got 
back!" ejaculated that individual with a sigh of re- 
lief. "Thank the Lord for that! I wasn't in 'arf 
a funk since those blessed foreign johnnies went 
through this place only this afternoon! Look at it, 
sir, look at it! Fair makes you sick!" 

Cleek did "look at it," as Dollops switched on an- 
other electric, and the curious, one-sided smile 
travelled up his face. 

That something had been "wanted" was more 
than evident, for every article had been turned out of 
drawer and box and lay in one disordered heap in the 
centre of- the floor. 

"What were they after?" 1:« rapped out sharply. 

"Lumme, that's what I a^ked, when I saw 'em 
wiv my own blessed peepers," Dollops gave back 
excitedly. "But I gives 'cm the slip when they was 
ready to be off again and 'id in a cupboard. And 
'ere I am." 

But Cleek had vanished through the open door 
leading into his bedroom, and Dollops's voice came 
to him dimmed by the distance. "Them blooming 
Apaches," said he angrily, "they're all over the place, 
and buzzing like a nest of hornets." 

Cleek gave out a little laugh and peered at him 
through the open door. 


"Well, what of that? Surely you're getting used 
to them by this time? All you've got to do is to see 
that these rooms are kept locked while I'm away. 
ITiough what in the name of fortune should make 
Count Irma desire to go through my property like 

Speaking, he drove his hand into the pocket of the 
coat he had worn all day, his fingers touched a little 
metal object, and in a sudden fever of enlightenment 
he grew very still. It was no less than a ring, the 
false ring of Maurevania, which Mr. Narkom had 
withdrawn from the dead finger that had given him 
such an agony of anguish. 

"Oho!" said he, a curious look passing across his 
grim face. "He looked for the proof of his crime, 
did he? So, Count Irma, there are others besides my- 
self who will demand a reckoning for this day's work." 

He replaced the ring in his dress-coat pocket, and 
completed his toilet in silence. 

Ten minutes later, leaving Dollops on the watch, 
and as alert as a terrier over a rat hole, Cleek sallied 
forth, his own nerves keyed up to conceit pitch by 
the presence of an ever-increasing danger. Few 
would have recognized in the immaculately clad 
gentleman who took his seat at Mrs. Hawkesley's 
dinner table a short while later the effeminate young 
officer who had so lately looked upon the borderland 
of tragedy and averted a still greater one by the 
power of his wonderful mind; and only those few 
could be numbered as the ones who knew. 


IT WAS precisely an hour later that they were 
seated in a private box at the Alhambra, for 
Mrs. Hawkesley had chosen that place of amuse- 
ment, the Captain having promised to join them from 
the club. And the performance ^as halfway over 
when the little flurry caused by Lie entry of fresh 
people made Geek look down idly into the stalls. 
The sight of two occupants there gazing back at him 
in a sort of atrophied hatred, which iif?luded Ailsa 
as well, drove a little spasm of fear through his heart. 
Let them do what they like to him, let them trap him 
and kill him, or torture him, as the fates provided, 
but let one hair of her head be touched, and he would 
show them that the very demons of hell coulii be let 
loose for one man's service and one man's gain No 
less the familiarity of the two, Count Irma am* the 
pretty lady at his side, clad in a shimmering, gauze- 
like material that was like the lining of a sea shell, and 
with the diamonds flashing in her dark hair, caused 
him to give vent to a little exclamation of surprise. 

"Margot!" he ejaculated, and at the sound of that 
name Ailsa turned swiftly to where his eyes rested, 
and met those of Margot fixed on her with all the 
insolent hatred that was at the creature's command. 



She clenched her hands as she gave out a little 
cry of dismay. 

"The two together!" she said in a low, terrified 
voice, "What does it mean?" 

"Mischief," flung back Cleek sharply. "That's 
what it means, Ailsa, mischief." 

Of a sudden came the swift opening of the box 
door, and Captain Hawkesley entered. Cleek was 
upon his feet instantly. 

"In the very nick of time, Captain," he said in a 
low, smooth voice. "You have often expressed a 
desire to make us quits. Here, then, is your oppor- 
tunity. Take this seat; Ailsa will explain* I have- 
n't time; but for God's sake keep your face unseen. 
The game will be up if they recognize you. Quick, 
Ailsa, another of your roses, dear, like mine here; 
this one I cannot part with." He smiled whimsically 
as Ailsa obediently placed one of the Chatenay buds 
in the Captain's empty buttonhole. "And one of 
your orchids for me, Mrs. Hawkesley. Now, fix 
your attention on the stage " 

"But you " broke in Ailsa with a little gasp of 


"I am safe enough. I can disguise myself when 
necessary. Have no fear." Speaking, he turned 
abruptly. The door flashed open and flashed shut 
again. And even Ailsa, who knew the secret of his 
peculiar birthright, found it difficult to conceive that 
the French Apache of the better class, with the orchid 
in his buttonhole, who swaggered into the stalls a 


minute or so later, was the man who had just left 

That he succeeded in deceiving Margot was only 
too evident, for she was seen to introduce him with 
many shrill laughs and shrugs of her white shoulders 
to Count Irma, and the three were soon in deep con- 
fab, oblivious to the entertainment on the stage, or 
of the disapproving glances of their immediate 
neighbours. It seemed an eternity, though in reality 
it was but a short half hour, before the last curtain 
fell; and as the strains, of the National Anthem 
floated on the heated, smoke-laden atmosphere, 
Ailsa gave a little sigh of mingled dread and relief. 

Of Cleek there was no sign when they reached the 
crowded vestibule, nor of the French Apache with 
the orchid, though it seemed to Ailsa as if the whole 
place had been filled with Parisians, all gay, eager, 
and alert. 

Close beside them as they stood on the curb out- 
side stood a ragged, dirty-looking creature, darting . 
here and there like a hungry sparrow to pick up the 
few pennies that the occasional calling of a cab earned 
him. "'Ere y'are, miss, keb, keb!" he said briskly, 
jostling against Ailsa and with set purpose separating 
her from Mrs. Hawkesley. 

"I don't wish a cab," she responded coldly, "I 
am with friends. I " 

Of a sudden, to her utter consternation, she was 
borne out into the street by the crush, and she found 
herself surrounded, not by a mixed crowd of home- 


wardbound theatre-goers, but, men who, despite 
their evening clothes, were obviously Frenchmen 
of the "Boul' Miche'." 

She turned to go back, but the way was barred. 
Panic seized her and she tried to call out. Instantly 
one of the number thrust himself forward, and spoke 
to her with a leer on his evil face: 

"Leave la petite to me, I'll have her. Come 
quick, before the cracksman discovers her loss n 

Like a flash a path opened, and she was carried 
off her feet by the vehemence of the attack, and 
bundled into a waiting motor which was driven 
away just as a portly figure turned the corner of 
Leicester Square at the head of a posse of police. 

"Mr. Narkom!" Ailsa managed but one cry be- 
fore her cloak was twisted over her mouth and her 
voice dulled to silence. Where in God's name were 
they taking her? What had happened? Where 
were Cleek and the Hawkesleys? Surely they would 
discover her before it was too late! 

But they did not discover her, and it was not until 
the motor came sharply to a standstill in Hyde Paik 
that a voice reached her through the folds of the 
cloak about her face and head. 

"It's all right, guv'," said that voice, with com- 
forting familiarity. "Not a bloomin' Apache in 
sight. Done 'em a fair treat this time. Orl right, 
Miss Lome?" 

It was Dollops, and, dearer still, Cleek, her erst- 
while abductor, behind him, his eyes alight, hi? 


face glowing ! She gave out a little cry and stretched 
her hands to him in bewildered abandonment. 
He caught them in his own. 

"I had to let you be frightened, dear one," he said, 
in a low, tender voice. "There was no other way. 
They might have guessed otherwise. But I was 
lucky, for I managed to 'phone to Mr. Narkom, who 
should just catch Margot, if he's quick, and then 
appeared in time to whisk you off before the others 
got you. Dollops" — he threw up the window — "can 
you drive the car down to Hampton Court?" 

Came a low whistle, followed by a chuckle of 
satisfaction. "Lumme, sir, just you try me," said 
that worthy promptly. "The houseboat'U be the 
very thing for us now, and Miss Ailsa, bless *er 'eart, 
will be as right as rain with old Mother Condiment. 
Orl right, sir." 

Then with a purr of the engines, the great car was 
off and away to the old Thames Valley, whizzing 
along at a splendid pace, while Cleek and Ailsa, 
within it, entered for the time being into their para- 
dise together. 

• • • • • • • 

But Mr. Narkom was unfortunately too late. 
Margot and her compatriots had vanished like snow 
beneath the sun, and the Superintendent was left 
once more to curse his luck upon not being on the 
scene of action. 

And it was not until a few days later that he was 
actually made aware of Geek's hiding-place, though. 


thanks to a hasty message sent to Mrs. Hawkesley, 
he knew that both his charges were safe. However, 
upon the third morning after that fateful visit, 
Mr. Narkom got his letter. He mopped his fore- 
head with a brand-new silk handkerchief, jerked 
down his cuffs and straightened his tie, as befits 
the "Yard's gentleman" when in performance of 
the Yard's duty, and went down and out to where 
the new limousine, a bright blue affair with trim- 
mings of stone gray, awaited him in the courtyard 
below. He stepped into it with a sigh of genuine 

And Lennard, ever watchful, ever ready, replying 
to his brisk nod, was off like a shot toward Chelsea, 
scudding along the Embankment at a mile-a-minute 
clip. Out across the broad road, and into a network 
of meaner streets, where a goodly part of the army 
of the great unwashed dwelt and had their being, 
sped the car, and some fifteen or twenty minutes 
later came out into the open country, which was now 
at its height of summer beauty. 

"This will be it, I think, sir," said he at last, 
slowing down at the curve where the main road 
threw out a narrow lane leading riverward between 
two tall, close-clipped privet hedges. 

Mr. Narkom unlatched the door. 

"Yes, this is as near as we dare go, and I'll wager 
I shall find him in the garden, so I might as well 
walk down direct. So drive about a little, Lennard, 
and be back here in about half an hour." 


That Mr. Narkom knew his quarry well was evi- 
dent, for, after passing a very wilderness of roses, 
he came to a spot where a dark head moved about 
among the bushes, and lo! there was Cleek, his 
sleeves turned up to the elbow, his face flushed with 
exercise, busy grubbing up weeds and loosening the 
baked earth around the roses, while Ailsa Lome 
reclined in a low chair, watching the operations with 
lazy approval. 

He glanced up at the sound of Mr. Narkom's 
footsteps on the gravelled path, and smiled ruefully. 

"You're on time to the tick, you dear old nuis- 
ance," he said, slipping an earth-stained hand into 
his waistcoat pocket for his watch. "But you can 
pass the time of day with Miss Lome while I go 
and divest myself of some of her landed estate." 

He held up his fingers for Mr. Narkom to see, 
and went off whistling, while the Superintendent, 
with smiling countenance, did his friend's bidding. 

"Glad to get back, weren't you, Miss Lome?" 
he said, with an appreciative look round the rose- 
lined lawn and flower-filled pergolas that flanked 
it. "I do wish I did not need to bother him again so 
soon; but it's duty, you know, and in duty's call " 

"One has to obey blindly," she gave back in her 
soft voice. "And you know he will be only glad to 
help you. Ah, here he comes! I will beat a re- 
treat, and leave you a clear field of action." And 
with a nod and a smile for the Superintendent, and 
something more than a nod and a smile for Cleek, 


as he came striding toward them, she turned upon 
her heel and entered the cottage; and they could 
hear her singing as she went. 

But Fate is a strange creature. Much was to 
pass before she and the man she loved would know 
again the peace of that garden. 

"Now," said Cleek as he and Mr. Narkom joined 
each other and commenced pacing the pathway, 
"what's wrong with the world this time? Robbery, 
suicide, or what?" 

"Murder!" threw in Mr. Narkom with a little 
shudder. "And wholesale and diabolical murder 
at that. That's why I asked you to let my client 
come to you here, so as to get to work before another 
crime is committed. It was good of you to permit 
me that privilege, old chap." 

"H'm! Is it as bad as that?" said Cleek, with a 
little frown. "Well, let us go to that little summer 
house there at the end of the path, and you shall 
tell me the particulars." 

A minute's walk brought them to it, set like a 
bower in the centre of the roses. 

"Well, now what, Mr. Narkom? " said Cleek. 
"Wholesale murder, I believe you said? Gad! 
that's a nice thing to throw at a law-abiding citizen 
on such a gorgeous day as this! Well, go ahead. 
But, first of all, who's the client? Lady or gentle- 
man? You did not say over the 'phone this morn- 

Mr. Narkom puckered up his brows. 


" A gentleman/ 9 responded he. " A Hindoo gentle- 
man, Mr. Gunga Ramagee, of Lincoln's Inn." 

"Gunga Ramagee! Worst of those Indian Babu 
chaps, their names are so much alike. But, if my 
memory doesn't play me false, wasn't there one of 
that name who took a scholarship for law in Cal- 
cutta ? Came of high Brahmin caste, and was accord- 
ingly disowned by his family when he came over to 

"The very man!" ejaculated the Superintendent, 
with a sigh of genuine admiration. "Though how 
you learn these things beats me. It's uncanny, 
I call it." 

Cleek laughed good-naturedly. 

"Not a bit, my dear chap. As it happens, there 
was a small paragraph about it in an old journal 
lying on the dentist's table last week, and as I had 
to patronize one of that fraternity, and loathe the 
inevitable hour's wait beforehand, that item im- 
pressed itself on my memory. But go on. Begin 
at the beginning, please. First of all, who has been 
killed and where?" 

"At least three Hindoos," said the Superintend- 
ent with a sigh, "and probably a fourth. Each one 
is found nude, and a strange thing about the whole 
affair is that in each case nearly all the blood has 
been drained from the body." 

Cleek sat up suddenly and sucked in his breath. 

"What's that? What's that?" he rapped out, 
stung into a show of feeling by the revolting nature 


of this statement. "All the blood drained! Good 
heavens, man! this is something like a mystery. 
Where were they found?" 

"In the neighbourhood of the Essex marshes, 
just near a little village called Easthope. The last 
one was discovered at midnight by the constable on 
duty, lying covered with a piece of sacking, a rope 
twisted round the body, and not a drop of blood 
spilt anywhere. They tell me that it seems as if 
he had been allowed to bleed to death, and then 
the corpse deposited in the road like a sucked 

"No clothing, eh?" Cleek dived for his cigarette 
case, a sure sign that his interest was aroused. 
"Pretty good evidence that the poor beggars 
clothes would have betrayed his identity, and that 
he could not have been staying very far away from 
where he was found. Even in a country village a 
man can't carry a naked corpse very far without 
attracting attention, can he? H'm-m-m! Any ve- 
hicle seen or heard in the neighbourhood?" 

Mr. Narkom shook his head. 

"Not the ghost of one. But the first body was not 
found in the main road at all, but in a little lane 
leading over private fields. The constable is cer- 
tain that no one passed him on his beat. 

"But, according to Gunga Ramagee, a dog ran 
down the lane, running as if it had been frightened. 
As the constable knew where it belonged, he didn't 
take particular notice of it, and concluded it had 


een out on the prowl and was just making for Delhi 
[ouse " 

"What's that? Delhi House? " threw in Cleek 
•ith an upward twitch of the eyebrows. 

"Yes, it's the name of the house where Gulam 
ingh, the uncle of Gunga Ramagee, lives." 

"Oho!" said Cleek, with a strong rising inflection. 

Now we're getting 'warm,' as the children say. 

Ind all these gentlemen, you say, are Hindoos? 

Lnd they're found outside a house wherein lives a 


Mr. Narkom sniffed. 

"Yes, that's the popular belief," said he disdain- 
ully. "But Gunga Ramagee declares that no one 
ad visited his uncle save himself, and that he was an 
bsolute recluse and hermit. Investigation proved 
hat this was so, and that no one had any reason to 
xpect the presence of the murdered men in the 

"Quite so. Any marks on the body? No signs 
f mutilation, I suppose?" 

"No. The only wounded spots were where the 
rteries had been cut at the wrists and legs. Per- 
ectly clean cuts, evidently made for the purpose of 
»tting out the blood, and obviously not for killing. 
teyond that the body bore no blemish. He had not 
►een stabbed, shot, or bludgeoned, and Gunga 
tamagee says that Seton, the village physician, 
oade an examination, and proved, despite the fact 
hat the body was practically bloodless, that there 


were no traces of poison or disease. The only signs of 
anything wrong at all were inflamed passages of the 
inside of the mouth and nostrils, and the doctor 
attributed this to cold, due to change of climate. 
Perhaps so much attention would not have been 
paid, but for the fact of finding, just three days after 
the burial, a second man in exactly the same condi- 
tion. This corpse was half buried in a deep ditch 
about a hundred yards away. Examination showed 
that the body was in a far more advanced stage of 
decomposition, and that the man must have been 
murdered some weeks before the other." 

"ffmm! I see," said Cleek. "Go on, please. 
I suppose there was an uproar in the village? " 

The Superintendent threw up his hands. 

"I should just think there was. The whok 
countryside is up in arms, and, like you, have con- 
nected Gulam Singh with the crimes. When a third 
body was found in the ditch they nearly burnt the 
house down, and Gunga Ramagee applied to the 
county station to have a special posse of police to 
guard his uncle, whom he fairly worships. The man 
has been something more than a father to him, I 
should say. 

"Well, yesterday, a fourth body was dug out, and, 
as I said before, Heaven alone knows how many more 
may have been discovered by this time!" 

Cleek pursed up his lips, as though about to whistle, 
and gave bent to a low laugh. 

"What a fool's trick!" said he. "What a fool's 


.rick! The man must be a madman to court death 
it the hands of an infuriated mob, by burying the 
txxlies just outside his own house. How has he done 
it without being seen? I suppose it is safe to assume 
that the fourth was discovered under similar cir- 
cumstances?' 9 

"Yes, all save the fact that the face was distorted 
into an expression of fearful agony, whereas those of 
the others were quite calm and peaceful; and the 
corpse was wrapped in a fragment of Indian tapestry. 
It was this, according to the entire village, that com- 
pleted the evidence against Gulam Singh." 

"The chain of events, but not necessarily * evi- 
dence, 9 Mr. Narkom," threw in Cleek with a shake 
of the head. "Kali! Swa! Krishna! Let me 
think for a moment. 99 His voice dropped off; he 
took his elbow in his palm, and his chin between 
his thumb and forefinger, and sat looking, with 
fixed eyes and puckered brow, out over the shining 
river, and for a time made neither sound nor move- 

And so he was still sitting when Miss Lome came 
hurrying down the path, her white frock showing 
vividly against the green trees, and at her side a 
slim, frock-coated, top-hatted, brown-faced figure 
with the features of an Indian god, and a close- 
clipped, soot-black moustache covering his lips. 

A slight frown crossed Cleek 's face as he sprang up 
to greet them, and for the moment he hesitated. 
Then he put out his hand. 


"Mr. Gunga Rainagee?" said he politely. 

The Hindoo bowed. 

"This gentleman has an appointment with you," 
said Ailsa with a smile, and a sudden light leaped into 
the Hindoo's face as he turned to thank her. He 
bowed as she left them, with an obeisance that was 
fitting for a queen. 

Cleek turned on his heel. 

"Come," said he briskly; "we will be off at once. 
Drive down in the limousine, Mr. Narkom, and Mr. 
Gunga Ramagee shall tell me the facts as we go 
along. That's right, dear friend; lead the way and I 
shall follow." 

A few brief moments of farewell to Ailsa, and then 
Cleek strode after the figures of Mr. Narkom and the 
Hindoo; and, before she had time to retrace her 
steps, Lennard was once more urging on his petrol 
steed, as though it were an avenging angel, and they 
were off, tearing down the road at a pace which ate 
up the miles greedily. 


ONCE inside the limousine, however, the 
young Hindoo's impassive calm broke up, 
and, hardly waiting till the three were seated, 
he clutched painfully at Cleek's arm. 

"Oh, Mr. Ledway," he cried, speaking without the 
trace of an accent in his voice (for it was by this 
name that Cleek had chosen to take on the case), 
"come to my poor uncle's rescue; save him from 
your brutal countrymen ! Mr. Narkom tells me you 
are a veritable worker of miracles. Oh! I beseech 
you, in the name of Brahma the all-powerful, help 
me to get my uncle into safety, and once more into 
his own country, where his ways will not be mis- 
understood. If they kill him, those devils " 

His eyes shone with an almost insane light, and Clock 
raised a soothing hand. 

"Calm yourself, Mr. Ramagee," said he gently. 
"You can rely upon my doing my utmost, and no 
harm can come to your uncle while he is under police 

"Just what I told him myself," put in Mr. Narkom 

Cleek gave the man a penetrating look. 

"Have you no suspicions yourself of any one who 
could possibly commit these outrages?" 



For a brief second a look something akin to fear 
flickered over the sallow mobile face; then Mr. 
Ramagee stoutly denied any idea or knowledge. 

"Dr. Seton says it is the act of a madman," he 
said in conclusion, moistening his dry lips. 

"Dr. Seton? Who is he, pray?" 

"The only doctor in Easthope, it would seem. 
My uncle has always been so well, but, for the last 
few weeks he has had several bad attacks, and I 
threw up all my studies to stay with him. I wanted 
him to let me send for one of our native doctors, but 
he refused; he said that he would have Dr. Seton; 
and the doctor has been very attentive to him. 
Really, I would not have left him at all but for the 
fact that the doctor is staying in the house, and I 
have had dogs placed in the stables. Naturally, 
my uncle, who is a most devout man and keeps all 
our religious ceremonials most rigorously, would not 
allow the unclean beasts over the threshold of his 
doorway, but they are allowed to be let loose at 
night, to act as a guard over us." 

"H'mrn! I see; that accounts for it, then," said 
Cleek softly. "No, nothing, my dear sir. Go on. 
What is this doctor, English, Scotch, Irish, or " 

"Oh, an Englishman, I should say, but he has 
travelled all over the world, and is a most learned 
and educated man." 

Cleek smiled at the evasiveness of the tone. 

"Quite so," said he ^serenely. "Do you like 


The Hindoo twitched up his mouth and threw 
out his hands. 

"Well, Mr. Led way, to be frank, I do not. Clever 
he undoubtedly is, but he is certainly one of the 
most brusque, plain-spoken men I ever have met; 
and if I did not know my uncle too well, I should 
think that he was afraid of him. Why, the other 
day he made my blood almost boil; I could have 
kicked him out neck and crop for the way he spoke to 
my uncle because he refused to let the doctor enter 
the shrine of Kali." 

Cleek threw up his chin and lifted his eyebrows. 

"Kali?" said he. "What's that?" 

The Hindoo raised his eyes heavenward. 

"My uncle," he replied, "as I have told you, is a 
most devout man, and one room in his house has 
been turned into a shrine for the divine goddess, Kali. 
He makes offerings to her, and her temple is well 
known to many devout believers who sojourn here 
in this land of tears." 

"Oho ! So at one time, then, many Hindoo visitors 
used to come to pay their respects to Kali? " 

"Yes, but none have come during this year; it is 
not yet time. They will come for the Rising of the 
Waters Festival, when the Indus rises, you know." 

Cleek nodded in understanding. 

"Yes, yes, of course. On what day was it," he 
asked irrelevantly, "that your uncle refused to let 
Dr. Seton enter the shrine? Do you remember, or 


"As it happens, I can remember very well, for it 
was on the morning of the discovery of the first 
body, the cause of all the excitement; and my unde 
spent the rest of the day praying to the goddess for 
help and protection." 

" Ah! yes, yes," said Cleek; and for a time there 
was silence, only broken by the whirr of the motor 
as it rushed on at a forty-mile clip. 

The summer day was drawing to a close when 
Lennard, following the directions of stray hay- 
makers and sundry village boys, drew up the lim- 
ousine in front of a large house, the home of Gulam 
Singh. It was a substantial and somewhat ornate 
building, standing in the midst of green fields, with 
a high laurel hedge shutting it off from the lane. 
An iron gate gave ingress and egress to and from 
the grounds, and Cleek, as he ascended the steps in 
the wake of Mr. Narkom and the Babu, caught a 
glimpse of eager native faces peering down from an 
upper window. The smell of incense and heavy 
perfumes smote on his nostrils, and then he heard 
the sound of a shrill, imperative voice saying: 

"Well, I am sorry I took the trouble of calling 
to-day, very sorry ! " 

Gunga Ramagee glanced up into his face. 

"That is Dr. Seton," he muttered, and hurried 
into the stone entrance hall. 

Here a curious scene met their eyes. 

Before the great wide staircase with its crimson- 
carpeted steps, their brown faces showing gro- 


tesquely against the white of their garments, were two 
natives humbly salaaming before an angry figure, 
the figure of Dr. Seton, immaculate in his English 
garb and silk hat. He turned as Gunga Ramagee 
hurried toward him, and his dark face quivered with 

" Good thing you have got back, Mr. Ramagee," 
said he, angrily waving a hand at the two figures. 
"What's come to these fools of servants? They 
say your uncle, Gulam Singh, has shut himself up 
in his room, and has not been seen since you left 
last night. He was all right then, wasn't he? " 

A look of sudden fear, sudden surprise, swept 
across the Hindoo's face. 

"By all the gods, yes!" he ejaculated. "He was 
quite well. I told these men — " he waved contemp- 
tuously to the natives, who fled incontinently, as if 
glad to escape the young man's wrath — "I bade 
them not disturb him, but I did not mean that no 
one was to see him. These," he added, turning 
back to Cleek and Mr. Narkom, who stood some 
distance from the two, "are two gentlemen from 
Scotland Yard, Mr. Ledway and Mr. Narkom." 

A sudden light flashed into Dr. Se ton's thin 
face as he acknowledged the introductions; but no 
more was said till they reached a wide, deep landing, 
and there, outside a second door, Gunga Ramagee 
stopped and knocked. There was no answer. A 
deadly silence seemed to pervade the house, and at 
last, with a little whining cry, the Hindoo threw 


himself against the door and beat at it with his 
fists. Cleek and Mr. Xarkom and the doctor helped 
him, and finally the door gave way, and the little 
party fairly tumbled into the room. 

That it had been locked on the inside was self- 
evident, for the key lay on the floor, where it had 
tumbled from the lock on their tempestuous entry. 
It was a long, large room; its walls were of a plain, 
blood-red, bordered by a frieze depicting scenes from 
the festivals and the sacred scrolls. At one end there 
was a large bow window, fastened and sealed. At 
the other an altar, banked high with flowers and 
jewelled offerings, and above it sat a colossal figure 
of Kali, smiling inscrutably down in all its painted 
hideousness. But a brief glance was given to this, 
for their attention was instantly arrested by the 
sight of a figure in native robes of great richness lying 
face downward on the Persian rug in front of the 

Gunga Ramagee gave a low wail as he bent over 
it, and Cleek did not need to be told that this was 
Gulam Singh, and that the Hindoo had passed be- 
yond the ken of human knowledge. That his death 
had been a violent one was also probable, for his 
death agony was registered in the hands which tightly 
clutched the folds of the rug. But there were no 
signs of a struggle, no aperture through which death 
by an outside source could have come. To Mr. 
Narkom, however, the cause seemed quite plain, 
for on the altar, in the midst of the white lilies, stood 


a sapphire cup, filled to the brim with a red, viscuous 

"Blood, by James!" he cried, drawing it to Cleek's 
notice, and waving an excited hand toward it. 
"It's as plain as a pikestaff. He knew the game 
was up, and he killed himself. What do you say?" 
He turned inquiringly to his great ally, over whom 
had come an imperceptible change. The . curious 
one-sided smile looped up one side of his face, then he 
turned dull eyes from one strained person to the other. 

"Looks as if our man's escaped us, after all. Not 
got far to seek for the solution, eh, what? Suicide, 
I should say. Let's have a look at him." The 
Superintendent lurched over toward the dead man, 
and went down on his knees beside Dr. Seton, 
who bent over the body, his face alight with some- 
thing more than professional sympathy; and Mr. 
Narkom found himself watching mechanically the 
long, lithe fingers as they felt and tapped for any 
trace of the divine spark. Cleek, too, watched 
them, smiled, frowned, and shrugged his shoulders; 
but as he advanced young Ramagee waved him im- 
periously away. 

"You shall not touch him, you pigs of men! 
You think him guilty of blood murder! But it's a 
lie, I tell you! It's a lie!" he screamed, laying his 
hands upon Cleek and pushing him away with all 
his might. "My uncle never harmed a fly. He is a 
Brahmin, and death is forbidden them. Go ! Leave 
me with my dead." 


But Cleek shook his head. 

"All in good time, Mr. Ramagee," said he stolidly. 
"You see, you've invoked the English law, and it's 
our business to look into things. Men can't get 
murdered in a locked room just as they like; and it 
seems as if you were the last person to see him 

"Sir!" He fairly hissed the word in his agitation 
and anger, but his face was a sickly drab beneath 
the olive skin, and he shrank back trembling as 
Cleek advanced closer. 

Dr. Seton straightened himself. 

" There is no need, Mr. Medway " 

"Ledway," corrected Cleek serenely. 

"Well, whatever your name is, I can certify that 
my patient died of the disease for which I have been 
attending him, namely, that of the heart. I shall 
certainly give that as my verdict." 

"H'mm!" said Cleek, bending still closer over 
the silent figure. "I see!" He looked up quickly. 
"Well, doctor, if that's so, it's the first time I ever 
knew heart disease to leave a wound." 

"What do you mean?" Dr. Seton straightened 
himself, and his eyes almost flashed fire as Cleek 
picked up the wrist of the dead man and pointed to 
a tiny red puncture. 

"Some poison has evidently been injected; that 
remains to be seen at the inquest." 

"The inquestl" 

Another frantic burst of grief came from the lips 


of the dead man's nephew, for by this procedure 
his uncle's body would be irrevocably defiled. 

Consternation reigned supreme. Then Cleek 
stepped back with a little shrug. 

The passage beyond was filled with a group of 
wailing, excited natives, for the news had spread 
from one to the other that their master was dead. 
By this time the evening darkness was beginning to 
descend, and Cleek slipped quietly out of the room 
into their midst, then plunged down the corridors. 

The very atmosphere of the house reeked with 
mystery and intrigue, and a soft rustling behind 
some heavy curtains warned Cleek that he must 
be near the women's quarters. But he was hardly 
prepared for what ensued. For, with a whisper of 
silken draperies, the curtain slipped back, and from 
behind it stepped a white-robed figure. A hand 
touched his arm, and a woman, her face concealed 
by the black yashmak she wore, appealed to him 
excitedly, speaking, to his colossal surprise, in per- 
fect English. 

"You are of the law, they say. Oh, praise be to 
the gods!" she sighed in a monotonous undertone. 
"Naree, my maid-servant, has brought me the 
news that my uncle, Gulam Singh, is dead — mur- 
dered! And by some wicked hand! Ah, sahib, 
you will listen to me, help me to avenge him! I 
am Azzisan, his niece. You are surprised that I 
speak your tongue? But my uncle had me taught, 
as a little child. I have helped him in his writings, 


and now to think Ai ! ai ! * ' Her voice broke into 

the soft eastern wail, but she restrained herself quickly. 
"Ah, but I must not give way, for if I am discovered 
speaking to you he will kill me, too!" 

Cleek switched round and looked at her sharply. 

"'He?' Who is 'he?"' he said. 

"Why, who but Gunga Ramagee? He wants the 
fortune and the jewels of Gulam Singh. Oh, I knew 
what would happen when he came, with his soft 
tongue and loving ways; when he made the writings 
in his favour and persuaded my uncle to sign it " 

"Oho!" said Cle£k in two different tones. "A 
will, eh? Leaving him everything?" 

"Ai-ai, that is what you call it, a will. And he 
has succeeded. Ah, sahib! in the name of the high 
gods, take him away. He kills and kills, that 
smooth-tongued cousin of mine; oh, yes, even though 
I give him to a shameful death. I believe him to 
have killed those dead men out there." She waved 
a brown delicate hand, heavily studded with gems, 
toward the open, and her voice grew to a whispering 
thread. "We hear things in the zenana, and I fear, 
I fear for myself. Death is in the air, death is every- 

"But not for you, O Azzisan," gave back Cleek 
grimly, with a sudden snapping of the jaws. "I 
will prevent any further harm." 

A murmur of gratitude came from behind the 
concealing veil; then Cleek felt soft lips pressed to 
his hand, and in an instant he was alone. 


"Pretty little thing," he said to himself, retracing 
his footsteps. But even as he did so a strange thing 
happened. For across the quiet air came the sound 
of music, soft, wailing, plaintive strains as from a 
reed pipe. 

His body grew tense, taut, as a hound on the track 
of a fox; the nerve in his temple throbbed incessantly. 
Then, with a little, silent laugh, he hit the clenched 
3st of his right hand into the open palm of his left, 
and crept over toward the banisters, leaning over. 

Gunga Ramagee, at the head of a band of native 
servants, crouched outside the fatal shrine of Kali, 
Goddess of Blood. 

Cleek jerked up his head, and the curious one- 
sided smile travelled up his cheek. 

"An Indian reed pipe — and the solution, for a 
ducat!" he said softly; then he went down and out 
into the courtyard, where Mr. Narkom awaited him. 

"It's no good staying here, dear chap, is it?" 
queried the Superintendent, giving an uneasy look 
over his shoulder. "This place gives one the creeps. 
And the mischief's evidently been done." 

Cleek nodded. 

" Yes," said he grimly, his mouth set in a straight 
line; "the ripe fruit has been plucked, Mr. Narkom, 
but it remains yet to be seen whether the unseen 
plucker shall eat of it or not." 

"Gad, man, have you any ideas already?" 

Mr. Narkom fairly leaped at him in his excitement, 
but Cleek merely smiled as he led the way through 


the glass entrance doors to the gravelled pathway 

"Bushels," said he finally, giving Mr. Narkom's 
plump elbow a squeeze. "First, I want to see the 
bloodless men for myself. Secondly, I could do 
with a trip to the British Museum, for when dog 
eats dog, then comes the tug of war." 

With this enigmatical statement Mr. Narkom was 
fain to be content, and in an almost unbroken si- 
lence the two "gentlemen from Scotland Yard" were 
driven to the village police station, there to see the 
bodies of the four dead men, and to seek the solution 
to the puzzle. 


THE sight was not a pleasant one, and for a 
few moments Cleek stood pinching up his 
chin in deep thought. 

"Poisoned, without a doubt," he muttered, as he 
verified the Superintendent's statements. "But 
with what? If it were that ! I wonder! It would 
leave no trace, but their faces would be distorted. 
Yes, but one was!" 

"One was what?" said Mr. Narkom, in a sort of 
dazed bewilderment. "My dear old chap, what are 
you driving at?" 

Cleek looked at him patiently. 

"My friend," he said in a slow, level voice, as 
one teaching a little child, "people don't let them- 
selves be murdered knowingly without making a 
struggle for life, and if they are poisoned they don't 
smile peacefully like that. Look at that man's 
face. And now, the other, the one that has been 
buried, you say was distorted?" 

"I should just think it was! " said the Superintend- 
ent. "Anyhow, according to Ramagee " 

"Ah, yes," said Cleek, drumming idly on the 
window ledge near which they stood. Then he 
stooped a little nearer, and examined the face of the 


dead man found in the lane, whereupon he gave 
vent to a little, yapping laugh. "The idiot! The 
blithering idiot I am! Of course! Arsenic! And I 
never guessed!" 

"But, my dear chap, no trace of arsenic has been 
found," said Mr. Narkom with a plaintive sigh. 

Cleek laughed. 

"Those who hide can find, Mr. Narkom, and 
those who find can hide. There's a little puzzle for 
you. Give me the limousine, and I'll be back by the 
morning. And if I don't prevent any more good 
blood from being spilled, shut me up in a lunatic asylum 
for a full-fledged idiot! Engage a room at the inn 
for me, and expect me up at Delhi House to-morrow 
morning at nine. There'll be a pleasant breakfast 
for some one, or I'm very much mistaken." 

He turned on his heel and plunged out of the 
police station, making his way to the yard of the inn, 
the Easthope Arms, where Lennard had stationed 
the car. 

"Got enough petrol to take us back to town?" 
he queried as Lennard came out of the inn, wiping 
his mouth with the back of his hand and looking 
beautifully satisfied with life in general. 

"Yes, sir; just about, and a pint or two over," 
gave back Lennard serenely. 

"Good! Then get me to the British Museum as 
fast as you can streak it. I've a notion that we'll 
get to the bottom of this puzzle sooner than I ex- 
pected. Put on full speed, my lad. I'm due here 


to-morrow at nine o'clock, and if the whole thing 
isn't mapped out as plain as your grandmother's 
patchwork, then my reputation is gone forever!" 

Lennard laughed, turned the car round, and then 
shot out along the silent village street. 

It was just striking ten, and as they passed the 
chandler's little shop, which was also dignified by 
the name of "Post Office," Cleek, bending forward 
for a better view, was just in time to see the slim 
figure of Dr. Seton emerge from the building, a 
well-satisfied smile on his face. Cleek smiled, too, 
though, perhaps, had he known what the future held, 
he would have kept that smile for a later date. 

At nine to the tick on the following morning, Cleek 
had said, and at nine to the tick he was back at 
Delhi House, the blue limousine whirring him up to 
the door in company with Mr. Narkom and Dr. 
Seton, whom he found walking up the drive together. 

"I think you will find our friend Mr. Ramagee 
slightly more reconciled to his change of fortune," 
sneered the doctor as they entered the hall. 

"It's to be hoped so," said Cleek through his 
clenched teeth. "Not that it matters, for his game 
is up now. I rather fancy I shall need your help, 
doctor, so if you would not mind going up and seeing 
that he is dressed, I should be greatly obliged." 

"Verree pleased to assist you, Mr. Ledway," said 
the doctor, and, turning on his heel, swiftly ascended 


the staircase, followed by Mr. Narkom. But Cleek 
lingered to speak to the two plain-clothes detectives 
who stood in the dim shadow of the landing, main* 
taining an unbroken silence. They saluted him re- 

"No one has been allowed to leave the house, I sup- 
pose? " Clock queried as he acknowledged their salutes. 

"No, sir. Mr. Narkom's orders was as no one 
was to leave till you came, and we was to do what- 
ever you said, sir." 

"Good lads! Handcuffs with you?" 

"Yes sir." 

"Splendid! Then follow me up the corridor, 
softly, after I'm in the second room. Keep a sharp 
look-out, and you'll presently have the pleasure of 
arresting one of the wickedest cold-blooded murderers 
that ever walked on this earth." 

He passed up the corridor, but before he could 
enter the shrine of Kali, into which had disappeared 
the doctor and Superintendent, there came again 
the subdued rustle of silken draperies, and once 
more an anxious voice appealed to him. 

"Ledway sahib," it said in that low, moaning 
monotone he recognized, "what of the truth? What 
of the truth?" 

Cleek lowered his own voice. 

"Come, then, O x\zzisan," said he softly. "The 
truth is revealed. Come with me and witness the 
justice of the gods." 

He opened the door, and the veiled girl slid gently 


through, following him, silent-footed, along the cor- 

The shrine was empty, that is, so far as Gulam 
Singh was concerned, for his body had been removed. 
Only Mr, Narkom and Dr. Seton stood in the 
room, the Superintendent labouring evidently under 
repressed excitement. There was no need to ask 
for the Babu, for the door opened almost immediately 
and the young Hindoo entered, his face once more 
calm and composed, though obviously as one who 
had suffered a great loss. 

He started at the sight of Azzisan, then bowed 
deeply to her, as if recognizing her right to be present 
at such a time. 

"Dr. Seton tells me you have come to clear my 
uncle's name," he said, his voice quivering with emo- 
tion. "Oh, if that is so, Mr. Ledway, prove it to 
the world, I beseech you ! It will mean so much to 
him — so much!" 

"All in good time," said Cleek serenely, flicking an 
imaginary speck of dust from his cuff. "But first 
of all, let's come down to brass tacks, as our American 
cousins would say. My name's Cleek, Mr. Ramagee, 
Cleek of Scotland Yard. Maybe you haven't heard 
the name though possibly others of your countrymen 
may have reason to remember it, especially the Ranee 
of Thang. That little affair of the Ladder of Light, 
you know." 

"Cleek!" gasped out Ramagee, falling back a step 
and surveying him with astonishment. 



Geek!" fairly shouted Dr. Seton, with an in- 
voluntary exclamation of amazement. He nodded 
in the direction of a native who stood shrouded by 
the curtained doorway, and who instantly disap- 

"Yes," responded that gentleman placidly. 
' ' Cleek. I thought you would remember it. I think 
you tried to get Her Highness to part with the neck- 
lace, didn't you, Mr. Ramagee? But your offer 
was refused." 

The young Hindoo mopped his face with his 
handkerchief. It was strangely pale. 

"Are you a wizard? 9 ' cried he in a state of blank 

Cleek smiled. 

"No, my friend, only an ordinary ^policeman/ 
who will see that the law of his country cannot be 
defied with impunity, eh, doctor? I said I should 
want your help. Come over here; help me to catch 
the murderer of Gulam Singh, the murderer of the 
Hindoos who came laden with gems to place before 
the shrine of Kali, the betrayer of an old man's 

trust " He switched round suddenly as the 

doctor came to his call, and faced Gunga Ramagee 
whose figure suddenly stiffened. 

The doctor came, came with a smiling countenance 
to do his bidding; then, before you could say "Jack 
Robinson," the thing was done. With a spring Hke 
that of a cat on a hapless mouse, Cleek had lurched 
sideways, throwing the surprised doctor to the ground 


at the same time emitting a sharp whistle from his 
pursed-up lips. The door flashed open and flashed 
shut again, and two blue-coated men flung them- 
delves on the writhing, struggling figure. 

" Well played , lads ! Well played ! Careful, now ! 
He's as lithe as an eel — the charming Eurasian devil !" 
cried Cleek, standing back and surveying the scene 
with professional enjoyment. "A good capture! 
A splendid capture! Thought you'd take us all in 
with your little English ways, eh, doctor? But I 
was one too many for you this time. Pity you didn't 
learn to speak the native tongue with rather more 
accuracy and not quite so much accent on those last 
syllables. 'Verree sorree/ eh?" He laughed sud- 
denly, and threw back his head. "It takes three 
generations to get that trick of speech out of the 
Eurasian tongue, and you, I should imagine, were a 
pretty poor second. God! but what a beast, what 
a loathesome devil, gentlemen! Not content with 
torturing his fellow-countrymen and robbing them 
of their life-blood for his devilish experiments, as 
weD as of their earthly possessions, he must kill 
Gulam Singh, too." He turned to the young Hindoo 
and put out his hand. "Would to God I had been 
in time to save him," he said gravely. "But it 
was not to be. Forgive my seeming to accuse you, 
Mr. Ramagee; you see, evidence could have been 
piled up against you, and even this lady, Azzisan, 
acknowledges her mistake." 

At this the veiled girl stretched out a trembling 


hand, and Gunga Ramagee took it in his own and 
pressed it tenderly. 

Cleek turned upon his heel. 

"But I guessed that it was hardly likely that either 
you or your uncle would commit these atrocities 
and leave the bodies so openly exposed," he went on, 
with a little frown of disgust at the whole awfal 
affair. " It was too obvious. And when I noted that 
your uncle's doctor was a Eurasian, I had my doubts. 
What's that? How did I find out? Why, look at 
the man's finger-nails! That should be proof 
enough, in all conscience. That little purplish- 
blue moon above the cuticle would damn the whitest 
skin. And the accent, too! Besides, why should 
an innocent man call a snake bite heart disease? 
That wound on your uncle's wrist could only be 
caused by one thing, the black death adder, the snake 
which he whistled away with a reed pipe the moment 
you had left the room yesterday after the discovery. 
I found, too, that the faces of the dead men had been 
treated with arsenic so as to give them a peaceful 
expression. An experiment, I presumed, as there 
was no reason for it, and one of the men had been 
poisoned with the Malay "devil's dust,' as it is called. 
That would leave no sign at all. It was only the 
inflamed passages of the noses and throats that gave 
me the clue. Possibly the stuff had been adminis- 
tered as snuff, and the unknowing victims had sniffed 
it up, unwitting of what terror was in store for them. 
'"But how did I discover it all, you ask? Oh, just 


by the possession of an exceedingly good memory. 
I recollected that a book on pathology, dealing with 
the blood, had been written by a native doctor, Mani 
Setarun. I've been promising myself the pleasure 
of looking into it, and I wondered if it might not be 
this man's father. I was right. In the British 
Museum was the record of his change of name to the 
English one of Seton, and the acknowledgment of his 
authorship of that book. That's all." 

The little group had remained silent during Cleek's 
speech, but now, with one accord, they voiced the 
question that was in their thoughts. 

Cleek smiled. 

" One at a time, ladies and gentlemen, if you 
please, as the parrot of well-known fame remarked. 
How did he get the naked body up the lane when 
no one saw him?" Well, the dog, one of those at- 
tached to the stables, had probably followed the good 
doctor home, and when the body was tied to him by 
the rope, set off down the lane, freeing himself at last 
just before he got to Delhi House. To make sure, I 
stopped this morning at the doctor's house, and, in 
the name of the law, searched it, finding sufficient 
evidence to prove this a fact." 

"But the blood?" said Mr. Narkom, pointing to 
the sapphire cup. "That is " 

"Not human, Mr. Narkom, thank God! I dipped 
my handkerchief in it and had it analyzed last night 
at the Yard. It is probably from one of those fine 
breed of pigeons which are circling outside the win- 


dow. See " He stooped suddenly and picked 

up something which he held aloft. "Here is a gray 
feather. The emblem of the sacrifice. The riddle 
is solved, gentlemen, and I can wish you a very good 
morning. Boys, remove your prisoner. Mr. Nar- 
kom, whenever you are ready " 

But before the Superintendent could make so much 
as a single sound another voice struck in upon him, 
and the erstwhile " doctor " pushed forward between 
his manacled hands, and spat at Geek. 

"Devil of a wizard!" he cried, his voice quivering 
with mingled hate and despair. "I was a fool to 
remain an instant after I recognized you, that time 
you looked up into my face. It was a slip, eh? Oh, 
yes, a slip, we know, but I, too, have a memory for 
faces. Where did I see you, eh? In Paris, man ami, 
where I got my degree. In Paris, where Margot loved 
and hated you. Ai-ai! but I have my revenge, for 
I have wired to her that you were here, and bade her 
hunt out your pale-faced lily in the country cottage 
and steal her away from you. Kill me now, if you 

A cry like that of a wounded animal at bay broke 
from Cleek's lips. 

Gunga Ramagee sprang forward. 

"Dog of a half-caste!" he spat out furiously, shak- 
ing the doctor's slim figure in his strong hands. "By 
the beard of my father, but you shall tell me where 
she is!" 

The doctor laughed, and in a very madness of 

"Dog of a half-caste! . . . By the beard of my 
father, but you shall tell me where she is!'" 


despair the young Hindoo struck blindly at the 
sneering mouth. 

There was a moment of awful silence. Then came 
the sound of a commotion without, the shouting of a 
hoarse, raucous voice, and instantly there was 
pandemonium. The door burst open, and a dis- 
hevelled, dirty figure burst into the room. 

Cleek took a quick step forward. 

"Dollops!" he cried in a sharp, hurt voice. 

The boy bounded toward him, his heart in his eyes. 

"Mr. Cleek, sir, guv'nor!" he bleated despairingly, 
clutching Cleek's hand. "Lumme, sir, but it's Miss 
Lome; she's bin sneaked off by some dirty Hindoos 
and Frenchmen. But I knows where she is! I 
knows where she is! I follered on behind, nipped 
round and slung on to the back of their bloomin' 
motor, and dru v strite to the place wiv 'em. At 
Wanstead it is, out beyond Croydon. I puts a 
couple of bobbies ter guard the 'ouse till we gets back. 
She's as safe as — as a ship on shore," he finished 

" Good ! " Cleek turned to Mr. Narkom and plucked 
his sleeve. " You will come, dear friend? " 

"To the death, Cleek." 

"Right. Good-bye, gentlemen, and good luck. 
It is now my turn for a mystery, but, please God, we'll 
solve it soon." 

As he passed, Gunga Ramagee caught his sleeve 
and let his eyes dwell thankfully upon Cleek's face. 

"Mr. Cleek," he said simply, "let me help. Let 

ine make some reparation. Azzisan says these devils 
may hurt Miss Lome if you attempt force. Let me 
accompany you. We will get into the house by 
stealth, and smuggle her out in disguise — a veil and 
yashmak will do it. Then, once she is safe, let 
the police raid the house if they will." 

Cleek's hand shot out and gripped the Hindoo's. 
His voice was huskv. 

"Thanks," he said brokenly. 

It was an hour later before Cleek and the Hindoo, 
both clad now in native robes, arrived at the house 
pointed out by Dollops. 

A native servant opened the door and the Hindoo 
swept impt riously by him. 

"I come from Setarun," he said softly, speaking in 
the liquid tones of his race. "The white prisoner is 
to be handed over to this man, his servant. Disguise 
her in the clothes he bears, and let her be dragged off 
quickly. The police are on your track." 

The man turned and led them upstairs. 

From below came the sound of laughter and 
voices; but above all was silent. 

Finally the man returned, leading by the hand a 
glim willowy figure, clad in the Indian garments of a 
lady of leisure. Cleek's heart leaped at sight of her, 
but he dared make no sign. 

"You are to be delivered into other hands," said 
the Hindoo abruptly, not daring to show any friend- 
liness, lest the man should suspect and give a sign. 

Ailsa shrank back .against the wall. 



"My God!" she sobbed in a low, terrified whisper. 
"What are they going to do to me? What? What? 
Where is he? Why does he not come? He can save 
me if any one can!" 

She sent her haunted eyes up into Cleek's face, 
and then something she saw there, under the painted 
tan and the queer garments he wore, brought a 
sudden light into her eyes. She turned to the man- 

" I am ready," she said softly, but all heaven was in 
her voice, and her eyes shone with a strange, new 

Then, soundlessly, like whispering shadows, they 
stole downstairs to the waiting car and to the liberty 
that lay without. 

702663 A 


IT TOOK Ailsa several days to get over the 
shock of her sojourn in Margot's house, and 
Cleek, who began fully to realize the extent of 
the hatred levelled not only against him but against 
what was dearer to him than his own life, the perfect 
woman whom he loved, was himself almost in despair. 
However, for a time, a truant peace reigned, the lull 
which usually comes before the breaking of the 
storm-clouds, and for a few short weeks it seemed 
as if Count Irma and Margot had exhausted their 

Ailsa, together with her dear friend Mrs. Hawkesley, 
was settled in the tiny riverside cottage, while Cleek 
and Dollops, in a houseboat anchored to the hunting 
stage at the bottom of the garden, found the time 
pass very pleasantly indeed. But all holidays must 
come to an end, and when Captain Hawkesley ar- 
rived from town for the week-end, it was to break 
the news that his business at the War Office being 
now completed, he had been obliged to book their 
passage to return to India. Young Lord Chepstow, 
now a lusty schoolboy, would be left at Harrow. It 
was only the thought that both Ailsa and Cleek 
himself would watch over his progress that recon- 



ciled the boy's mother to putting the seas between 

A day or so later found them back in town and, 
having completed their arrangements, a last visit was 
paid to Harrow. 

Although they devoted themselves one and all to 
forgetting the danger which hung over them, it was 
little Lord Chepstow himself who aroused fresh 
anxiety, by an unconscious revelation of their op- 
ponents' strategy. 

" We've got a new boy coming to us next term," 
he said, after demolishing his fourth Neapolitan ice 
with as much gusto as Dollops himself. "His 
uncle came down yesterday; he's a foreigner, comes 
from some potty little State or other, and wants his 
nephew to be introduced to society. A bit of a snob, 
eh, what?" he chuckled roguishly. "The Head 
brought him into our room, and the uncle asked all 
sorts of questions, and — wasn't it funny, Mother? 
I heard him say : 'Put him in with Milord Chepstow, 
and I pay you double, eh?' That rubbed the Head 
up, of course; still I believe I shall have to put up 
with the young beggar, because the uncle being a 
count and — I say, Miss Lome, what's up? Have I 
said anything?" He looked across at her, his eyes 
wide with amazement, for Ailsa had turned sud- 
denly white and shrank back in her chair like a 
whipped thing. 

"Count!" she murmured hastily. "Count! What 
was his name, dear, or don't you know? " 


" ' Fraid I didn't catch it. But he was a tall chap 
who looked as though he were in the army. Fierce 
moustache and all that. Regular foreigner. But 
his name slipped me," gave back the boy briskly. 

So there was no eluding him after all. Cleek's 
eyes met Ailsa 's across the little tea table. His lips 
shut. Irma must know only too well that with 
Mrs. Hawkesley on the high seas, Ailsa herself, as 
well as Cleek, would be much in the company of his 
schoolboy whom already they had rescued from a 
dual danger. when, as a baby boy, he was the sacred 
son of Brahma, and as such was sought and nearly 
killed by the king of Apaches, Gaston Merode him- 
self. Yes, Count Irma had indeed banked on their 
love and loyalty only too well, and Ailsa was no whit 
surprised when Cleek, pulling out his watch, said 
casually : 

"Well, youngster, I'm going to leave you to see 
your mother and father off, while Miss Lome and I 
take a trip down to town." And with a queer little 
smile looping up one corner of his mouth, Cleek turned 
on his heel and forged down to the nearest garage, 
there to hire a taxi that should take them back to 
town and the added protection of Scotland Yard. 

He found Mr. Narkom in a state bordering upon 
insanity, for that worthy gentleman, not content 
with caring for the safety of his famous ally and the 
woman he loved, had now involved himself in the 
unravelling of a series of mysterious occurrences 
which threatened to outwit him by their very cunning. 


And indeed, on the following day, in spite of the 
fact that his thermometer was registering eighty 
degrees in the shade, and that his forehead was 
literally streaming with perspiration, the Super- 
intendent paced the floor of his private office in 
Scotland Yard in a state of keen excitement. As 
Big Ben's last, sonorous note of twelve came over 
the intervening distance, he whipped round at the 
opening of the door behind him, and nodded curtly 
to Detective-sergeant Hammond, who stood in the 
frame of the open doorway.* 

"Well!" rapped out the Superintendent in a fury 
of impatience. "It was only a petty gas explosion, 
wasn't it? Speak up, man ! It's not another bomb 

Detective-sergeant Hammond shook his head. 

"I'm afraid it is, sir," said he gravely. "That's 
the fourth time this month there's been an explosion 
at that house in Harebourn Square, and this time is 
worst of all, for the house has been empty since the 
last explosion, when those French people rented it 
and soon afterward moved away. There's not a 
stick or shred of furniture in the place, no gas or 
light laid on. What the Count wanted to go there 
for at all beats me." 

"So it does me," fumed the Superintendent, 
mopping his bald patch desperately. "There's 
only one explanation, of course. But there, what's 
the use of talking ! He was killed directly he entered 
the front room, you say?" 


"Yes, sir. He had reached the middle o! the' 
room, when there came a flash, and he was IriDei 
at once, as if a bomb had struck him on the head! * 
Nothing passed through the air, shot or bomb, tint 
we can both swear to. I can't believe there mi 
any bomb hidden in that room, because the officer 
on point duty went over it only the preceding day. 
The agent happened to be passing, and they got 
talking about the house; the agent, Metting and 
Veil's young man, whipped out his key, and they 
went into the very room, sir. The sergeant sayi 
it's all covered with linoleum, the people never 
took it up. That's all I can make of it, sir. Shall 
I tell Lennard to bring round the limousine, sir?" 

"Confound the limousine!" cried Mr. Narkom, 
excitedly hitting his hands together. "It's Mr. 
Geek I want, Hammond; and what the deuce hat 
become of him Heaven alone knows! I've rung and 
rung that blessed telephone till I shouldn't wonder 
if the exchange refused to give another reply. And 
now I've sent Lennard round after him. Ah!" as 
the sound of footsteps rang in the stone corridor, 
"that is Lennard now. Found him, my lad?" 

Leonard's hand went up to his forehead in grave 
salute, but his face wore a worried, anxious look. 

"No, sir," said he. "No, Mr. Narkom. I drove 
down to Clarges Street with Inspector Petrie, made 
up as yourself, to see why no one was answering your 
'phone; but all I could learn from the charwoman 
was that the gentleman and young Dollops went 


off to Hampstead Heath this morning, and they 
haven't got back yet." 

" Hampstead Heath be jiggered!" said Mr. Nar- 
kom with an irritability born of long suspense. "I 
know that means he has gone out for the day. 
Think of it! Playing round Hampstead Heath, 
with the law waiting, and a case like this in hand! 
Cinnamon! but it's enough to send a man crazy to 
think of it!" 

" Yes, sir," agreed Lennard sympathetically. " But 
he can't intend to spend the night there, sir. Not, 
at least, unless he has gone clean daft." 

"Which he has, the astounding beggar, over 
every blessed leaf and bud and flower in the neigh- 
bourhood!" snapped the Superintendent in a half- 
angry tone. "But every minute is precious; besides, 
there's the personal danger of the thing. To think 
of him going off in a lonely spot like that! Just to 
think of it, with those Maurevanian johnnies on 
the look-out for him, to say nothing of the Apaches, 
who owe him a pretty grudge now. Meanwhile, I 
am here, prevented from going home till goodness 
knows what hour to-night; and I promised Mrs. 
Narkom to take her to a theatre, too! Two stalls 
wasted, to say nothing of a good dinner! And the 
only man capable of handling this diabolical case, 
capable of getting to the bottom " 

He stopped short, and sucked in his breath as 
the sharp, insistant ring of the telephone bell caused 
him to fairly jump and fling himself across the room. 


And the softly whistled strains of the opening bars 
of "God Save the King" sent him into a very trans- 
port of delight. 

" That you, old chap ! " he half laughed, half cried, 
as he recognized the sound. "Thank Heaven you 
have got back at last! I've had a nice old fright, 
I can tell you. What's that? You're going out 
shopping now with Miss Lome? Oh, but, dear old 
chap, do put it off. I'm sure Miss Lome will forgive 
you. We're in a dreadful hole. What? Yes, fear- 
ful. What's that? You'll meet me? Oh, good man! 
Good man! You'll have a laurel wreath for this, I 
swear! Good-bye." 

Still in a state of excitement that went ill with the 
heat of the day, the Superintendent plunged across 
the room, dragged on his coat, seized his hat, and 
went down and out into the street, where Lennard 
and the limousine awaited him. 

"Mr. Cleek's meeting us at Oxford Circus, corner 
of Portland Street, Lennard. Right-hand side. 
Just a minute." 

He scribbled a hasty message to leave for Petrie 
when that worthy should return, jumped into the 
throbbing car, banged the door after him, and off 
they went dashing up Parliament Street, along 
Cockspur Street, pell-mell to the Haymarket and 
the meeting-place, at a speed that set the constables 
on point duty winking in astonishment. It still 
lacked five minutes of being a quarter after twelve 
when the limousine whizzed up to Portland Street; 


and there was Geek, immaculately attired, standing 
in deep conversation with Ailsa, who was leaning 
out of a taxi and talking to him with affectionate 

Mr. Narkom leaned forward and unlatched the door 
of the limousine; Cleek, seeing, raised his hat and, 
with a word to the taxi driver, stepped back, mingling 
with the crowd of sightseers and shoppers. Another 
minute, and he had come abreast of the limou- 

"All right, Lennard. Give her her head, lad, and 
make for wherever you're bound," he said cheerfully, 
as he flashed in and closed the door. Even as he 
dropped into his seat the car wheeled round and with 
a final scrunch rocketed away into the shining road- 

" Well, here I am, you old fidget. Sony I wasn't 
'on tap* the minute you rang. Didn't get back to 
my diggings until ten minutes ago. Dollops and I 
had an adventure, and that delayed us." 

"Oh, yes, I know. Lennard told me. Been 
traipsing round Hampstead Heath, and a day like 
this, too! Enough to suffocate a black." 

"Had to, old man. I went house hunting for a 
friend, a friend of Miss Lome's, by the way, and I 
was to have taken her to lunch this afternoon but for 
you, you old spoil sport. I had an adventure, too, 
as I told you. I came across a poor devil of a fellow 
on the Heath. He'd evidently been knocked down 
and injured about the head; but all he could do was 


to writhe and twist about, his brain too badly in- 
jured to give any account of himself, or what had 
happened. And so, naturally, we had to stop/' 

"Oh, yes, you would! Just the sort of sOly, 
sentimental thing you would do!" interposed the 
Superintendent, for once in his life rendered irritable 
with his soul's idol, which was hardly to be wondered 
at, for the day had been one of strange happenings. 
The integrity and the efficacy of his beloved Yard 
were at stake, and the Superintendent was almost 
beside himself. 

" You might have been blown up with a bomb or 
knifed, but that didn't matter, I suppose, as long as 
you could fuss over some one else. Besides, I've 
got trouble enough at Hampstead as it is.' 9 

"Hallo! Hallo!" laughed Cleek, turning amused 
eyes on the heated face of his friend. "What's 
rubbed your feathers the wrong way, my friend? 
As -Dollops would say, 'You've got the fair old 
'ump,' I can see. Just because I wasn't on hand 
directly you rang for me, like a well-behaved parlour 
maid, and spent an hour looking after a poor devil 
of an injured chap." 

The Superintendent fairly snorted in his rage and 

"Ob, hang the man!" he flung out, half laugh- 
ingly. "I don't care a jot about him. But don't 
mind me to-day. I'm nearly crazy with anxiety. 
And to think I needed you so but couldn't get at you 
because of some petty tramp or other! Don't talk 


about it; I can't think of anything but this infernal 
mystery. To think that a man can be murdered in a 
perfectly empty house, an absolutely empty room, 
right under the telescopes of two of our own men 
told off to watch him, and who have no more idea 
than Queen Anne how it was done; and, in addition 
to that, complete plans of fortifications destroyed 
worth a fortune." 

Cleek sat up suddenly and threw out his chin. 

"Hallo! that sounds interesting," said he with a 
flicker of the eyebrows. "An empty house, eh? 
Whereabouts, pray?" 

"In Harebourn Square, Hampstead, strangely 
enough. Why, what on earth " 

For Cleek drew himself up suddenly, his brows 
puckered, and his face very grave. 

"A queer coincidence," he muttered. "But let's 
have the details of the case. When and where and 
how did the affair begin?" 

"Yesterday, at least as far as I personally am con- 
cerned," replied the Superintendent. "It was some- 
where about ten o'clock yesterday morning, when I 
had a special message from the War Office that they 
were sending some one to whom I was to pay special 
attention — no less a personage than the Alterian 
Ambassador, Count Estamar, I daresay you have 
heard of him, Cleek?" 

"I have, as it happens," admitted that gentleman 
with a faint smile. "I believe, in his younger days, 
he was attached to the Maurevanian consulate, and 


represented the Ambassador at several State func- 
tions. He came over here for the Coronation; then, 
later, he was made Ambassador here. Surely he has 
not been getting into any trouble over secret papers. 
He is too honourable a man for any proceedings of 
that sort, although I believe he is not half so wealthy 
as he ought to be." 

The Superintendent shrugged his shoulders. 

"Oh, he wasn't soliciting the Yard's aid on his own 
account, old chap, but for his son, Count Egon 
Estamar, a young man of about twenty-five. That's 
where the trouble lies, and " 

But Cleek struck in upon him suddenly. 

"Don't tell me anything has happened to that 
bonny boy," he interposed with a little, anxious 
sigh. "I remember him well by name. Supposed 
to be the handsomest, bravest chap that ever donned 
the Emperor's uniform or spoke the Alterian tongue. 
Engaged to be married, too, to Adela von Altburg, 
his cousin, and countess in her own right. It's not 
that boy that has been hurt?" 

"But it is," said the Superintendent sadly. "Hie 
was killed little more than an hour ago; that's the 
amazing part of it!" 

"Killed!" Cleek hunched up his shoulders and 
gave vent to a little clicking sound; then: "Go on, 
pray. What did Count Estamar want with you?" 
he said in a quiet voice. 

"He wanted police protection for his son as far as 
Dover on his way to Paris." 


€€ Police protection?" rapped out Cleek, with an 
inquiring rise of his eyebrows. "In Heaven's name, 
what for? He wasn't in any danger, was he? Or 
was he carrying special papers?" 

"That's just it, Cleek; he was carrying the original 
text of several secret treaties and fortifications. The 
Alterian Government had been having them drawn 
up here in the consulate, and Count Estamar, the 
father, had a lively dread lest the nature of the con- 
tents should have leaked out, and an attack be made 
upon the young man." 

"One moment, please. Did any one know that 
these treaties were being copied? Any of the clerks 
or attaches aware that he was going to make that 

"Only one, his secretary, Fritz Tarleschen, a 
young man absolutely devoted to the family, and 
equally incapable of betraying his master, even if he 
were ungrateful enough." 

"Why ungrateful?" asked Cleek quickly. 

"Because he owes his life to young Count Egon. 
He had fallen overboard from a pleasure yaoht, 
and Count Egon jumped in after him and rescued 
him. But the immersion had injured his throat, and 
he was rendered incapable of speech. He acted, 
however, as a sort of combination secretary and com- 
panion to Count Egon." 

"A bonny boy, indeed!" said Cleek with an ap- 
proving nod of the head. "It isn't every man who 
risks his own life for a total stranger like that. Well, 


go on. It doesn't seem as if anything could leak out 
if he were unimpeachable." 

"Oh, yes; they are sure of him. It was PriU 
Tarleschen who copied the treaties and prepared the 
plans, and got them ready for his young master to 
take to Dover this morning by the 11. 40 from Victoria. 
And so — I say, what the dickens are you muttering 
about? I don't believe you're listening." 

Cleek gave a dry little smile and jerked up his head. 

"Oh, yes, I am, Mr. Narkom," said he serenely. 
" But that name— Tarleschen— h'm ! Tarleschen; it 
sounds familiar. Where the deuce have I heard it 

"Why, the 'Tarleschen Salts/ perhaps. It's 
been advertised pretty freely. Nothing to do with 
our man, but it makes the name sound familiar." 

"Very likely. Yet still— but of course not! He 
couldn't speak. H'm. No." He pinched up his dim 
reflectively. " Well, go on. Then what happened?" 

"Well, when they were ready, Count Estamar 
came down to me privately, and asked me to appoint 
two plain-clothes men to watch over his son from the 
time he left the Alterian consulate, here, at eleven 
o clock, until he reached Dover, where the papers 
were to be handed over to another envoy. The 
Count thought that he could trust these valuable 
papers to no one better than his own son." 

"Certainly; but if he was so afraid of an attempt 
being made on them, why didn't he go himself, in- 
stead of sending the boy?" 


Mr* Narkom frowned. 

"Yes," he agreed musingly; "I thought of that 
myself. But his reasons were quite natural ones. 
Be was undergoing a severe attack of gout, and, as a 
matter of fact, had to be lifted in and out of his car- 
nage to come in to me." 

"Rather a wonder he didn't send for you at the con- 
sulate, wasn't it?" 

"No. He didn't want his son to know that he had 

Invoked the aid of the police, so " 

Oho!" said Cleek, with a strong rising inflection. 
So the young man didn't know he was being 
watched over, eh? And who did you entrust with 
that peculiar duty, Mr. Narkom?" 
"Petrie and Hammond." 

"IFm! They're trustworthy enough, if not par- 
ticularly brainy. I should have thought there 
wouldn't be much chance of ' spoofing ' them, as the 
saying is. But you never know, as the old maid 
said when the young man winked at her." 

"Well, it seems, as far as I can make out," went 
on Mr. Narkom gravely, "that young Estamar came 
out of the consulate, after receiving the papers; had a 
taxicab summoned and directed to Victoria in order 
to catch the 11.40 Dover express. Our men fol- 
lowed at a discreet distance. When he reached Gros- 
venor Road, however, he evidently gave fresh direc- 
tions to the driver, and off he went to this empty 
bouse in Harebourn Square. The next thing he was 
blown to pieces before the very eyes of Petrie and 


Hammond. No sight or sound of a bomb or shot; 
not a soul in sight but the two police officers; the 
house and room empty, as they could see by their 
glasses. And there's the whole case in a nubhcL 
What do you make of it, old chap?" 

"H'm!" said Cleek. "A remarkably thick shell 
to crack — that's what / make of it. And what has 
been done so far?" 

"Nothing/' admitted the Superintendent, some- 
what apologetically. "I had to communicate with 
Count Estumar, who is almost crazed with grief; he 
has had the body identified and removed by special 
permission, to his own house, and " 

"I presume you are taking me there now. Is that 
so?" struck in Cleek with a smile. 

Mr. Narkom fidgeted with his watch chain. 

"Well, yes," he admitted. "Count Estamar 
asked if Mr. Cleek could be induced to take the case 
up. Sir Henry Wilding had told him about you. 
So I said I would do my best, and see if you would." 

Cleek paused a moment and sat studying the 
distance through the square of window, with a ridge 
between his brows. Finally: 

"Oh, well!" said he in an even tone. "I've a 
fancy to be out of town myself, so you might put 
Lieutenant Deland on the job this time; and, with 
your permission, as you've literally kidnapped me, 
I'll use your locker, and fix that gentleman up. 
Tell Lennard to drive round through the park to 
Curzon Street; that is, unless you are going to the 


nsulate? No? Well, all right, then." And while 
r. Narkom gave the necessary instructions, his 
mous ally pulled down the blinds, whipped open 
at useful receptacle, and was soon busy in trans- 
rming himself into the smart young army officer who 
longed to a regiment that never existed. 


HERE we are at last/' said Mr. Xarkom, as the 
limousine drew up in front of a house in 
Curzon Street, which house agents would 
fitly describe as "a palatial residence.' 9 This wis 
the Count Estaniar's town house, but it presented a 
funereal appearance, with its closely drawn blinds 
and dark, wooden shutters. 

The Superintendent jumped out of the limousine, 
and with Cleek at his heels, went clattering up the 
wide stone steps to the great front door. Two 
minutes later they were ushered into the presence ot 
Count Friedrich Estamar himself. 

There are few sadder sights than a grief-stricken 
parent, and as Cleek looked on the haggard, de- 
spairing face and silver hair, his heart beat in sym« 
pathy. A mist swam up in front of his eyes for an 
instant, blotting out everything but this sad, sorrow- 
ing old man. 

Then Count Estamar fairly leaped forward and 
threw himself upon Cleek. 

"Thank Heaven you have come so swiftly. But, 
alas! it is too late," he said in a low, broken voice. 
"I cannot realize it yet. Forgive my grief, Lieu- 
tenant — Lieutenant Deland, I think you said, Mr. 



Narkom? It has all happened so suddenly, the full 
horror of it is hardly believable. He was my only 
son, my bonny boy. So brave, so true, and now 
this — this would make it appear that he was a 
traitor to his country, a traitor to me, who trusted 
him with something dearer to me than my life — my 
honour. Oh, it is terrible, awful!" 

Cleek let his eyes rest upon the stricken man with 
an infinite pity in their depths. But he said nothing. 
And finally the Count continued: 

"Only the preceding night he swore to die sooner 
than let any harm come to his charge — only the pre- 
ceding night." 

"He may have been lured there," Cleek said 
gently, and even as he spoke came a sound which 
made him switch round on his heel, the sound of a 
woman's laugh, short and sharp and hard, which 
grated horribly upon his ears. 

He turned to look into the eyes of a girl, sweet- 
faced and smiling, like a young lily sprung up sud- 
denly in the darkness of the sombre room. 

She was standing between the crimson plush cur- 
tains that screened off one room from the other, and 
it was evident that she had heard Cleek's remark. 
He did not need the introduction to tell him that 
this was Adela, Countess von Altburg, nor did he 
need a keen eye to detect that she was suffering not 
only the pangs of grief, but of wounded love as well. 

"Loned there, you said, Lieutenant Deland?" 
she reiterated, when they had seated themselves. 


" Then why did he have a key handy, and why was be 
talking so earnestly to a woman, promising to meet 
her at that same house only this very morning, so 
engrossed that he never heard me call to him? He 
had locked himself in the study here so that he should 
not be disturbed. Lured, indeed! Oh, no; there is 
no help for it. He was a traitor, a traitor to his 
country and to me, and he deserved his fate. But he 
did not get the papers; at least, I saved our country 
from that." 

The old Count sprang to his feet suddenly and 
seized her arm. 

"But he did, Adda!" cried he in a strangely 
blurred, forsaken voice. "My God! child, why did 
you let him leave the house at all? Why did you 
permit this dishonour to fall upon us, if you knewf" 

She looked at him for a moment with horror-stricken 

"What do you mean, Uncle Friedrich?" she said 
swiftly. "Egon didn't have them then, he said so; 
I heard him with my own ears, and I nearly went mad. 
But directly he had gone I flew to the 'phone and told 
you, begging you to hold the package over, and you 
promised me you would. That is why I never 
thought of them till now." 

"But I wasn't there," broke in the Count dis- 
jointedly. "I had a message from the War Office, 
and went across there, unwillingly enough, for my 
gout had been giving me a bad half hour. So I 
locked up the papers in the safe and locked up my 


office as well, and went over, to find out afterward 
that a mistake had been made. When I got back, 
I found my son had come and gone again, taking 
the papers with him.'* 

Cleek lifted a silencing hand. 

"How could he do that," he said quietly, in his 
smooth, even tones, "if you had locked up the safe 
yourself, Count? Had he a duplicate key?" 

"Yes. I told you I had trusted my son with 
something dearer than life. That was it. He pos- 
sessed duplicate keys to everything that I had that 
was of value." 
x see, x see. 

Cleek stood a moment, pinching his chin reflec- 
tively. Then he switched round upon the Countess. 

"The woman?" he said serenely, "I suppose you 
do not know her name?" 

" As it happens, I do," threw in the Countess with 
a fierce little laugh. "Oh, I know it was hardly 
honourable, but I listened; you see, I loved him 
better than life itself, and when I heard him speak to 
her in endearing terms, I think my heart stopped 
beating. I could have killed her with my bare 

hands, that cat of a Frenchwoman. I " Her 

voice trailed off into silence, for, of a sudden, Cleek's 
head went up, and a queer light shone in his eyes. 

"Tell me her name," he said quietly, his eyes upon 
her face. 

"He called her Margot. I do not know what the 
last name is." 


"M argot!" 

The word sprang involuntarily from Cleek's lipi> 
Mr. Narkom echoed it blank!} 7 . 

Then the Countess gave a little sharp, intakes 

" You know her, too ! " she said with some suspicion 
in her voice, " Who is she? What is she? " 

"Head of the worst gang of Continental spies in 
existence," gave back Cleek grimly. "That's who 
she is — the devil! And if that poor boy got into 
her cursed clutches " 

He stopped suddenly, and let the rest of the 
sentence go by default. For the Count, with a little 
groan, had sunk back into his chair and covered his 
face with his shaking hands. 

" That accounts for the delay in getting through to 
you on the telephone," cried the Countess in a very 
frenzy of despair. "It must have been quite ten 
minutes before you answered me " 

"Ample time for Egon to have got round there 
and imitated my voice," gave back the Count in t 
hushed voice. " My God ! I would rather have died 
before this came to me; rather have died than that he, 
my son, should have proved himself a traitor." 

Cleek waited a moment, and then threw in a qi k£ 

"What country are these treaties affecting. Count 
Estamar? Or can't you tell me?" he said quietly. 

'A little kingdom called Maurevania. It is com- 
bining with Italy against us, and I am not betraying 


my State secret in telling you that if Italy could have 
lestroyed them, so as to leave no trace behind, they 
irould have paid untold gold. They want further 
time, and the loss of these papers means that they 
bave got it. But what has that to do with my son? " 

"Nothing, save that it might be that Power behind 
Margot," said Cleek. "But we shall see. Mean- 
while, Mr. Narkom has told me about your son's 
companion, Mr. Tarleschen. Might I see him for a 
few moments?" 

Count Estamar's face became even graver. 

** It is a veritable house of misfortune," he said 
sadly. "Poor Fritz! Though, as a matter of fact, 
it is far better that he is unconscious of this last 
shock. He loved Egon better than a brother, he 
dolized him, as, indeed, we all did." 

"Yes, yes; but where is he?" rapped out Cleek; 
tnd the Count looked up in surprise at his im- 

"Tarleschen had the misfortune to be knocked 
iown when crossing Regent Street late last night; 
the car got away in the darkness. Egon, who must 
lave been motoring down there half an hour after 
le left me, was passing at the time, and his horror on 
leeing Fritz injured can be imagined. He pushed 
lis way through the crowd to the boy, picked him up, 
ind drove him down to Charing Cross Hospital. 
Afterward he rang me up and told me all about it. 
[ intended to go down and see the lad this morning, 
nit this " He stopped abruptly v ,and said no 


more. Clock, with a sudden intaking of the breath, I 
leaned forward and bent his eyes upon the old mn'i I 
face. I 

" Did any message come? " he said at last. I 

" No, there was no post at all/ 9 put in Countess I 
Adcla, "and only Egon's new hat, sent on at the hi I 
minute from Leath's. It came, as a matter of fad, j 
while he was in the study, and was the cause of nj I 
being nearly discovered. Egon unlocked the door ] 
and tried the hat on then and there, going down- 
stairs in it." I 

The curious little one-sided smile looped up the 
corner of Cleek's mouth. 

"Well, there's nothing to be gained from that," he 
murmured in a low voice. "And so, Maurevania, 
we shall cross swords again ! " 

Then he turned abruptly to the Count. 

"Count," he said quietly, "foigive me if I inflict 
an unpleasant duty on you, but I must see the body 
of your son. I understand it has been brought here, 
and I do not wish to ask the Countess " 

The old man shivered, and rose reluctantly. Bat 
before he could speak the young Countess had inter- 

"No, no, lieutenant. Pray do not consider my 
feelings. I am no weak, helpless girl. Do not give 
yourself fresh pain, Uncle Friedrich" — she turned 
almost caressingly to the old man — "I will lead 
Lieutenant Deland to the room." 

She switched about, her long, trailing dress drag- 


ng behind her like the tail feathers of a peacock; 
id the two men followed her, half admiring her for 
er courage, half wondering at her callousness. 
"A woman scorned," muttered Cleek; but he said 
Dthing more, only bent over the mutilated body of 
hat had evidently been a man of fine build and 
jure. It was not a pleasant duty, and directly he 
id seen it and examined the one arm left uninjured, 
i replaced the sheet, stooping to pick up some shreds 
• cotton-wool which had fallen down at the side of 
te hastily improvised bier. 

The sight of a brand-new leather hat box seemed 
rivet his attention, and he picked it up. 
" This is the box, I suppose? A nice box. I could 
> with that myself," he said; and the Countess Adela 
oked at him scornfully. 

" You are welcome to it," she said bitingly. "Any- 
ing that he ever touched should be burnt, if I had 
y way. A traitor to his country, a traitor to the 
ther who worshipped him, and to me who trusted 
m! Come; the very room stifles me. I regret 
> thing — nothing!" she cried fiercely, and turning 
>ruptly, left the room. 

Cleek smiled oddly; then, to Mr. Narkom's 
tense surprise, picked up the hat box and brought 
downstairs with him. 

In the hall, a ray of sunlight had streamed through 
le drawn blinds, and, striking one of the cut-glass 
•isms of the chandelier in the high roof , sent many 
ttle shafts of rainbow-coloured light zigzagging 


across tlie marble floor. At sight of them Ckeftl* 
face went suddenly gray, curiously pinched, cop- 
iously tired. W 

"Impossible!" he said softly. "Utterly impof-r 
sible! And yet, if it is " W 

He plunged down the stairs, at the bottom of whkk V 
stood the Count looking the very picture of grief tti t 
sorrow. V 

44 Count," he said in a strangely quick voice, U I 1 
should like to make a few inquiries at the consulate, I 
if you don't mind, for some possible dues; and 1 1 
may have something to report at the end of the day. I 
Thanks. Come along, Mr. Narkom." 1 

He scuttled down the steps, followed by the be- 1 
wildered Superintendent, and gave the direction to ! 
Lennard to " streak it" to Harebourn Square. 

Lennard "streaked it" forthwith, and as the door 
closed behind them and they were alone, Mr. Narkom 
leaned forward and laid a hand upon Cleek's arm. 

"Any ideas, old chap?" he said eagerly. But he 
hardly expected the reply Cleek gave him. 

"Heaps!" said that gentleman enigmatically. 
"Heaps. But the solution lies in the rainbow, and 
those who made it, and if I only knew whether Count 
Egon used scented soap or not, I should be able to 
tell you a good deal more. At present, you shall 
go on to Harebourn Square, and I wiH join you there 
in half an hour; if I haven't discovered something 
then, you may enjoy the tremendous pleasure of 
calling me a silly ass." 


Mr. Narkom laughed, then he grunted admiringly, 
and as the limousine had slowed down on account of 
the traffic, Cleek unlatched the door, flashed it open, 
flashed it shut again, and he was gone, hat box and 
all, leaving the puzzled Superintendent to make 
what he could out of a jumble of remarks, chief 
among which was a ridiculous allusion to "scented 


IT WASa good half hour before Cleek arrived at 
the house in Harebourn Square, around which 
had been placed a cordon of police to keep back 
the curious crowd; but at a word from Mr. Narkom, 
who had been on tenterhooks till he saw the approach 
of his ally, this was broken to allow Cleek to pass 

Strangely enough, very little damage had been 
done to the actual room, and Cleek was able to 
examine it thoroughly. As Hammond had said, 
the floor was covered with one unbroken piece of 
linoleum, and it was self-evident that the invisible 
death had come from above and not below. It was 
a well-nigh impenetrable mystery, and Cleek stood 
looking down on the mess of plaster and bricks, 
pondering upon it with a little ridge between his 
brows. Suddenly a particle of black caught his eye, 
and he swooped down on it joyously with a little 
yap of delight. 

"Got it!" he shouted. "Blithering idiot that I 
am! Why didn't I guess it before? That stuff 

could be knocked about until Of course n He 

plunged out of the room, and down the steps, until 
he got to the line of policemen. 




"I want the man on point duty," he flung out; 
then his eyes lit up again as a tall man stepped for- 
ward and saluted. "You, Boyce, is it? That's 
food. A man of your intelligence is bound to have 
noted something in this case. How many houses 
are there in this square altogether, and who live in 
them? Do you know?" 

"Yes, sir, as it happens, I do," was the alert re- 
sponse. " There are only eight. We have had this 
house in view a long time, and the other inhabitants 
of the eight houses are much annoyed about their 
privacy being broken in upon like this. This is the 

He handed it to Cleek, who perused it with a sort of 
intensified eagerness, then handed it back to the man. 
"No use climbing up that tree, then. Were there 
any suspicious characters in the square this morning 
— organ-grinders, or carts — when the explosion oc- 

"No, sir; only a pantechnicon." 
Anybody moving?" 

No, sir; that's what made me look at it, not ex- 
pecting to see one in a closed square like this, that and 
the funny look of the driver's seat. I took the name 
and address. Here it is, sir. Dallington & Co., 
Fumival Street. But when the explosion occurred, 
of course I rushed off, and I expect the van drove 
away, for I didn't see it again." 

"H'm! And what was the funny part about the 
van's appearance?" put in Cleek placidly, twisting 


up in his fingers the tiny scrap of black stuff that lay 
in his hand. 

Boyce gave an apologetic laugh. 

"Nothing much, sir," said he, "but it strode me 
queer for it to be lined throughout with sine I 
couldn't help but think it was pretty cold to sit 

upon, and with a door at their back -"Why, lor' 

lumine, what is it, sir?" for Cleek gave vent tot 
little cry of unalloyed delight. 

"The clever devils!" he rapped out sharply. "Tke 
clever devils! Splendid, Boyce, my lad. A hieky 
thing for you. This means promotion." Then he 
turned to the Superintendent, who was standing 
near. "I know all I want to know now, Mr. Nar- 
kom," he said serenely, and straightway made for 
the limousine. 

But at the door of it he paused, pulled out his note- 
book, scribbled something on a leaf, and put it into 
Mr. Narkom's hand. "Find out if that address is 
right, and bring it to me at the Count's house in 
Curzon Street. I've got just one call to make, and 
I'll join you there in half an hour." 

Then he hopped into the limousine and was off in a 
jiffy, pelting down the road at a pace that ate up the 
distance like a cat lapping cream. 

And it was barely half an hour later when the 
Superintendent, pale with excitement, rushed up to 
the door of the house in Curzon Street, and was 
admitted once more into the presence of (Jount 
Estamar and the Countess Adela. As he did so, 


tere came the whirr of a motor, and to his immense 
lief "Lieutenant Deland," immaculate as ever, 
epped from it, and mounted the steps, smiling 

"Right, was I, Mr. Narkom?" he queried, smil- 
igly , as he entered the room and made his way to the 
uperintendent's side. 

"Good lord! yes. Right as rain, old chap. The 
ospital authorities had never even heard of the 
scident, much less seen him. 9 ' 

"Good! And while you have been losing a 
itient at one hospital, I have been finding one at 
lother." He turned back to the door and opened 
. Outside, there was a confused hubbub of voices, 
id in the doorway appeared two servants, half 
irrying the bandaged figure of a man . 

**Egon!" cried both the Count and Countess to- 
other; and they sped to him like two arrows impelled 
y a single bow. 

Traitor or not, it was evident that affection still 
signed in the hearts of both father and fiancee 
>r this man who had faced death so shortly be- 


Get him to bed quickly," interposed Cleek, 
or the doctors will not answer for his ultimate 
■covery. See; they are waiting." He waved to the 
oor, where appeared a silk-hatted figure and two 
o ital nurses, who, in a twinkling, had recovered 
k .r patient and carried him off to a room upstairs to 
inch a soft-footed servant led them. 


"But what does it mean? Who is that other?*] 
Count Estamar made a gesture as referring to tkj 
dead man upstairs. 

"Who should it be/* gave back Cleek grimly, 
"but the traitor, the ingrate, Gustave MoseDc, 
alias Fritz Tarlcschen, hoist with his own petard." 

"Fritz! My God! Fritzl" broke out the Count 
excitedly. "It is incredible — impossible! Fribl 
Then does it mean that Egon, my son, is not, after 
all " 

"A — traitor," concluded Cleek softly, with a ten- 
der smile. "No, Count, no traitor comes from 
your line, after all. The bonny boy! How waa it 
possible that such as he could betray his country? 
No, Countess von Altburg, you let your jealousy run 
away with you when you fancied it was your lover 
talking to the head of the Apache gang. Indeed, 
it was Tarleschen, clad in his clothing, and " 

"But he could not speak," protested the girl, her 
eyes shining. 

"He pretended he could not," was the grim repty. 
"But he could speak well enough when, having bor- 
rowed Count Egon's car, he followed in the wake of 
his beloved young master, and, having seen him run 
down by a member of the Apache gang, came for- 
ward and identified him as Fritz Tarleschen. Then, 
like a good Samaritan, he offered to drive him down 
to the hospital. That he did not do so, Mr. Narkoin 
has just proved; but I was doubly sure, because I 
picked Count Egon up myself, stripped of all his 


agings, on Hampstead Heath this morning, and 
>ve him to the Cottage Hospital there. The only 
1 he could say was 'Tarleschen.' He was evi- 
ly crossing the road to get to his friend when he 
knocked down. I reckoned that it was his own 
e till I heard of the other accident. It was 
eschen's idea to leave him to die on the Heath, 
re he threw him out of the car, so that he could 
e up like him and sell the plans to the French 
i. He must have had a fright when the Countess 
Altburg rang up at the consulate. 
Jnfortunately for our friend, the Italian spies 
had their eye on these papers, and had evidently 
d out that Count Egon was going to take them; 
they determined to experiment with their new 
latest discovery, the ultra-violet rays. YouVe 

the diagram of the spectrum, Countess, and, 
ou know, white light is composed of the seven 
oatic colours; but there are other rays on either 
of the visible spectrum — those on the red being 

rays, and on the violet, the chemical, cathode 
Rikitgen rays, and smaller ones still, known col- 
rely as the ultra-violet rays. Now, given the 
, exploding materials, these rays will go right 
jgh bricks, stone, earth, aluminum, or anything 
you may care to experiment on, but are stopped 
inc. So when I found that a zinc-cased pan- 
[licon had stopped outside the house on the other 
of the square, I knew what had happened. Yet, 
ich little things do big events hang, and had not 


Tarleschen stopped to steal the Count's hat, even 
then he would have escaped. 

" What's that, Mr. Narkom? What had the bat 
got to do with it? Everything, for it was lined with 
the new gun cotton, which is composed largely of 
nitryl, and can be handled as roughly as you please 
until the disintegrating powers of the chemical rays 
of light are applied. I found a piece of the hat, and 
examined the hat box, which was obviously one of 
foreign make, and not, therefore, belonging to 
Leath's, of Oxford Street. It hardly needed my 
inquiry there to tell me that they had sent neither 
boy nor hat box. Probably the telephone was 
tapped, and when Mr. Tarleschen laid his plans with 
Margot, the Maurevanians, acting with the Italian 
spies, followed on with their death-dealing pantechni- 
con. I expect they reckoned to wipe out the French 
spies. At any rate, they didn't attain their object" 

Cleek stopped, and fumbling in his pocket, brought 
out an officially sealed envelope, upon which Count 
Estamar threw himself and opened it with trembling 

"Where — where was it?" he exclaimed, as he ran 
the precious papers through his fingers, as if to assure 
himself of their actual presence. 

Cleek's eyes twinkled. 

"In Count Egon's red flannel chest protector, 
which Tarleschen never thought of touching. I 
expect he must have had some fears himself, and 
possibly he came back and left a dummy copy in the 


>nsulate, and sewed up the real things next to his 
wu brave young heart. With care he should pull 
1 rough, and he never should know how he was mis- 
ldged by those nearest and dearest to him." 

The Count looked at the young Countess, the 
lountess sent her eyes back to the old Count's; 
aen their heads came together. 

Cleek turned away. Who was he but an outsider 
[> intrude upon their joy? He smiled serenely at the 

"What's that, Mr. Narkom? The soap?" said 
e. "Why, when I picked up my patient, he smelt 
trongly of soap scented with ' Ambr6 Ideal, ' but the 
upposed Count did not. To make absolutely sure, 
owever, I rang up his valet. The answer was 
Yes.' His master was particularly partial to a 
ertain pink-coloured soap, somewhat highly scented, 
rhich he acquired from Paris. So there, you see, 
s the whole matter in a nutshell." 

He turned back once more to where the old Count 
tood looking at him out of grateful, tear-wet eyes, 
rith the Countess Adela clinging to his arm. 

"Lieutenant," said that gentleman brokenly, in a 
nere thread of a voice, "Lieutenant Deland, how 
■an I thank you for what you have done? How can 
'? Had it not been for you, my son would surely 
lave died out there upon the Heath, hidden in the 
joak of a traitor, and dishonour would have fallen 
lpon my family's name. As it is " 

He threw out his hands, shrugged his shoulders, 


and let the rest of the sentence go by default, while 
Geek, with a whimsical smile, put out his hand 
toward the Countess's, and raised hers to his lips. 

"Good-bye, Countess," he said quietly, "and God 
bless the pair of you. You've a bonny boy in that 
future husband of yours, and he has a proud l*4j 
for whom he should be justly thankful. Good-bye, 
Count; good-bye. Don't mention it. I assure yoi, 
anything I have done has been more than a pleasure, 
for it has but helped to preserve the honour of t 
great gentleman, and to show that the same staunch, 
honourable blood flows in his son's veins as in hit 

He picked up his hat and gloves, touched Mr. Nar- 
kom upon the arm, strode over to the door, and then 
stood in the frame of it, erect, tall, every inch of him 
equal to the man whom he had served; a gentleman, 
indeed, with a gentleman's bearing and the unmis- 
takable stamp of the aristocrat upon him. 

"Ah, Count," said he in a low, even voice, "jiut 
one more little thing. My name, by the way, is not 
Deland, as you have supposed, but Cleek — just 
Cleek of Scotland Yard. I thought, under the cir- 
cumstances, you might be glad to know." 

Then, before they could so much as answer, lie 
swung upon his heel, and, still smiling, went down 
and out into the hot August sunshine, with Mr. Nar- 
kom at his heels. 


^>|INNAMON! Cleek. That was a near squeak 
of tumbling up against both of them/' 
ejaculated Mr. Narkom as they turned into 
pde Park and swung along at a leisurely pace. 
Nho was to think of Margot joining the Count in 

attempt to steal the plans? Jewels are more in 
r line." 

"All's fish that falls into her net/' said Cleek 
arply . "I remember " He broke off, a spasm 

pain compressing his lips. The memory was 
rdly a pleasant one. He shook his shoulders as 
ragh he would cast off the very thought. 
They reached Scotland Yard at last, its red brick 
rrets shining hotly in the rays of the fierce 

"Come in with me, there's a dear chap," said the 
perintendent 'imploringly. "If I left you out 
re for three minutes, it's a ducat to a guinea that 
>se French beauties would be on you before I could 
7 Jack Robinson." 

Cleek gave a little laugh as his eyes swept the 
irtyard. "I shouldn't be surprised/* he began, 
d stopped short. 
Mr. Narkom looked up in the direction of his gaze, 



and took in as quickly as his famous ally the presence 
of two olive-skinned young French boys. 

"Sentinels on the watch! Cinnamon! old chap." 
He turned to speak to his companion, but the pave- 
ment was empty beside him; noiselessly, like the 
shadow which ominously had dimmed the radiance 
of the sun above them, Cleck had vanished. Tfr 
courtyard was empty save for a huddled-up figur 
of a drunken or sleeping man lying curled up in a 
doorway like an outcast mongrel, his clothes covercu 
with dust, his hat battered in over his eyes. 

Slowly the young French Apaches, for so indeed 
they were, passed down, and after giving a look up 
and down the little street, ran swiftly out of sight. 
But Hammond, at a signal from his chief, was after 

4 'Wonder where that astonishing beggar vanished 
to," said Mr. Narkom dejectedly, as he mopped his 
forehead with the purplest of purple bandana hand- 

"Another narrow squeak," came the voice of 
"that astonishing beggar" almost from the ground 
itself, and the recumbent, dust-laden figure rose in 
front of the amazed Superintendent. "It means a 
wash and a change, my dear Narkom," he con- 
tinued, laughing at his friend's face. "Still, it wis 
the best I could do at such short notice." 

He entered the building, and the Superintendent, 
his portly figure forming a substantial shield against 
rear attacks, trotted in after him. 


It was some ten minutes later that, the Yard's 
business having been transacted by the Yard's 
4 'gentleman/' Cleek sat, spick and span, in one of 
the tweed suits always kept for him in Mr. Narkom's 
own room, a cigarette between his lips, and upon his 
face an expression of supreme content. He was 
only waiting now for the next hour to pass, when it 
would find him with Ailsa, who was travelling up to 
town for the express purpose of spending the day with 
Lieutenant Deland of the non-existent regiment of 

Suddenly Mr. Narkom gave vent to a little bleat of 
astonishment. He was reading Petrie's report of the 
day, when down went the paper, and thump wait 
his fist on the table before him, without hint or 
warning, and Cleek chopped off the sentence of 
inquiry before it was half evolved. 

"Golly! But they've gone, fled the country, old 
chap ; given it up as a bad job, eh ? Bully boy, Petrie ! 
I thought we'd hound 'em out before we were done." 
He laughed shrilly, then turned to Cleek, who sat 
watching him, a curious little smile creeping round 
his lips. 

"It's that precious Count and the Margot gang," 
he said, his exuberance of joy and relief subsiding 
a little. "Petrie says they left together by the 
early boat-train to Paris. So that's all right; you 
can have your day in safety, and as Miss Lome is 
with Lennard in the limousine by this time, there 
can be no possible danger." 


But Cleek was by no means sure of this, and dis- 
regarding all the Superintendent's arguments, he 
rose to take his departure. 

"If Irma and Margot have gone back so publicly/' 
he said, a curious note underlying the smoothness of 
his tones, "you may rest assured that there are 
others of the gang left on the track. I could almost 
wish Ailsa were not coming up to-day." 

Never was human wish granted so swiftly, for even 
as the words left his lips, there came the sharp ting of 
the telephone bell, and a minute later, Mr. Narkom 
was told that it was Ailsa Lome herself speaking from 
the Hampton Court cottage, between which and 
Scotland Yard Cleek had taken the precaution of 
fitting up telephone wires for additional safety. 

Away went Cleek to the instrument, to learn that 
Ailsa had developed a summer cold, and was going 
to postpone the trip for a few days. Cleek's pro- 
posal that he should come to her was gently but firmly 
negatived. There was nothing to be done but betake 
himself to Clarges Street for a lonely afternoon. And 
as he crossed the familiar stones of Leicester Square, 
Cleek's sharp eyes saw the unmistakable figure of 
Irma, Count of Maurevania; and his heart leaped 
suddenly with mingled relief and joy at the thought 
that Ailsa all unconsciously had kept out of danger. 

"So the other was a blind, the artful old fox!" 
he ejaculated, as he went on his way. 

And that was why, when Narkom rang him up for 
a case that was to puzzle half the world, Cleek had 


already betaken himself out of the house again, and 
into fresh regions undreamed of by Apache or Maure- 

It was just an hour later when Mr. Narkom, 
having responded to a hurried summons from the 
Chief's room, issued therefrom as worried a man as 
it would be possible to find in a day's search. He 
made a dash to the 'phone and began to talk excit- 
edly to the person at the other end. 

"Yes, yes! I quite understand, Dollops; got to 
be very careful, eh? All right. Where is he? 
What — Kensington Gardens? Might have known 
that, though, at this time of the year. Yes. Fair- 
haired, usual military getup; Lieutenant Deland, 
I suppose? All right! Thank you; that's all. 

Mr. Narkom replaced the receiver with a sigh, 
pushed aside the telephone, took pen in hand, and 
wrote out a few necessary instructions for his staff 
to follow. Then, having done all this, he put on his 
hat, picked up his gloves and walking stick from a 
nearby table, and swung out into the summer 
sunshine, prepared to spend the morning, if neces- 
sary, in Kensington Gardens, in pursuit of his 
famous ally. 

A few minutes later the limousine, under the 
guiding hand of Lennard, threaded its way skill- 
fully through the dense traffic of Hyde Park Corner, 
which was crowded with sightseers who had been 
watching the morning riders in the Row. 


"This will be about the nearest, I think, sir" 
saiil Ixnnard presently, discreetly using the speaking- 
lube. " You said opposite the De Vere Hotel, and 
here is the first gateway, if you don't mind looking, 

"Yes," said Mr. Narkom eagerly, "this is about 
the place; but drive right on slowly to Kensington; 
we've got to be careful, it seems. I'll get out at 
Harkcr's, and you can follow round by the Albert 

"Right you are, sir." 

Obeying instructions, Lennard let the car meander 
at a snail's pace, his sharp eyes fixed now upon the 
passing traffic, and now on the stream of leisurely 
pedestrians that swarmed the pavements on either 
side of him. Just outside the large drapers, he 
swung into line with the long string of carriages and 
cars that lined the roadway, and the Superintendent 
stepped out. He wore a brown suit and a bowler 
hat an d a pair of rather shabby yellow cotton gloves, 
while from one hand swung a big cardboard box, 
presumably containing samples. He nodded curtly 
to Ilennard, then, mingling with the shoppers on the 
pavement, was soon lost to view. But not for long. 
Ten minutes later, he returned to exchange the box 
for a black attache case, and then once more disap- 

This time he bent his steps back through the High 
Street, and thence into the beautiful gardens which 
surround what was once the country seat of royalty. 


A few minutes' quiet strolling brought him within 
sight of his quarry, a young gentleman immaculately 
dressed, sporting an eyeglass, lemon-coloured kid 
gloves, and the very latest atrocity in walking canes. 
He looked up with bored indifference, staring in- 
solently at the Superintendent as he stopped in the 
pathway and looked down at him. Then Mr. Nar- 
kom brought himself abruptly to the salute. 

"Beg your pardon, sir, but you're Lieutenant 
Deland, aren't you? I'm Sergeant Smith of the old 
regiment. Don't suppose you remember me, sir, 
but I thought I wasn't mistaken." 

The handsome officer sprawled himself out, and 
screwed his monocle tighter into his eye. 

"Can't say that I do, my good man," drawled he; 
"still I don't mind refreshing my memory. Nice 
morning for a walk; I'll stroll back to the* barracks 
with you, if you like." 

"Proud to have you, sir," said the delighted ser- 
geant, clicking his heels together as an old flower- 
seller seated upon an adjacent bench arose with her 
basket, and shuffled off in the opposite direction, 
and Cleek gave vent to a little bark of pleasure. 

"Bravo, Mr. Narkom!" he said in his low, smooth 
voice, as the Superintendent smiled into his face; 
"you've the makings of an actor in you. Dollops 
evidently warned you what to expect." 

" Yes," assented Narkom; "he was very mysterious. 
Have you any suspicion that you are being fol- 
lowed? I have taken tremendous precautions, 

and sent out Hammond and Petrie in the ouW 


4 'Yes/' said Clock, as he leaned back and sniffed 
the rose-scented air contentedly. "Get ahead, 
anyhow, Mr. Xarkom, for I suppose it's another 
case, or you wouldn't have wormed my whereabouts 
out of that young scamp Dollops." 

"You're right; it w a case!" said the Superintend- 
ent excitedly, swinging into his story at once. "It's 
partly a Government affair, too; in fact, I might say 
i;\s a national affair. Nearly bowled me over, bj 
James! when the chief told me about it; for I was 
only speaking to the man two days ago, and he had 
every right to live another twenty years." 

"Which means, I take it, that he has died sud- 

"Died? It's worse than that, my friend. It's 
murder — downright wicked, diabolical murder, and 
just when he had completed the greatest of all his 
numerous inventions. And the worst of it is, there's 
absolutely no clue as to how the crime was com- 
mitted; the door was locked on the inside, and the 
room has no windows whatsoever." 

What's that?" said Cleek, arching his eyebrows. 

No windows? How's that?" 

It's a laboratory, lit day and night by electric 
light, with ventilation from the top. To all ap- 
pearances he had fallen asleep at the desk; but it's 
murder, for all that." 

"H'm-m ! " said Cleek, stroking his chin. "Sounds 


pretty queer, Mr. Narkom. Let's have the facts, 
please. First of all, who was the gentleman? 
Somebody of importance to the Government, I 
presume, eh?" 

"Of the very greatest, in the military world," 
replied Mr. Narkom excitedly. "He is, or, I should 
say was, poor fellow, an English irfventor. You've 
heard of him — Edward C. Wharnecliffe." 

"Oho!" said Cleek in two different tones; "that 
man, eh? Oh, yes, everybody has heard of him, I 
should think. He's the man who conceived the idea 
of that long-distance gun for aiming at aeroplanes; 
invented a new oil engine for working turbines. 
That's the man, isn't it?" 

"Yes, that's the man. Well, for the last six 
months he has been experimenting on the subject of 
smokeless powders, and the Government had fitted 
up a special laboratory in the cellars of the War 
Office. All doorways save one were bricked up, 
special ventilating and lighting apparatus were 
installed, and a guard set day and night in the pas- 
sages. And, my dear chap, there isn't a crevice by 
which so much as a rat could have entered!" Mr. 
Narkom paused dramatically. Then he went on: 
"And yet, just as he had completed the formula of 
the new powder (fluorite, or * golden rain,' as he had 
nicknamed it) he was found stone dead in his chair, 
with neither mark nor bruise to show when he had 
met his death, or by what means. At the post 
mortem the doctors declared his heart to be 


sound as a bell. The Chief says that, despite il 1 
the secrecy observed, there have been several at- 1 
tempts made to get at Whamecliffe; in fact, one I 
Power had offered him half a million/ 9 1 

4 'And how did Mr. Whamecliffe take this offer? 1 
Was he tempted by it, or don't you know?" fltid 
Cleek. I 

4 ' As it happens, I do know/ 9 replied the Superintend- 
ent, "for amongst his letters were copies of the 
letter and his answer, and he evidently told them 
he'd see them hanged, drawn, and quartered before 
he would give any other country save his own the 
benefit of his discovery." 

"Bravo!" said Cleek, slapping his palms together, 
"that's the true patriot's spirit, Mr. Narkom. It 
Isn't every man who would refuse half a million of 
money for the sake of a most ungrateful country; and 
I don't suppose he was a rich man, by any means." 

"He wasn't. That's why the Government sup- 
plied him with the laboratory and one of their most 
trusted typists to render him clerical assistance." 

"All, here comes the second party! Who is this 
young gentleman? One of Albania's flowers of no- 
bility, or a German prince in disguise?" 

"Neither, my dear chap; a young lady, a Miss 

"Carsholt— Carsholt?" rapped out Cleek. "Any 
relation to that Carsholt — Colonel Carsholt, I think 
— who won the V. C. at Ladysmith, and died of his 
wounds "later?" 


€C\7 » 


"H'm-m!" Cleek pinched his chin harder, and 
•cowled at the waving trees as if he bore them a 
personal grudge. "Tell me," he blurted out at 
last, "wasn't there something about another brother 
who went out from England to America for the news- 
paper on which he was working, and got mixed up in 
nme of the political riots?" 

The Superintendent nodded vigorously. "Yes, 
yes! George Carsholt was that chap's name. Well, 
he turned up again six months ago, apparently fairly 
well off. He had been searching everywhere for his 
brother and his family, and at last was directed by the 
War Office to the boarding-house where Marion and ' 
her brother lived. Mr. Carsholt promptly took the 
rest of the house, and has since been like a father 


to them, poor youngsters! They've evidently had a 
struggle since their father's death, for his pension 
was discontinued, and they were absolutely friend- 
less and alone." 

Cleek twitched up an inquiring eyebrow. "Ah, 
just so ! So the War Office accuses Miss Carsholt of 
murdering their inventor, does it?" 

"Great Scott! no. They can'-t do that, because, 
although she was the last to be in the room with him, 
the guard heard Miss Carsholt talking to Wharne- 
cliffe as she stood at the door." 

"And what did Miss Carsholt say?" 

"She said, 'I shan't be more than an hour, Mr. 
Wharnecliff e, ' and the old man answered her, 'Be 


as long as you like, Miss Carsholt; my work is I 
fin is) icd/ Then the guard heard him lock the door I 
after her. Poor old chap! it was finished indeed, for 1 
an hour later, when Miss Carsholt came back, she I 
could get no answer to her knocking, and eventually I 
the door had to be blasted open, and they found I 
him dead in his chair. He had evidently been test* 
ing the 'golden rain/ for there were matches and test I 
tubes lying about, and on his writing pad were scrib- 
bled a few incoherent words with no real meaning; 
still, I brought the sheet away for you to see." 

The Superintendent handed Cleek a slip of paper 
on which was scribbled, illegibly: 

"Wrong — Miss Carsholt — tray — country/* 

"Meaning, therefore, that Miss Carsholt had com- 
mitted a wrong and betrayed her country/' 

"You think so?'* asked Cleek serenely, the queer 
little one-sided smile looping up the coiners of his 

"Decidedly. What else? But, whether he com- 
mittcd suicide, or was murdered (and I believe the 
latter) goodness only knows. What is more, an hour 
afterward, the Chief learned through secret service 
channels that the formula was partly known to some 
foreign Power, and that they were only waiting for 
the experiments to be finished. They must have got 
this througli Miss Carsholt in some way; at least, 
the War Office says so; and they have dismissed 
her practically at a moment's notice, and placed the 
matter in the hands of the Yard/' 


~ "Ah! So that's the way the cat jumps, is it?" 

abused Cleek, laying a finger along his cheek and 

Mttaring up into the canopy of blue overhead. " Well, 

think, if you don't mind, that I'll come and have a 

into things. I should like to see the brother, 

" he added abruptly. " That is, if you have their 

ivate address." 

"Yes; of course. Here it is: 19 Kesteven Terrace, 

South Belgravia," said Mr. Narkom, consulting his 

notebook with studious eyes. They came upon 

another bench, and as they sat down upon it, a 

shadow grotesquely long in the sunshine fell across 

the path, and at sight of it Cleek sprang up with a 

little cry of pleasure and put out an ungloved hand. 

"Ailsa!" he said tenderly, as she stopped at sight 

of him and gave bent to a glad little laugh. "You 

dear! You!" 

"I was shopping at Harker's," she gave back, 
laughingly, flushed at the light that was in his eyes, 
at the note that was in his voice. "I felt so much 
better after all, that I thought I might make the 
journey to town. It was such a beautiful day and I 
wanted to see you, even if I did put you off ! I want 
you to help a friend of mine. Her name is Marion 

Mr. Narkom whistled. "The very case we are on 
now," he said in surprise. 

"You may be doubly sure of my attention now," 
threw in Cleek, laughing down into the Superintend- 
ent's flushed face. "Lead, and I will follow, Ailsa. 


I hare heard Mr. Naikom's side of the story; m 
let me hear yours." 

Ten minutes later Ailsa left them, her eyes aligi 
and her heart beating high with hope, while M 
Narkoat and his famous ally jumped into tl 
limousne, and made their way to South Belgravi 


""T WAS exactly half -past twelve when Lieu- 
tenant Arthur Deland, a big, handsome, fair- 
*■ haired and fair-moustached fellow, stood with 
r\ Narkom on the white steps of a somewhat dingy 
use. They were shown into the Carsholt's gen- 
a.1 sitting-room, and straight into the presence of the 
other and sister. 

*'If you don't mind giving me the facts, Miss 
fcrsholt," said Superintendent Narkom, "I should 
u» to hear what Lieutenant Deland thinks of 

*' Ye-es," drawled Cleek. " Supposing" — he turned 

■dually on Marion — "you tell me all about this 

tolden rain ' business. I'd awfully like to hear. Sort 

fireworks, I suppose; something of the Crystal 

fclace sort, eh, what?" 

"No, indeed, lieutenant; it's a smokeless explo- 
Ve — but beyond that I can tell you nothing. I have 
?ver mentioned a word about my work to any one; 
ive I, Vernon?" 

"I'll take my oath on that. Why, we never even 
lew she was working in the beastly dark hole of a 
boratory until two days ago, when Uncle George 
und the acid stains on one of her shoes." 



"What's that?" said Cleek, his eyes beginning to 
snap. "Acid stains?" 

"Yes; a little sulphuric acid fell on one of them, 
and Uncle George noticed it. It worried him to 
think of my being near such dangerous liquids." 

"Doesn't he understand chemistry?" 

"Not he," laughed Vernon Carsholt faintly. 
"Dear old chap! I believe he'd dip his finger into a 
jar of prussic acid and then taste it to see if it were 

"Bless him! he thought it was a mud stain," put in 
Marion, "and tried to rub it off for me." 

"I see," commented Cleek. "And so you never 
told your uncle about the 'golden rain,' then?" 

"No; certainly not. How the secret could ever 
have leaked out is inexplicable. I told only Hugh 
about the laboratory because I have had such bad 
headaches, which came from closeness of the atmos- 
phere. It upset him, though, when he heard of it." 

"Who is Hugh?" inquired Cleek, softly drawing 
the fringes of the tablecloth through his fingers. 

Marion's fair face flushed. "Mr. Eastwicke, my 
fianc6," she answered in her simple, straightforward 

"And a splendid fellow, too!" Vernon put in 
enthusiastically. "He's my senior at Prester's, 
you know, and we've been chums ever since I went 
to the office. He'll be here, too, presently; Saturday 
afternoon he's always with us." 

"I see," said Cleek. "Wen, Miss Carsholt, per- 


haps you'll be so kind as to tell me the events of the 
last day; it was on Thursday when all this happened, 
was it not? What time did you arrive? " 

"Nine thirty, as usual," replied Marion, "and I 
brought the key from the Chief. You see, I was al- 
lowed a key for the laboratory during the day, as the 
door was locked every time either the professor or I 
went in and out. At night time the key was taken 
back to the Chief and the housekeeper had to search 
me to see that there were no notes or carbon copies 
made of the accounts and formulas of the daily ex- 
periments. That's what makes it still more puz- 
zling. Mr. Wharnecliffe would never have com- 
mitted suicide; I feel sure of that. Besides, why 
should he? And as for murder, what possible motive 
is there? Whatever he meant by those words in 
his notebook I can't conceive. He had seemed so 
pleased with me, and I had brought him that very 
book myself only that morning. You see, we bad 
quite finished on the preceding night, and I had 
typed out everything. He had had a whim, however, 
to copy the particulars himself; that was why I 
brought him the new book. After making some final 
tests, he sat down to write, and told me I might take 
an hour longer for lunch." 

"What time did you go?" said Cleek, rubbing his 
hands together and watching her face with keen eyes. 

"It was exactly one o'clock. Big Ben had just 
struck the hour. I got ready, and at the door I 
looked back and told the professor I was going. 


Both the guard outside and myself heard his answer. 
'Be as long as you like, Miss Carsholt; our works 
finished/ And then he got up and locked the door 
behind me* That was the last I ever saw or hetid 
of one of the cleverest, kindest men that ever lived." 
She paused .aid drew a deep breath; the tears were 
chasing each other down her cheeks. Then she 
went on: 

"Well, I met Vernon and Hugh at one of the 
restaurants and we had lunch together; then Hugh 
rushed off to the office, leaving me with Vernon. 
I did not hurry back; in fact, it was nearly two when 
I did return. Then to my horror I found I had lost 
the key to the laboratory." 

"Hallo! What's that?" said Cleek. "Lost the 
key? That was rather careless of you, surely?" 

"Yes," she acknowledged in a shamefaced way. 
" I thought I had placed it in my handbag as usual 
but I couldn't have done so, because when ire 
couldn't get any answer and the door was broken in, I 
found it lying by my chair. It must have dropped 
out of the bag without my hearing it fall. Of course, 

I handed the key to the Chief, and then " She 

covered her face with her hands and fell to sobbing 

Cleek pinched up his chin, and stared at her reflec- 
tively, while the Superintendent fixed his gaze on the 
smoky ceiling, feeling more than a little awkward 
and extremely sorry for the poor girl. 

Suddenly the door swung inward; a sweet-faced, 


benevolent-looking old gentleman entered the room; 
ind it did not need Vernon's affectionate "Uncle 
Seorge!" to tell them who he was. His face was 
dight with sympathy as he took in the scene. He 
crossed quickly over to the sobbing girl and knelt 
town beside her, petting and soothing her like a 

Cleek stuck in his eyeglass, and when the introduc- 
tions had been made, leaned over confidently. 

"I say," said he, "what do you say to a smoke out- 
nde, Mr. Carsholt? Miss Marion'll be better alone 
— eh, what? Just a friendly cigar." 

"I don't smoke, sir," said the old man rather 
stiffly, and turned back to his niece, who was now 
drying her eyes. 

"Please do forgive me, Mr. Narkom," she said. 
"Don't go away. I will come down again in a 
minute." She opened the door, passed through it, 
and went swiftly from the room. 

" My poor, dear girl! " said the old man as the door 
closed behind her, his kindly old voice choking over 
the utterance. " Mr. Narkom, I'll give every penny 
I possess to see her righted again ! I believe it's only 
a mare's nest, just an excuse to shield a sudden death 
of an inventor who worked too hard." 

"Between you and me, Mr. Carsholt, as men of the 
world," said Cleek, tapping a forefinger on the old 
man's arm, "I believe you're right. I daresay 
they'll find that the old gentleman died of some 
obscure kind of heart disease." 


"Yes, indeed," struck in Vernon from his posi- 
tion. "That's what Hugh said. Oh, and here he 
comes. I'll let him in." He flung himself out of the 
room, and the eyes of the elder men met in mutual 
appreciation of the enthusiasm of youth. 

Cleek turned to the white-haired old man. "Mr. 
Carsholt, what sort of a man is this Mr. East- 

The other's face paled a little and he looked 
piteously at his questioner. "Why do you ask? 
He is a pleasant young man, and Marion loves him; 
so what else is there to say?" 

"Love is blind sometimes," put in Cleek with a 
one-sided smile. "What does he take an interest in 
besides his work? Tell me a man's hobbies, you 
know, and I'll tell you his character." 

Mr. Carsholt paused, and seemed to struggle as 
with a temptation not to speak. 

"Chemistry, I think," he stammered out finally; 
"that's why he was so interested in Marion's work- 
after she told him about her position in Professor 
Wharnecliffe's laboratory." 

"Yes," said Cleek, rising to his feet. "I see. 
That explains it." 

But what it explained he did not say, for at that 
moment Vernon entered, and Cleek and Narkom 
were speedily introduced to Marion Carsholt's 

Cleek's eyes wandered indifferently over him; took 
in the careless, unbrushed coat, the dust on the worn 


elvet collar and cuffs. His eyes narrowed. Then 
^ turned away. 

*'Well, my friends," said lie serenely, with a little 
huckle, "I don't think it's much good wasting your 
**tte further. I think myself it's much ado about 

He shook hands genially all round, and was soon 
>Hce more out on the pavement. 

"Well, dear chap, what do you think about it?'* 
l&ked Mr. Narkom eagerly, as the gate slammed 
>ehind them and they were alone once more. 

*'I think," he said disgustedly, "it's a beastly 
lirty neighbourhood, and I'm going home to change 
ay shirt. That's what I think, Mr. Narkom. You 
an go down to the War Office, and I'll join you there 
iter." And without tendering another word of 
xplanation, Cleek went off to pick up Lennard and 
be limousine somewhere in the neighbourhood of 
r ictoria Station, and to proceed upon his journey 


IT WAS fully an hour afterward that Cleek, even 
more the supreme " exquisite " than ever, lounged 
through the swinging doors of the War Office, 
where Mr. Narkom was waiting patiently to show 
him the laboratory. 

He followed the Superintendent down the steps 
and along tessellated passages lit by electric light, 
till they reached one heavy iron door, set in a solid 
brick wall. The soldier on guard saluted Mr. Nar- 
kom and unlocked the door, allowing them to enter. 
The room was like a long steel tube, without windows 
or any apertures that might allow the slightest ray of 
daylight to be seen. The soft effulgence of electric 
lamps showed the steel-plated walls, which deadened 
the sound of experimental explosions. The floor was 
of stone, the furniture of the simplest, composed for 
the most part of long boards supported on trestles. 
Chemical apparatus there was in abundance, little 
trays of various mixtures; and there, surrounded 
by the materials and objects amongst which he had 
laboured so earnestly, lay the inventor, sleeping his 
last, long sleep. 

"I can't make it out," whispered Mr. Narkom as 
thetwo men stood looking down on the still figure. " I 


"I can't make it out,' whispered Mr. Narkom as the two 
men stood looking down on the at ill figure" 


thought it was murder, right enough; butnow I think 
you were right when you said it was heart disease." 

Cleek stopped suddenly, drawing in his breath with 
a curious, startled sound; then he rose again and 
shook his head. 

"The devils!" he muttered. "I might have 
guessed " 

"Good God, Cleek! Found a clue already? Eh? 
Wliat devils do you mean? You know something 
ibout it?" 

"Yes, Mr. Narkom, I'm afraid I do. It's murder 
right enough." He pulled down the dead man's 
lower lip very gently. "Poisoned, for a ducat! 
\nd there's only one gang that could have supplied 
that atrocious stuff. * Waters of Lethe' it is called, 
because it brings forgetfulness so quickly and leaves 
30 little trace. The gang are on the warpath once 
more, and this" — he pointed to the dead man with 
one accusing finger — "is their work." 

"Cinnamon!" gasped Mr. Narkom, clutching con- 
vulsively at his pocket handerchief and mopping his 
face. " Gaston Merode? The old crowd of Apaches? " 

"Th* very same. The gang have still retained 
some of his methods and materials. But how on 

earth they got Wharnecliffe to drink it " He 

bent again and examined the dead man's hands 
intently. Then once more he turned away. 

Mr. Narkom was searching the tables diligently 
for sign of glass or cup, but, save for test tubes and 
flat chemical dishes, there were no other receptacles 


to be seen. On the table where the professor had 
sat writing, the little notebook reposed in all its 
newness. Cleek stopped short. 

"An idiot! a blithering idiot I am!" he exclaimed 
sharply, swinging round with the curious, little one- 
sided smile looping up his mouth. "I remember a 
headache cure I promised Miss Carsholt. I'm off 
to South Belgravia, Mr. Narkom, before I forget iL 
Beastly things, headaches!" And before the astonished 
Superintendent could utter a word of protest Cleck 
had vanished. Springing into a passing taxi, he was 
soon standing in the awe-inspiring "best drawing* 
room" of 19 Kesteven Terrace, South Belgravia, foi 
the second time that day. 

Miss Carsholt, hearing the sound of his footstep 
in the hall, came hurrying downstairs, followed bj 
her uncle. 

"Oh, Lieutenant Deland!" she cried excitedly 
clasping her hands in her emotion. "Have you dis 
covered anything?" 

Cleek nodded. 

"Yes, Miss Carsholt. I've just remembered th< 
name of that headache stuff: * pyemic/ finest stuff ii 
the world, don'tcherknow. Can't think why I forgo 
it this morning; only get it at one place. I'll writ* 
it down for you." 

The girl sank down with a little cry of disappoint 

"Oh!" she said, a trifle bitterly. "I thought yoi 
hau something important to tell me. What does 3 


matter about the headaches! Both Vernon and I 
suffer from them; don't we, Uncle George?" 

"Indeed you do, my dear," said Mr. Carsholt. 
"It's very good of you to have rushed back like that, 
Lieutenant; but I don't think it's so important " 

"Headaches are beastly things," persisted Cleek. 
"I'll write the name of the cure down for you, if you'll 
give me a piece of paper." 

Seeing that there was no other way of getting rid of 
him, Miss Carsholt picked up a handbag which lay 
on the chair, and took out a notebook and pencil. 

Cleek's eyes brightened as he looked at it. 

"Splendid! " he murmured. "Nothing like a good 
notebook, and this — " he stopped short — "this is 
such a ripping paper to write on." 

"Yes," threw in Miss Carsholt, nodding her head. 
"The professor said the same. Uncle George gave 
them to me, didn't you, dear? I gave one to the 
professor, and kept this for myself." 

"I picked them up cheap," said the old man. 

"A regular bargain," agreed Cleek. "I say, Miss 
Carsholt, I'd like this." 

"Why, of course." 

"Thanks awfully," said Cleek. "And, in return, 
I'll give you some good news, Miss Marion. I ought 
to have told you first, but I was so excited over the 
pyerine and the address." 

"Oh, what — what is it?" she cried. 

"Why," said he cheerily, "it's just as I told you. 
The doctors have decided that it was heart disease, 


and it seems there was a flaw in the 'golden rain/ or 
whatever you eall it, and the professor must have dis- 
covered il. Anyhow, you're to go back to the office 
to-morrow and re-copy the formula. The official 
let Ut will conic by Monday morning. So make your 
mind easy, (iood-bye, good people." Then with a 
genial lit lie nod to tlicin all, he was gone, clattering 
down the stairs like a schoolboy, a strange look upon 
his face and a strange new light in his eyes. 

It was a very homely little gathering on which 
Cleek and Mr. Narkom made their unceremonious 
entrance about seven o'clock on Monday evening. 
Vernon and Eastwicke had evidently come in 
themselves, for the latter was in the act of re- 
moving his gloves, while Marion lay sleeping on the 
couch, and Mr. Carsholt sat near her, a book in his 

"Hallo!" said both young men together, though in 
a whispered undertone. "You must have been right 
behind us. AVc have only just come in, and found 
Marion asleep on the couch.** 

Mr. Carsholt held up a silencing hand. 

"Hush!" said he. "Don't wake the dear girl, 
if you can help it, Mr. Narkom. She is tired out 
after her day's work." 

"I dare say," said Cleek, speaking in loud, incisive 
tones; "but duty is duty, Mr. Carsholt, and I'm 
sorry to say a great mistake has been made." He 
lurched up against the couch, but it did not wake the 


sleeping girl. "Yes, Mr. Carsholt, I am sorry to 
have to break the news to you, but the murderer of 
Professor Wharnecliffe is in this room, and we have 
come to arrest him." 

"What in the world are you saying?" began Mr. 
Carsholt. He looked at the faces of the two men 
with fear- widened eyes; his lips quivered pathetically. 
Vernon remained absolutely still, but Hugh East- 
wicke gave vent to a little cry, and moved toward 
the door. 

"No, you don't, my friend," said Cleek, stepping 
up to him and stamping his foot upon the floor. 
"Nobody leaves this room, Mr. Eastwicke, nobody 
at all." 

"What do you mean! What do you dare to 
imply?" Eastwicke's face was deathly white. 

"I mean this." Cleek wheeled round as the 
door opened, and Hammond and Petrie, who had 
been waiting outside, appeared. "The game is up, 
Rossi lion, or Carsholt, or whatever you claim your 
dashed name to be at the moment." He sprang 
forward suddenly, flinging himself upon the white- 
haired figure of the old man. "Quick, boys! Get 
him before he slips out! This way! This way!" 

But the couch with its sleeping figure hindered 
them. Hammond and Petrie blundered by it — too 
late, too late. 

Like a flash Carsholt's hand whipped out and up; 
there was the glint of steel, the sharp twanging of a 
bullet piercing the air in its rapid flight, the smeU of 


smoke and powder, and Cleck fell back against tit 
tabic with a Jittle gurgling sound, as though he were 
laughing ami sobbing in the same breath, and slipped 
down ujxrn the floor beside it. 

Instantly there was pandemonium. The fiw 
men sprang upon the Frenchman, who stood looking 
at tliein with triumphant eyes. 

"Do what you like to me, canaille I" he cried 
excitedly, waving one hand in the air. "I have 
killed the great Cleek; I have had my revenge, and 
the Cracksman has vanished forever.. Moreover, 
I know the formula. If I cannot now sell it I may 
at least shout it to the world in court." 

Mr. Xarkom struck at him with his clenched fist 
The tears were running down his face, so that he 
could barely see. Then he ran to Cleek. 

"Cleek, dear chap, dear old pal, wake up, wake 
up!" he said. "You're not killed, are you?" 

"Not quite, dear chap; but the breath's knocked 
out of me for a bit," broke in Cleek's laughing voice. 
"It's as well I changed my shirt, though." 

He got slowly to his feet and flung wide his coat 
and waistcoat, revealing to the astonished eyes of the 
little group in the room a shirt made completely of 
chain armour. 

Air. Xarkom swallowed something in the back of 
his throat. He blundered forward and seized Geek's 
hand, wringing it in both his own. 

"Thank God! Thank God!" he said fervently, 
pumj- :ia ndling Cleek for all he was worth. "Once 





•ore I had such a shock as this, and it was enough 

a lifetime. Good heavens! man " 

* Don't please, Mr. Narkom; don't, old friend," 
>ke in Cleek's voice, a trifle shakily. "You'll 
ve me blubbering like a baby in a minute, and this 
no time for sentiment. How did I know it was 
>ssiilon? I thought I recognized him from the 
st; but I wasn't absolutely certain until he said 
s didn't smoke, and I noticed his fingers were 
abed with some sort of acid. And those headaches 
Miss Marion's, too." 

"Good heavens!" It was Vernon's voice which 
oke in excitedly. " I had forgotten her. To think 
it she's slept through all this din!" 
Hugh Eastwicke rushed over to the couch where 
5 lay, but Cleek waved him back. 
'One minute, Mr. Eastwicke. Be careful; she 
in no ordinary sleep, but in a hypnotic trance, 
rked by this devil here." He bent down and 
ipped off the white wig, revealing a sleek, close- 
pped, bullet head, the skull of the famous Apache 
minal who for so long had sought Cleek's life in 
urn for Cleek's merciless pursuit of the Apaches in 

Heek smiled gently. 

*What knowledge he has gained through hypno- 
ing Miss Marion will be of no service to him. The 
iff was worthless absolutely, because one of the 
iterials with which it was made had been taken 
>m the wrong tray. There had been a mistake, 


I i. 

and that is what the professor tried to write before be 
\v:in poisoned by means of that devil's notebook." 

" Mr. ( kvk!" 

"IL".* trie, my friend — absolutely true.* He 
* jnit.i ti» Iio>-iiIon, who glared back at him with 
i: ._:;-y eyes. "AH your information that you gotby 
hv;ii*iiti/i".i^ Mi?s Marion every night is useless, 
Kos*iIk»:). I suppose you thought you had it all and 
tii;it you were about to complete your sale of the 
>ecret, but you see that's all over, too. Sooner than 
let the professor make another copy of the formula, 
vou sent him that notebook, everv leaf of which to 
impregnated with the cursed powder. That to 
why I rushed off." He turned to Mr. Narkom and 
laid a hand upon his arm. "Directly I saw the 
clean ball of the thumb I knew what had happened. 
The professor had been using the book, and in turning 
over the leaves wet his thumb, so that they should 
not stick to it, and so carried the poison to his mouth. 
I was afraid, however, that, having killed off one 
victim, Rossillon would next kill Miss Marion. As 
it was, I got away the other notebook just in time." 

He turned again to the Apache masquerading as 

" That is why you hypnotized her to-night, I sup- 
pose? But Vernon disturbed you. Come; reverse 
the passes, and restore her to her natural self. I— 
bid — you — to — release — her!" he added incisively. 

The great criminal's eyes gleamed with fury, but, 
seeing the futility of disobedience, he stretched out 


is hands mechanically, waved them backward and 
*Tward before the girl's face, and muttered something 
*idcr his breath. She stirred and sat up, and Cleek, 
^king his eyes at last from Rossillon's, gave vent to 

little sigh of genuine relief. 

Instantly there was a scuffle of footsteps, the flash 
f a man's body leaping across the room toward the 
nguarded doorway and the safety that lay beyond, 
he clatter of hurrying feet, the harsh shouting of 
•oices, and the rattle of handcuffs as they snapped 
bout the Apache's wrists. 

" Played, my lads, played!" said Cleek, clapping 
is hands and giving vent to a quick, triumphant 
ttle laugh. "The rat is caught at last, and caught 
1 his own trap. Off with him, Petrie; off with him, 
oth of you — quick, before Miss Carsholt sees who 
; is! What's that, Miss Marion? Been asleep, 
h? Well, well, we've wakened you up with our 
alking. Everything's all right, everything's set- 
led and finished, and your name is as clean and free 
pom stain as yourself. Mr. Eastwicke" — he beck- 
ned to the enraptured lover — "I've something to 
ay to you." He dropped his voice, so that only he 
ould hear. "She must never know the truth," he 
aid softly. "It would kill her. Make any excuse 
ou like for her uncle's disappearance, but never let 
er know how nearly she betrayed her country into 
he hands of another, or how she was the innocent 
leans of killing the greatest inventor of the world. 
Ir. Eastwicke, my deepest congratulations. Love 


Miss Carsholt; cherish her, for a good woman's 
heart is a very jewel from Heaven." 

He clicked his heels together and bent his head 
Then, sharply, stiffly, he swung round and went out 
of the door, passing from it to the stairs beyond, and 
out into the star-dusk, to the sweet-scented vetod 
darkness, and into the warm sweetness of the sum- 
mer's night. 


THE incident gave Cleek much food for thought. 
It showed him perhaps even more plainly 
how keenly Maurevania was striving to free 
herself from the yoke of King Ulric and his faction. 
This "golden rain," the priceless explosive, a few 
ounces of which would have served to destroy the 
whole tiny kingdom, would have been theirs, had it 
not been for that failure. 

He had an intuitive idea, that for the immediate 
present neither he nor Ailsa Lome would be inter- 
fered with. There were evidently even more im- 
portant matters in the wind. If he could but find 
out whether Irma was going to remain in England; 
a frown crossed his face, for it was Irma that he 
dreaded mainly, rather than Maigot and her gang, 
more desperate though they might be. Still, fear of 
the police kept a slight check on their actions, and 
then again, there was also a question of money; 
not even for revenge on the Cracksman would they 
spend the money as Count Irma would and could. 

Almost unconsciously, his footsteps took him to the 
Ritz Hotel, where he knew Count Irma to have his 
lodgings, and fortune favoured him, for, descending 
the steps, his coat collar buttoned high up round his 



throat, his hat pulled down low, was Count Irma 
himself, and Cleek, doubling himself back in the 
shadow of the stone portals, followed in pursuit. 
That the Count was anxious not to be followed was 
very evident, for several times he stopped short, and, 
turning from side to side, looked furtively at the 
homeward-bound throngs of passengers. Across 
Piccadilly he went, up Shaftesbury Avenue, until 
he reached the most crowded part of Soho, surely a 
strange place for a gentleman to go thus unattended 
and unprotected. Cleek, following, inwardly cursed 
his luck at not being able to disguise himself better. 
Down a narrow courtyard, squalid and filthy, Count 
Irma stopped and, peering in at each door, knocked 
at last at the third from the end. It was opened by 
a young French boy, obviously an Apache. Cleek's 
heart gave a leap and missed two beats; he knew now 
who it was that Count Irma had thus ventured to 
visit in such grimy surroundings. No one less than 
Margot herself. What fresh evil were these two 
planning? What was to be their next step? The 
door shut to with a bang, and the sound of heavy 
bolts drawn across told the huddled-up watcher that 
entry by that means was impossible. Through an 
upstairs window floated a shrill laugh that brought 
a light of recognition to Cleek's face. It was Margot 
herself. His eyes turned upward. If only he could 
climb up to that window! But there was not a 
single foothold. To his surprise, a second later came 
the sound of the bolts being withdrawn, and Count 


a reappeared, with Margot close on his heels, 
t she was in a bad temper was self-evident, and a 
: of amusement looped up Cleek's mouth as he 
lied the old days when he himself had incurred 
capricious tempers. Now another fool had his 
in the trap. 

ifou might just as well have brought it with 
," he heard her remark as he slipped along, a 
low amongst other shadows, at their back. 
Mot so foolish, ma belle," was the grim reply. "I 
idy have paid out too much for no results. Get 
man alone; I will see to him when I return. But 
woman — she must be put out of the way." 
[argot laughed. The sound made Cleek's blood 

Trust her to me, man ami. As long as she is ove* 
, she cannot escape the clutches of my people, 
s, alas! is forbidden ground. You understand, 
sieur, the police; but they have short memories, 
life is long. And you, monsieur, what do you 


[ leave London to-night. I must catch the boat 
•ess, so, mademoiselle, if you want your cheque, 
will hurry/ * 

y this time they were out in the open thorough- 
of Shaftesbury Avenue, and the Count hailed a 

leek troubled no further; he was too thankful 
i the results of his espionage. In one short hour 
nt Irma would be on his way to Calais, thence to 


set forth for the kingdom for which he had fought 
so unscrupulously. For the rest, Cleek had already 
made up his mind. In Paris Ailsa would be safe, far 
Margot would be unable to get back to ho* beloved 
city till some recent misdeed had been allowed to fall 
into abeyance. 

Hardly hesitating a minute, he went direct to the 
lodging where Ailsa had established herself until they 
should make their home together. "I can alwaji 
go to the Baron de Caryorae. They will be gkd 
to see me/ 9 she said quietly after he had finished hi 
story. "When shall I go, dear?" 

" Now, this very minute," responded Cleek in the 
sharp staccato of excitement. "Dress as a nursing 
sister. Dollops shall be on the watch. I want you 
out of the country immediately. Time is short, 
Ailsa, and you hold my life's happiness in your hands. 
If you care for me, dear, you will be very careful, 
very quick." 

She gave him her answer with her lips upon his. 
Then together they planned for her departure. A 
hasty telephone message fetched Dollops, and a few 
words sufficed to put him on guard. 

"Lor' lumme, sir, don't you worry. It's not that 
bit of pink gauze" — his favourite name for Margot— 
"wot's going to so much as touch our Miss Ailsa, 
bless her, I can r promise yer!" was his hearty response 
to Cleek's questioning. And it was but a brief hour 
later, with mixed feelings of relief and loss, that Geek 
watched her dear figure borne away in the boat trami 


to safety; then, turning with a sigh upon his lips, 
he made his way back; but not for long. London 
without Ailsa was unendurable. He wanted his 
roses, his own dear flowers — and hers — in return for 
the peace and contentment that she had carried 
away with her. 

And so it came about that, Mr. Narkom, seeking 
him out, as ever upon the Yard's business, made his 
way down to the little house. It was one of those 
gorgeous June days, when the countryside was 
astream with sunshine, and the sky a wonderful 
turquoise river, in the bowl of which floated a thou- 
sand little cotton-wool cloud boats, drifting serenely 
on into an eternity of sapphirine sea. Even the 
hedge rows themselves, decked out as they were in all 
the gay green of summer leaves and summer blos- 
soms, took on that bright vivid crudity of tint that 
only the sun — Nature's greatest master-hand — knows 
exactly how to mix. 

In the garden of the little house out there where the 
lazy, sleepy old Thames reaches out a finger to touch 
the edge of Little Barholm and then runs on a bit 
into the heart of it, Captain Horatio Burbage leaned 
on the handle of the spade, with which he was digging 
around the root of a fine yellow "William Allen 
Richardson," and passed a hand over his streaming 

"Hot work, eh, Mrs. Condiment?" said he, with 
a twitch of his head in the direction and a healthy, 
happy laugh. 


" Don't be stayin' out too long in the heat, Capt'n; 
it's not good for us" old 'uns, say I," responded 
Mrs. Condiment practically. "That rose'll wait 
until the evening, I'll be bound, and it'll be oookr 

Then she stopped suddenly, and threw up her 
hands, giving vent to a little cry of surprise as, dowi 
the long white ribbon of a road that stretched away 
at the bottom of the little wicket gate, a figure slowly 
wended its way into view. As it came nearer the 
sun shone upon the red, perspiring face of the 
Superintendent of Scotland Yard. 

"Mr. Narkom, as I'm alive!" ejaculated Mis. 
Condiment, running down the garden pathway with 
a flu Iter of white apron strings and a flapping of 
black silk skirts. "Good afternoon, sir. And wiB 
you be pleased to come inside, then? The Captainl 
be that delighted to see you." 

The Captain, or, to give him his proper name, 
Cleek, reached out a mud-stained hand, and gripped 
the Superintendent's, at the same time favouring 
him with a wry smile. 

" Well, you old spoil sport," he said with a lurch 
of the shoulders, "come to hunt me out again, have 
you? Mrs. Condiment, you might get us a cup of 
tea, while I have a chat with Mr. Narkom out here in 
the sunshine. Ah, that's right. Well, what is it 
this time, old friend? A case, of course.** 

The Superintendent sank down upon a rustic seat 
and mopped his streaming forehead with a white 


silk handkerchief. His face looked troubled, con- 

"Yes, it is a case, Cleek," he said dejectedly, with 
a deep-drawn sigh, "and the very devil of a one, too. 
Boy disappeared; not a trace, not a sign. Abso- 
lutely vanished. No clue to be found. No person 
who saw him after he left for that walk along the 
seashore. Stepped off the edge of the earth, so to 
speak, and not even a footprint to show where he did 
it, either." 

" Hello ! " said Cleek with a strong rising inflection. 
" That sounds interesting ! Disappearance, eh ? How 
old was the lad, and when did it happen, or how? 
Or, no ; better wait for the details until after that cup 
of tea Mrs. Condiment's promised us. Then I'll 
change into a few decent Muds/ and come along 
with you. I'll be bound that Lennard and the 
limousine are dodging somewhere in the background 
down that road there. Ah! I thought so! Tea 
ready, Mrs. Condiment? All right. Come along, 
Mr. Narkom, and have a wee drappie. Just a dash 
in your ' tay ' will pull you together after your long 
journey, and then we'll hear all about your adven- 
tures afterward." 

They went inside the little house, and found tea 
waiting for them in the tiny drawing-room, with Mrs. 
Condiment's best china in honour of the visitor. 
Then Cleek turned again to his companion. 

"Now," said he with a sigh of resignation, "to 
return to our muttons. You say it was a disap- 


pearance, Mr. Narkoiu, and that the person in 
question is a boy? Of what age?" 

" Ten. Son of the Luton-Baybera, biggest people 
in Portreath. Own miles of countryside, rich m 
Croesus, and as nice a family as you could wish to 
meet. Mother, father, and the little chap.** 

Cleek pursed up his lips and gave forth a low 
whistle of surprise, 

''Cornwall, eh? Devil of a journey! And you're 
expecting me to go there, of course." 

" Yes, if you only will, old chap. The case is I 
sad one. Listen. Last Tuesday week, June the 
tenth, as you'll remember, by the calendar, little 
Ronald Luton-Bayber was watching the workmen 
upon St. Jude's Church, which has been in repair 
for some time. The church itself is an old ruin of 
feudal times, a beautiful place, but utterly useless ass 
place of worship since seventeen-sixty-something, 
for in that year it was almost totally destroyed by 
fire. The spire still stands, though, and a goodhh 
part of the actual body of the building itself, but the 
south nave was entirely destroyed, and the whole 
place is at present being put into repair by a certain 
Mr. Joshua Burnaby, a rich, elderly gentleman who 
has but lately come to live in the neighbourhood, and 
has already erected a library for the people, and a 
rather marvellous drinking-fountain in the middle 
of the village square." 

"Hum! Quite an embryo Carnegie," gave back 
Cleek serenely, as he sipped his tea and lit a cigarette. 


"And where, may I ask, did this amiable church- 
restorer come from in the first instance, eh?" 

"Yorkshire. He's a mill owner, or something of 
the sort, I believe, and the village people literally 
worship him. That church has been their joy and 
pride since time began. It's one of the sights of 
the place, and the statuary, I believe, is considered 
very beautiful. There are some very fine images in 
gilt that used to stand in niches some six feet over 
the church door, and across the front of the building, 
eight of them, and Mr. Burnaby is having those that 
have gone to ruin replaced with others as nearly 
like the originals as possible. But that's not the 
case, Cleek. As I was saying, young Ronald was 
walking along the cliff toward the church " 

"So it stands on a cliff, then? That's an inter- 
esting situation for a place of worship, isn't it? I 
don't remember hearing of a church that stood on 
the edge of a cliff." 

"Yes, right on the edge, with nothing in reach of it 
for a quarter of a mile on either side. The cliff is 
hardly a proper one, though, being in reality a high 
edifice of ground, jutting out over the caves where 
in the olden days the people say the smugglers used 
to congregate. He was watching the workmen, with 
his governess, Miss Doritt, when Mr. Burnaby came 
up and spoke to him. Miss Doritt says he was 
most kind to the boy, and offered to take him inside 
to see the interior repairs, if he'd care about it. 
But the lad was afraid of the darkness, and wouldn't 


go. So she took him home again. But she im- 
pressed on me how perfectly charming the man was, 
and remarked also that he had the most beautiful 
eves she had ever looked into." 

"Hum. And is the gentleman a bachelor? If 
so, he'd better mind his p's and q's, or perhaps I 
should say, his 'eyes,' where the ladies are con- 
cerned, or one will be landing him yet. And who is 
this Miss Doritt?" 

"Daughter of the rector of the village. A slim, 
sweet -faced girl with reddish hair and blue eyes. 
Been with the family for three years. Well, to 
continue: Next day Ronald wandered out by him- 
self, and did not return until almost dark, when the 
family were distracted with fears for his safety. 
The coast is lonely and very rugged, and the coast- 
line neither straight nor smooth. There are many 
pitfalls for unwary feet, and they were afraid the 
boy had fallen down one of the many crevasses. 
But he hadn't, for he returned home none the worse 
for his little walk alone, and full of interest in a 
certain 'Mr. Andrew* with whom he declared he had 
had a nice long talk upon the seashore. It seems 
that the boy had chanced upon the entrance to a cave 
at the foot of the cliff and after exploring it in a half- 
timid, half-eager fashion he had turned back and 
met "Mr. Andrew' on the sands. And now the 
strange part of the story comes, Cleek. As it hap- 
pens, there isn't a person by the name of Andrew 
in the village. The boy vanished next day, after he 


had taken another little walk, unknown to his 
governess, and the last person who spoke to him was 
an old peasant woman upon the cliff, halfway toward 
St. Jude's Church, who told him he should not be out 
alone at such a dangerous place." 

"And what answer did the boy make?" 
"The woman said that he replied that he wouldn't 
be alone long, as his friend Mr. Andrew had prom- 
ised to show him something, but that it was a big 
secret, and he couldn't tell her." 

Mr. Narkom leaned back in his chair, and took a 
large mouthful of tea. His eager eyes sought Cleek's 
thoughtful face. 

There was silence for some minutes; then: 
"Rather careless governess that, to let the child 
wander alone two days in succession," said he sud- 
denly, with an uplifting of the eyebrows. "I should 

have thought after the first time that " 

"Mrs. Luton-Bayber had had a slight attack of 
influenza," interposed Mr. Narkom, "and Miss 
Doritt had had to nurse her. The parents are 
literally distracted, Cleek. Mrs. Luton-Bayber sits 
all day long in his nursery, and can't be moved out 
of it, and the father, too, has settled into a sort of 
coma of despair, and doesn't seem to see or know any- 
thing. Miss Doritt, too, was almost beside herself 
with grief when I saw her, and kept saying that it 
was all her fault that the boy had gone out alone, 
and that she ought to have been more careful. Mr. 
Burnaby , I am told, called immediately at the house 


the day after the disappearance, and offered his 
services in any way that he could. He even or- 
ganized a party of his own workmen, to search for 
the missing child. Every cave on the coast was 
scoured for him, every inch of the countryside, every 
crevice, every cranny. But hide. nor hair of him 
there was none. There, that's the case, Cleek. 
What do you make of it?" 

"I'll tell you later, when I've looked into it a bit," 
responded Cleek, twitching back his head. "An- 
other cup of tea? No? Well, I'll be off and away, 
and change my clothes, then, for it's a long, long way 
to Cornwall, and the sooner we're on the scene of 
the disaster the better for all concerned." 


THEY found it " a long, long way to Cornwall " 
indeed, but at last even that way was trav- 
ersed, and they stood at the front door of a 
big, rambling old country house, low and long, with 
gabled roof and ivy-covered walls, awaiting admit- 
tance to its precincts. That was not long forth- 
coming, and when Mr. Narkom, with Cleek at his 
side, passed into the low-ceiled drawing-room, it 
was nearer luncheon than breakfast, for they had 
travelled all night in the limousine, and had not even 
waited to snatch forty winks at the village inn where 
they stopped for breakfast. 

Mr. Luton-Bayber himself ushered them into the 
room, and then closed the door softly behind him. 
His face was the face of a man in awful anguish of 
soul, his eyes looked restless and haggard, and there 
were deep lines of care about his narrow, close- 
lipped mouth. 

"I don't know how to begin, Mr. Headland," he 
said listlessly, after Mr. Narkom had performed the 
necessary introduction, and "Mr. George Headland" 
stood confessed before them. "It's all been so 
terrible and unwarranted. 1 The local police could 
make nothing of it, so I took the matter into my 



own hands, and sent to Scotland Yard at ono. I 

Mr. Xarkom here kindly came down by the 1 

next train. He has told you all the details, I I 

t I 

" Most of them, certainly," gave back Mr. Head- I 
land in his slow, stupid voice. "No suspicion of 
foul play, I suppose? Or kidnappers? Was your ! 
boy likely to come into any property which might 
induce some unscrupulous rascal to hold him in ran- 
som? I take it, Mr. Luton-Bayber, that you area 
man of means. Pardon the question, but a police- 
man, you know, has privileges which an ordinary 
gentleman has not."* 

"Yes, certainly/* responded Mr. Luton-Bayber 
quietly. "My business is a great one, or was, fori 
have since sold it for an enormous sum of money, 
which my only son Ronald would one day inherit. 
In fact , now, he owned most of the farm lands about 
here; arable culture, Mr. Headland, was my line, 
but on a very great scale, and I had theories which 
fortunately enabled me to 'strike it good,' as our 
American cousins would say. Ronald was the 
youngest landowner anywhere around, and the ten- 
ants of the different farms that belonged to the little 
chap took a great delight in dubbing him 'the little 
Squire, ' and always sent their rents in to him. It 
delighted him a good deal. My nephew, young 
Geoffrey Fawcett, only son of my eldest brother, is 
next of kin. He is a fine young fellow, and is staying 
with us now. High spirited usually, but of late I 


link something has been preying on his mind, for he 
is grown morose and silent, and hardly spoke to 
tybody but little Ronald. Now that the boy has 
>ne, Mr. Headland, he is desolate, as we are; ab- 
lutely desolate." 

Mr. Luton-Bayber paused a moment and drew a 
iep breath. His eyes searched Cleek's face for any 
jn, any clue. But if there were any, Cleek did not 
ow it. 

"Hum!" said he slowly, pinching up his chin be- 
reen a thumb and forefinger. "I should like to 
e this new heir very much indeed. You don't, 

course, connect him in any way with the disap- 
arance, I suppose? Wasn't in any money diffi- 
lties or anything of that sort? " 
" Good God, no. Not that I know of. The idea 
s never entered my head. No, certainly not. 
?offrey has nothing whatever to do with the case; 
ran swear to that. Why, he simply idolizes Ronald, 
d Miss Doritt." 

"I take it that she was the lady who was with the 
>y on his last walk in company with some one else, 
is she not? Could she be called? I should like 

hear her account of the story from her own lips. 
>u never can tell, you know, as the small boy said 
len he broke the barometer, just exactly what kind 

weather is likely to follow after the sunniest day. 
lanks very much. Ah, and this is little Ronald's 
verness, is it? How d'you do, Miss Doritt? I 
iderstand from Mr. Luton-Bayber here that you 


were the last person to accompany the boy uponuf l 1 ^ 
walk which he did not take alone. I am right, in 1 |W, 

not?" In 

Miss Doritt bowed her head. |*i u 

" Yes, Mr. Headland/' she said unevenly, drawnj lie 
in sharp breaths between each word, and Cleck I <k - 
noticed that her eyes were extraordinarily reddened 1^ 
us with much weeping. "Ronald and I went forov l te 
little walk down to St. Jude's Church to watch the 1* 
rebuilding. It was a favourite pastime of his, and 1 : 
he never grew tired of watching the men at work at V 
that huge scaffolding across the face of the chunk 1 
pasting the new stone bricks with. mortar and setting 1 
them in their places. The golden statues par- I 
ticularly took his fancy. His * yellow boys 9 he called 1 
them, and he knew every one of them by some pel | 
name or other/' 

"Just so. And did you meet any one upon that 
walk, Miss Doritt? " 

"Yes — Mr. Burnaby. It is he, you know, who is 
doing the restoration work, and a kinder gentlemai 
it would be difficult to imagine." 

"Made a good impression, eh?" Cleek's eyes 
twinkled for a moment. 

"He was very courteous, and very much of a 
gentleman," she gave back in some confusion. "Be 
spoke kindly to Ronald, and asked him if he would 
like to go inside. But the church is gloomy and foil 
of shadows and Ronald was always afraid of the dark, 
so he refused to go. A short time after that, ire 


urned home. That is all I can tell you, Mr. Head- 
d, quite all." 

IHeek's eyes sought her face with a sort of mute 
uiry in them that made the colour rush to her 

'Sure that's all, Miss Doritt? Every bit?" he 
:ed quietly. "Just think again. It's my busi- 
is, you know, to read people's faces, and I can 
id yours. That's not * quite all,' is it?" 
She flushed again and shifted her eyes to Mr. 
ton-Bayber's face. Then they came back to 

"Well," she stammered at last, "there — there's 
illy nothing more of consequence, Mr. Headland, 
ly the curse of an old woman whom the villagers 
1 a witch." 

Cleek twitched back his head like a terrier scenting 

4 Hello ! " he rapped out sharply. " What's that? 
old woman's curse, eh? Sometimes curses cover 
— other things. I should like to hear exactly 
at the curse was, Miss Doritt, if you don't mind." 
She hesitated a minute, and looked back again at 
r. Luton-Bayber. 

'We were passing her cottage in the village one 
jr, and she was sitting at the door with an old clay 
>e in her mouth. It made Ronald laugh, and 
tlishly, and also very impolitely, he called out to 
% 'Old clay pipe! Old clay pipe!' The name so 
uriated Old Jeanie, as she is called, Mr. Headland, 


that she picked up the pipe and threw it after him, 
screaming a curse meanwhile about his dying % 
the sunshine when the first quarter of the moon was 

Mr. Luton-Bayber glanced up with sharp eyes 
into Miss Doritt's face. 

"I have never heard that story," he said quickly, 
with sudden suspicion. Miss Doritt flushed. 

"I know. Because I have told it to no one. It 
was only an old woman's stupidity, and Mrs. Luton- 
Bayber is so superstitious that I thought it best not to 
tell her. And then the thing quite passed from my 
mind. But Ronald and I never went that way 

"Quite so. And the first quarter of the moon was 
up some few days ago, wasn't it? Curious coinci- 
dence, but one can hardly set much store by it 
That's all, I think, Miss Doritt. And now, sir, if I 
might see a portrait of the boy?" 

A large coloured photograph, heavily framed, hung 
upon the opposite wall, and Mr. Luton-Bayber 
pointed to it. 

"There he is," he said, with a world of g^jnp^ in 
his deep voice. " There's my bonny boy, Mr. Head- 
land. A handsome lad, but very small for his age." 

"Yes, certainly doesn't look a big child. What 
was his height?" 

"Something more than three feet. And he was 
thin, too. Small bones." 

Cleek looked long into the pictured face, with its 


yellow curls and large, wide-open blue eyes. The 
child was certainly handsome; the photograph 
showed that, but he was remarkably undersized for 
a boy of ten years, and he was, as his father had said, 
thin almost to leanness. 

" Well, I certainly can't find anything here," said 
Cleek, after a quick look round the v room and a 
glance at the stricken father whose gaze dwelt upon 
the portrait of the boy he had lost. "If I might go 
up to his nursery, sir? Thanks. No, don't bother 
to come. Up on the right-hand side of the stairs, 
you say? Very well. I won't make any mistake. 
Coming along, Mr. Narkom? Very good." 

The two men passed out of the room, and up the 
passage toward the stairway. 

"Any ideas, old chap?" whispered the Superin- 
tendent eagerly as he trudged up in the wake of his 
famous ally. Cleek looked back over his shoulder. 

"Yes. A few. First, why does Miss Doritt paint 
her eyes red in that rather overdone manner? I 
should think any one but a rank fool would be able 
to discern that * unnatural grief.' And likewise, why 
had she kept the story of the curse so carefully to 
herself? No one with a single grain of common sense 
would believe that, unless the whole story were a 
hoax and a blind. Ah, well!" He stopped on the 
top step and smiled down at the Superintendent 
puffing and blowing in his wake. "It's a sure thing, 
dear friend, that you must not add any more to your 
# waistband, or you'll be having to carry escalator 


apparatuses about with you with which to climb 
stairs. But there's something very 'rrttoa in the 
state of Denmark ' which I'm going to put my finger 
on, and put it there, too, in a brace of shakes." 

They reached the nursery, and left it, after having 
glanced in through the half -open door to where the 
sound of a woman's sobbing came to them through 
the silence and sent the dagger of sympathy piercing 
their two hearts. 

They descended the stairs in silence, and passed 
on down the long, shallow hall toward the drawing- 
room door, where the sound of men's voices came to 
them. There were two newcomers there: one was a 
short, thick-set man with graying hair and heavy 
eyebrows that were like miniature moustaches, and 
truly the kindest blue eyes that ever looked out of 
the mirror of a human face. 

" Gad ! but there's a sunny temper, or I'm a Dutch- 
man," commented Cleek as they passed into the 
room. "Looks like the sort of person who was made 
for reliability, a human prop for other and weaker 
men to lean against. Mr. Burnaby, I take it. 
Pleased to meet you, sir. Headland's the name — 
George Headland of Scotland Yard. Mr. Luton- 
Bayber called us in on the case to investigate." 

" Glad to make your acquaintance," responded Mr. 
Joshua Burnaby with a little formal, old-fashioned 
bow and a smile that showed two rows of extremely 
white teeth. "This is the most awful tragedy that I 
have come upon in all my travels. Terrible, sir, 


terrible! My poor friend here — what it must mean 
to him to lose his only son!" 

Cleek felt an instinctive liking for the man. Then 
he turned toward the other newcomer, and gave him a 
quick glance from under his narrowed eyelids. "A 
fine young fellow/' Mr. Luton-Bayber had called 
him, but hardly "a fine young fellow" did he appear. 
For, in the first place, he had that particular kind of 
eyes which are set rather too close together over the 
bridge of a thin, high nose; his brow was long and 
rather forbidding, and his mouth a narrow thread 
of scarlet set into the mask of his lean face. One 
shoulder drooped lower than the other, and he kept 
continually shifting his feet and running a finger 
under the edge of his collar as though he were a very 
nervous man indeed. 

"Either a guilty conscience, or a fool," Cleek 
mentally designated him as he shook hands with the 
gentleman, and put a question or two to him in a 
rather abrupt voice. "Haven't quite made up my 
mind which." Aloud he remarked: 

"And where were you at the time of the boy's 
disappearance, if I may inquire? Were you in this 
house, or not?" 

The young man shifted his feet uneasily. When 
he spoke there was a catch in his voice, as though he 
were making up his mind whether to speak or not. 

"No," said he finally, "I was not here. F-fact is, 
Mr. Headland, I was seeing a man in Redruth, which 
is clote by here, on — on business." 


"I see. And business of a very personal and 
private character, I take it, from your tone?" 

"Yes. Entirely personal and private." 

"Just so. Well, Mr. Luton-Bayber, there is 
nothing to be discovered here, I'm afraid. And be- 
fore I go up to Truro to look up some little matters in 
connection with the case, I'd like to take a stroll in 
the village, if I may. Never been to Cornwall in 
my life, and haven't the faintest idea what it is like. 
If some one will be so kind as to accompany me " 

Some one was, after Mr. Luton-Bayber had 
shown some disgust and amazement at the altogether 
casual manner in which "Mr. George Headland" 
had dismissed the affair for the moment; and that 
some one was no less a personage than Mr. Joshua 
Burnaby. He laid a hand upon Cleek's arm, and 
smiled his fresh, sudden smile. 

"Come along with me," he said cheerily. "I'll 
take you along and show you our church, and what 
my men are doing to it. It'll interest you, if you've 
any eye for beauty of architecture. You coming 
along, too, Mr. Fawcett? Oh, very well, then; per- 
haps Mr. Narkom will accompany us as well. 
Good-bye for the present, Mr. Luton-Bayber, and 
for God's sake, don't look so troubled and anxious. 
We'll find your boy, I promise you!" 

Then they passed out of the room, and left the 
stricken man alone. The road to the church led 
them along the cliff's edge by a narrow zigzag path 
worn through the grassy slope by continual travel. 


The cliff itself shelved over some fifteen or twenty 
feet above the rocky beach, where a strip of sand, 
white and loose as dry salt, showed them that the 
water never reached quite so far up upon this par- 
ticular portion of the shore. Fifteen minutes' walk 
brought them in sight of the building, a handsome 
pfle of ruins set upon the cliff like the nest of some 
solitary eagle, with neither sight nor sign of any 
habitation for some distance round. In the after- 
noon sunlight Cleek could see the golden statues upon 
its front glistening like great nuggets, and the scaf- 
folding about it was alive with little moving spots 
that were the workmen upon their task. 

44 It's a fine piece of restoration," said he, with a 
deep-drawn breath of admiration as they walked up 
the broad gravelled pathway. "That's what I call 
real philanthropy, Mr. Burnaby, returning to a 
nation one of its own treasures of the past. They're 
doing some splendid work these men of yours, 
with that frontal. Hardly tell it from the origi- 

Mr. Burnaby fairly beamed with delight. He slid 
his hand through Cleek's arm apd drew him forward 
for fL closer inspection. One of the men was stand- 
ing by the great open doorway, with a recumbent 
golden figure lying ready to be hoisted to its niche 
over the centre of the door, and Cleek stepped farther 
forward to inspect it. Then he bent down suddenly 
and picked something out of the gravel and put it 
into his pocket with a smile of satisfaction. 


"Bit of my favourite lichen," said he, answering 
Mr, Burnaby's inquiring look. "Grows on old 
places like this, and I'm a fair fool over botany. 
Keep specimens and all that. What are the statues 
made of, if I may ask? Marble or stone, or what? 
They're very fine." 

Mr. Burnaby leaned over and whispered some- 
thing in his ear. 

Plaster," he said with a little knowing smile. 

Nothing more nor less than common plaster. That 
was a little idea of my own. We took the original 
statues, which were mutilated and broken in parts, 
and poured the stuff over them. When it hardened 
it left a perfect model, and the finishing touches were 
put on afterward, and the gilding done. Smart, 
wasn't it?" 

"Very," gave back Cleek enthusiastically. Then 
the others came up, and the conversation became 
general. Mr. Narkom showed an Englishman's 
delight in the restoration process and admired every- 
thing in his voluble way. Then he called Mr. Burn- 
aby to come over and introduce him to the foreman 
of this wonderful work, and Cleek and young Fawcett 
stood alone. Suddenly Cleek dived again, picked 
up something, sniffed at it for a few moments, and 
put that, too, in his pocket. 

"Bit of a collector," he explained] to the interested 
young man. "Always poking my nose around 
somewhere to see what I can find. Policeman's 
business as well, you know, Mr. Fawcett, and I'm 


no sluggard at the task. They're beckoning us; 
we'd better go in." 

He followed in the wake of the two men, and they 
entered the church together. It was very beautiful 
in the interior, and now that the roof had been built 
over the main body, one noticed that the height was 
enormous. At the high altar they paused to admire 
the carving of the wood of which it was wrought, 
and Geek pointed to a little door, also carved, which 
lay at the back of it, and seemed to point to some 
secret hiding-place. 

" Where does that lead to? " he said in his interested 
manner. "That door — I presume it is a door, 
though I know they were in the habit of carving 
panels behind the altar-pieces in the good old days — 
looks a fine bit of work." 

"Yes," assented Mr. Burnaby, "it is a fine bit of 
work, I believe. They say that some secret cup- 
board lies behind it; I've tried many times to wrench 
it open, but it's too much for my poor strength, and 
the years have swollen the wood so that it will not 

"I see. Well, I suppose we'd better be getting on 
now. It's nearly tea time, and I'm as hungry as a 
hunter. And I promised Miss Doritt I'd show her 
the way to plant those bulbs she was so interested 
in." Cleek noticed the quick, sharp look of jealousy 
that Mr. Fawcett threw at him, and drew his own 
conclusions. So that was the way the land lay, was 
it? Hum! A match, most possibly. But how 


could a girl like that Miss Doritt Then sud- 
denly he twitched back his head and gave a little 
noiseless laugh. "Birds of a feather!" and all the 
rest of it. Then they passed out of the church into 
the afternoon sunlight. A workman was hoisting 
the gold figure up in his arms with a good deal of 
care, and Cleek stepped forward instantly. 

"Here," said he, "let's lend a hand. Bit difficult, 
eh? Wait a moment; I'll hold it for you until you 
get that ladder straight. Steady, now! Fine repre- 
sentation, Mr. Burnaby. Even my somewhat lim- 
ited teaching will tell me that it's supposed to be the 
Infant Samuel, eh? Yes? I thought so. There, 
that's it. Got him fast, have you? That's all right. 
Good afternoon." 

Then he spun upon his heel and rejoined the group 
that was waiting for him at the bottom of the wide 
drive, and together they walked back along the cliff 
to the Manse and the stricken parents of the lost 

Mr. Burnaby left them at the door, and young 
Fawcett went back with him, as he wanted some 
stamps in the village; so Cleek and Mr. Narkom 
walked into the drawing-room together. Mr. 
Luton-Bayber was standing at the window, looking 
out. He turned at the sound of their footsteps and 
approached them; his face was lined and furrowed 
with the sorrow that was eating its way into his sou], 

" Good afternoon," he said in a dull, lifeless voice, 
"I hope you've enjoyed your walk, gentlemen. I 


can hardly expect you to have discovered any clue to 
my poor boy's whereabouts. That would be asking 
too much/' 

" But not more than I am willing to give/' replied 
Geek, the queer little one-sided smile travelling up 
his cheek. "I can say nothing at the present, Mr. 
Luton-Bayber, but if you will meet me here in this 
drawing-room to-morrow morning at eleven, I may 
have something that will throw some light upon the 
case. No; I tell you I can say nothing as yet; I can 
give no hope. The night will show. But for the 
present, I am going down to the village to interview 
Old Jeanie and see if she has anything to tell me. 
And, by the way, if you can find out exactly what 
kind of business detained your nephew in Redruth 
on the afternoon of June the eleventh, I'd be much 
obliged. Good-bye, for the present — and you might 
get him to be with you in the morning when I return; 
also Miss Doritt. That's all, I think. Good-day." 

Then he spun on his heel and, beckoning Mr. Nar- 
kom, left the astonished gentleman staring after his 
retreating figure, a newly-aroused suspicion growing 
in his mind, and incredulity marked plainly upon his 


*T ELEVEN the next morning, Cleek had said, 
/-\ but it was nearly a quarter to twelve when he 
<+* ~ at last made his appearance, followed by a 
white-faced, excited Superintendent, and stepped into 
the old-fashioned drawing-room where already Mr. 
Luton-Bayber was seated, with young Fawcett 
leaning against the mantelpiece, looking down into 
Miss Doritt's upturned face, while Mr. Burnaby 
made a fourth to the little group. 

"Thought I'd just look in on you and see if there 
was any news," Mr. Burnaby said, as he greeted 
Cleek with outstretched hand, a genuine welcome 
shining in his eyes. " Got to get off to Truro by the 
twelve- thirty train, to see about some more * church' 
stuff that hasn't arrived, and for which the men are 
waiting. Can't get on, poor beggars. Tell us what 
you know, Mr. Headland, for pity's sake. I'll wager 
none of us have slept a wink for anxiety. Have you 
found poor Ronald yet?" 

Cleek shook his head. 

"No," he said gravely, "but I've got some news of 
him, which is something. Will you all put on your 
hats and walk down with me toward the cliff? 
Old Jeanie is to meet us there at one, and there is a 



little matter with regard to a certain gentleman's 
business upon the afternoon of June the eleventh 
that wants looking into. You will? Ah, I'm glad. 
Can I fetch your hat for you, Miss Doritt? I saw it 
hanging in the hall. Been out for an early walk, 
haven't you? I thought I saw you at eight this 
morning by the cliff, or perhaps I was mistaken. 
Ready? Very well, then, we'll be moving on, for 
time is short, and I've got to get back to London this 
afternoon by the five o'clock train." 

Miss Doritt 's pretty pale face went a sort of brick- 
red at Cleek's allusion to that "early walk," and at 
the mention of that "certain gentleman's business 
on June the eleventh" all eyes instinctively tinned 
toward young Fawcett, until he was fairly beside 
himself with that miserable self-consciousness that 
people of his temperament show under such circum- 
stances. A move was made toward the front door 
and the whole party set forth along the cliff's edge 
toward the church, where Old Jeanie had promised 
to meet Cleek. 

Her cottage was the nearest place approaching it, 
and as she was supposed to be on the other side of 
ninety, walking was hardly one of her pastimes. 
" But she wouldn't hear of my bringing you all down 
to her house," he said, in reply to Mr. Luton-Bayber's 
inquiry. "She persisted that she would rather meet 
us here by the church; she didn't want her house 
'overrun with the pack of 'em' was the unflattering 
way she expressed it. Ah, and here we are. with 


half an hour to wait. Might show us round, Mr. 
Burnaby, won't you? I could see this place over 
and over again without getting tired." 

Mr. Burnaby drew out his watch and looked at it. 

"Haven't got much time/' he said with a shake 
of the head, "but I'd be glad to show you what I 
can." Then he made a move toward Cleek and 
whispered something in his ear, giving a guarded 
look back to where young Fawcett was chatting with 
Miss Doritt, the morning sunlight streaming down 
upon his pale face and narrow, close-set eyes. Cleek 
nodded significantly. 

" Yes," said he in an undertone, and then : " Not a 
word, mind you. But this morning, Old Jeanie — 
she saw him with the boy — yes — hush! he's coming. 
Might take us inside, Mr. Burnaby. I'll be bound 
that the rest of the party haven't seen the place as 
closely as I have." 

The rest of the party hadn't, and so Mr. Burnaby 
led the way inside, and Cleek, coming last, jostled 
against young Fawcett 's figure and set the great door 
swinging upon its hinges with a clang. 

"Clumsy fool!" he ejaculated as they all turned 
their heads at the sound . " Banged it with my elbow. 
Hope I didn't hurt you, Mr. Fawcett? So careless." 
He slipped a hand out and quietly turned the key in 
the door, and put it into his pocket. Then the party 
advanced toward the altar and stood before it admir- 
ing the carving of its frontal piece. 

" That bit of work at the back is what gets me," 


commented Cleek as they moved in a body toward it, 
Mr. Narkom at his left side and Mr. Burnaby at his 
right, with Luton-Bayber, Miss Doritt, and young 
Fawcett bringing up the rear. "Finest thing in the 
place, to my thinking. No, no, Mr. Fawcett, come 
back here; I've something particular I want to say 
to you, and I don't want you wandering off while I'm 
saying it. About that little business on the eleventh." 

He wheeled suddenly upon his heel and bent his 
eyes upon young Fawcett's startled, dough-white 
face. There was a little flutter in the group, Mr. 
Luton-Bayber stepped forward as if to speak, Mr. 
Burnaby settled his mouth into a line which said 
plainly, " I told you so ! " and Miss Doritt gave out a 
hasty, terrified scream. 

"Thought you'd bluff it out, did you?" threw out 
Cleek in a voice of thunder as the young man tossed 
back his head and began stammering explanation^ 
as fast as it was possible to conceive them. "But 
not if I know it. My name's not Cleek if I don't 
know a criminal when I see one." 

"Cleek!" The word came from them in an as- 
tonished cry. 

The queer, one-sided smile looped up the corner 
of his mouth and as he had been speaking his fingers 
had touched a tiny button in the carved panel, and 
it had slid noiselessly back, to reveal a dark, cavern- 
ous opening, down which ran a flight of narrow stone 

"Just Cleek of Scotland Yard, gentlemen, at your 


service/' he said serenely. "And in this little matter 
with Mr. Fawcett here " 

Came the sound of a sudden scuttle of footsteps, 
a quick, hasty exclamation, and then, before you 
could say "Jack Robinson," Cleek had whirled 
round upon the swiftly moving figure of Mr. Joshua 
Burnaby as he was in the act of slipping through the 
aperture. Catching him by the leg in a little bit of 
jiu-jitsu that he had learned in those dark days 
that had gone, Cleek brought him crashing to the 
floor, where he lay, a squirming, wriggling, screeching 
thing, with Cleek 's hands locked about his throat 
and Cleek's knee planted firmly upon his chest. 

"Got you! Got you, you infernal hell-dog!" 
rapped out that gentleman sharply, as there came 
the sound of a sharp click-click and the bracelets 
glittered upon the prisoner's wrists. "Got you as 
safe as houses, thank God, before you and your little 
tribe can go on with your game of cheating the King 
of his lawful rights, or of slaughtering any more 
innocent children just because they happen to have 
got a peep into the inner workings of your little con- 
cern ! Mr. Narkom, give those boys a whistle, and 
we'll have the whole gang in harness in a brace of 
shakes. That's it, that's it! Here's your man, 
lads, and take good care that the 'kind' gentleman 
doesn't slip through your fingers, for he's as slippery 
as the proverbial eel. Now then, gentlemen, come 

"Good God!" It was Mr. Luton-Bayber's voice 


telling him by the leg in a little bit of jiu-jitsu 
Cleck brought him crashing to the floor" 



that spoke, Mr. Luton-Bayber's voice filled with an 
awful anguish, a terrified awakening. "Slaughtered 
innocent children, you said, Mr. Cleek? What did 
you mean? Surely not Mr, Burnaby? Surely not 

"Surely, yes" gave back Cleek softly. "God! 
but I'd give my soul not to have to break this awful 
thing to you, sir. That's where the hard part of this 
kind of game comes in. But it's got to be done, it's 
got to be done. The lad's — gone, Mr. Luton-Bayber, 
beyond hurt, beyond harm, and the body is hidden 
here, in this church, where all eyes can see, but only the 
chosen few can understand. Steady there, steady! 
It'll be harder for the wife than for you, you know, 
but it's a man's part to carry the heaviest burden. 
You want to see it, then? Very well. But first, 
there is this other little matter that cannot wait, 
and he, poor lad, can." 

Then he beckoned to the little band of blue- 
coated constables that were standing near, with the 
prisoner in their midst, and waved away those who 
held him. 

"Take him to the local prison until Mr. Narkom 
is ready for him," he said in a cold, harsh voice. 
"The less time one spends in the company of such a 
devil the better. Come, gentlemen." He led the 
way down the dark little staircase, behind the panel, 
while they followed after him, stumbling in the semi- 
darkness. Down, down they went, almost into the 
bowels of the earth it seemed, until, of a sudden, the 


stairs stopped, and they stepped out into a wide, 
cavernous, rock-bound place, with a tiny passageway 
which led out into still another cave, and from thence 
to the seashore. The place was littered with picks 
and shovels, and the instruments that men use to 
extract metals from the parth, and there were trays 
full of broken earth-crust crumbled almost into dust 
in the search that had been made through it. 

Here Cleek stopped and turned toward them. 

"Don't expect you'll find many left, boys," he 
said to the men who stood waiting for his commands, 
"but hunt the place through. Every nook, every 
cranny. Don't let one escape. They've got the men 
working on the front, haven't they? Good. Now, 
get along with you. Gentlemen — Miss Doritt — " 
he turned toward them and threw out his hands 
in a little theatrical gesture that so much belied the 
character of him — "in this innocent-looking place 
you find the den of one of the smartest gangs of 
Government thieves in existence. True successors 
to those smugglers who used to use this very cave 
for the carrying out of their contraband goods. The 
office building of Mr. Joshua Burnaby's staff of 
miners, who are here for the purpose of extracting 
pitch-blende, and who have by now made a pretty 
penny out of it, too, or I'm a Dutchman." 

" Mr. Cleek ! " The name came involuntarily from 
young Fawcett's lips. "Pitch-blende, sir?" 

"Yes, pitch-blende, Mr. Fawcett. That par- 
ticularly rare ore which, as you know, is extracted 


from the metal uranium, and is the substance from 
which radium is chiefly obtained. Our friend Mr. 
Burnaby must have discovered its existence here, 
for Cornwall is one of the very few spots in which it is 
to be found, and put his ingenuity to work im- 
mediately. His restoration of the church was a good 
excuse for getting natural admittance to the place, 
and the smugglers of old helped him in his plan by 
unconsciously building him a workshop right among 
the ore itself. But the process of extraction is 
necessarily a long one, and one has to have money in 
the first place to exploit it, for the pitch-blende, 
after its extraction from the uranium, has to be 
boiled in a concentrated solution of carbonate of 
soda, and the residue dissolved in hydrochloric acid. 
The radium and other metals are then precipitated 
in the form of insoluble sulphates by the addition of 
sulphuric acid. I've no doubt that we should. find 
a complete laboratory in our friend Mr. Burnaby 's 
house if we took the trouble to look, but we've 
proof enough here without that. What's that, Mr. 
Pawcett? How did I find out? 

" Why, that little bit of lichen which I picked up in 
the pathway yesterday told me. Its species was a 
very special one, so special, in fact, that, like the 
pussy of the fairy story, I * smelt a rat.' It was, in 
fact, a lichen that took the form of a piece of that 
particular kind of earth-crust which contains uran- 
ium. Then that oak panel at the back of the altar- 
piece, which Mr. Burnaby showed Mr. Narkom and 


myself yesterday, was another clue in the right 
direction. I noticed that the carving upon it was 
of a more modern, more cultured school than that 
which had conceived the altar-piece, and the edges 
of it had a smooth polished appearance as of the 
passage of fingers constantly upon it. Also, when 
I put my hand against it, it jarred silently, as 
if it had been often opened. Last night, when the 
rest of you good people were in bed, Mr. Narkom 
and I came down here to investigate. We found out 
— which, after all, is a policeman's duty, Mr. Fawcett 
— just as I happened to find out the reason of your 
little jaunt to Redruth, to see a man 'on business,' 
was to procure a marriage license made out in the 
name of Miss Rose Doritt and yourself, and ar- 
ranged to take place this morning at eight o'clock. 
It was luck that guided me into the Town Hall, 
where I saw a man making out a record of that par- 
ticular license right under my very nose — luck and 
Old Jeanie combined, for she seems to be a person 
who knows everybody else's business a great deal 
better than her own." 

He looked at the two faces of the young couple and 
saw the truth of his statement written upon them. 
Mr. Luton-Bayber gazed from one to the other like a 
man demented. 

"Married?" he said blankly. "You two mar- 
ried ?" 

"Yes, and likely to very happy, too, I should say, 
from the look of them," threw in Cleek softly. 


"Air. Fawcett, forgive me. I didn't think you had 
it in you, you know. To run away with a girl like 
that, out of hand, because she had refused you re- 
peatedly, and then bring a marriage license to wave in 
her face. Women always loved, and always will 
love, the cave-man ancestor rather better than the 
polished descendant of to-day. Come, let us get 
hack into God's daylight again, and find the end of 
the riddle at last. 9 ' 

He turned upon his heel and led the way once more 
up the narrow stone stairway into the body of the 
church, and from there out through the great doors, 
which he unlocked quietly with his key, into the 
sunshine. Mr. Luton-Bayber followed him with a 
stricken, ashen face. 

"My boy!" he kept saying softly to himself. 
"My own little Ronnie! Where is he, Mr. Cleek? 
Where is he?" 

"Up there," said Cleek quietly, pointing one arm, 
above the church door to the seventh niche, where the 
infant Samuel sparkled and shone with its coating of 
new gold. "Hidden in that figure, and set up as one 
of God's own little angels, Mr. Luton-Bayber. 
Steady, man, steady! God! I can imagine what 
the shock must be, but the choice was surely a happy 
one, if there is anything to find in it that can have 
the element of happiness marked there. Sit down 
a minute, old chap, and rest yourself. There!" as 
he led him to an oak bench, that stood on one side of 
the church door, for the weary to rest before entering 


into its sacred precincts. "That's better! What? 
You want to hear all about it? Very well, then, I'll 
tell you. In the first place, I made the discovery 
yesterday, when I came here with that brute-beast, 
and saw the figure lying on the ground, ready to be 
hoisted into place. He told me the statues were 
plaster casts, but when one of the workmen lifted it, 
it struck me that there was more than * plaster cast' 
in that particular figure, if not in the others. So 
I gave him a hand with it, just to see. The weight 
was something under five stone; four stone odd is 
about the average weight of a boy of ten; the rest of 
it lies in the stuff that covers the body. 

"Secondly, with my finger-nail I had flaked off a 
bit of the gilt, and found that there was some other 
sort of substances which had a strong smell under- 
neath. It proved to be varnish. And the height of 
the statue, too : — roughly, I should say it is about 
three feet six, the height of your boy, Mr. Luton- 
Bayber, from what you tell me. The — the odour 
that hung about the thing gave me the final clue. 
No doubt that arch-fiend had another statue of the 
infant Samuel all ready to put up in its place when 
opportunity afforded, but he chose that devil's 
hiding-place for the time being, until he could get the 
body away for good. 

"And — what did you say, Miss Doritt? Why did 
he murder the boy? Why, for the simplest of rea- 
sons. You remember the lad's story of the discovery 
of a cave and his subsequent talk with a man called 


Andrew upon the seashore? Andrew was Burnaby 
himself, of course. The child did not know his name 
and the man gave that one as an extra * blind.' The 
boy had obviously walked into the place unknowingly 
and Burnaby was afraid he would go home and talk 
about it to every one else. You can very easily see 
how Burnaby's undoing might have been brought 
about by the boy's absorbing interest in the cave 
and his very natural desire to share his discovery 
with his parents. No doubt Burnaby made a bar- 
gain with the lad to meet him the next day, and then 
— that was the end. The child was probably 
strangled, and the body carried down into the cave, 
where the abominable work of disguise was done. 

" I think that is all. The riddle is solved, and I'll 
be getting back to London to the unravelling of other 
riddles. Mr. Luton-Bay ber," he went toward the 
anguished figure upon the bench, and laid a hand 
upon the stricken shoulder, "good-bye, and God give 
you the solace that I cannot. To have lost your boy 
— your only boy! But the years are long yet, and 
perhaps — who knows? He may send you another 
one in his place. Miss Doritt," he crossed back 
again to where the young couple were standing, 
looking into each other's eyes with a sort of mingled 
happiness and shamed grief that was very apparent 
upon their faces, "don't try and make grief cbme 
when it isn't there to show for itself. You know what 
I mean — you must. If you didn't love the boy as 
you felt you ought " 


"I — I couldn't, Mr. Cleek; I couldn't. He was 
such a — a little beast to me; so rude and unmannerly 
and horrid — and now, when he's gone " 

"I know, I know. But there was no need for 
those reddened eyelids, was there? And you needn't 
have felt called upon to grieve — like that. Sin- 
cerity, you know, is the chief essential. But youth 
has much to learn, and I wish you all the happiness 
in the world. Good-bye, Mr. Fawcett, and good 
luck to you. Good-bye, all. Mr. Narkom, time's 
getting short, and I'm keen for the river and the 
roses again." 

Then, with one long last look at the figure of the 
man for whom life had lost all its joy, in that other 
little life that had gone out of it, he gave a short, 
sharp sigh, looked up into heaven, as if to solve the 
greater riddle there, and swung onward along the 
cliff's edge, with his hand in Mr. Narkom's arm, 
and was silent for a long, long time. 


WITHIN the next few days all the joys of 
heaven were Cleek's, for he was content in 
the knowledge of Ailsa's safety. True, to 
have her so far from him took a little of the happiness 
away, but as she had written in her prompt letter, 
she was busy in making concluding purchases for 
that most important event of her life, her wedding, 
and happy in the knowledge that soon she would 
rejoin him never to part again. He spent much of 
his spare time in the garden, among the flowers he 
loved and which, in their very fragrance, reminded 
him so constantly of her. Up at cock-crow each 
morning with the first light of dawn, he was digging 
and delving and dreaming of the still greater joy 
when she, the woman who had drawn him up from 
the underworld, the woman for whose sake he had 
gladly given up a throne, should be his by all the 
laws of right — and might. Even Mr. Narkom, busy 
at Scotland Yard with the multitudinous small cases 
which occupied his time, was lulled into security and 
only satisfied himself by a daily 'phone call which told 
him that his beloved ally and friend was in safety. 

At the end of the second week all was in readiness, 
and Cleek had determined to return to town the 



following day, to have a look around the Apache 
centres in Soho, to discover if possible the where- 
abouts of Margot's gang. 

He slept as usual on the houseboat, anchored at 
tlie end of the landing stage, with Dollops curled up 
outside the door, like the faithful young animal he 
was. Every night Cleek would pack him off to his 
own bunk, and half an hour later would find him 
outside his master's door, curled up like a kitten and 
as fast asleep as though the very heavens themselves 
could never wake him. 

Usually Cleek slept the dreamless, healthy sleep 
of the man at peace with himself and all the 
world, yet to-night he was wakeful, and knelt looking 
out of the little white-curtained houseboat window, 
his thoughts far away across that wider strip of water 
which separated him from Ailsa and all that he held 
most dear. And then, from out the silence and the 
solitude, as if over the very water itself, came a 
sound. It seemed to him to be a voice he knew. 
Surely it was, it must be! It was Ailsa herself 
calling to him in the vivid mental reaches of his 
mind's understanding. 

Shaking himself still wider awake, heleanedforward, 
and listened, every nerve pricking and quivering. 
But there was no actual sound. The whole thing 
was supernatural, a sort of calling of soul to soul, 
and Cleek, unable to explain, yet assured that Ailsa, 
in some inexplicable way, needed him, turned and 
plunged out of the quiet of the cabin. 


"Lor' lumme, sir, thought it was them Apaches 
again," ejaculated Dollops excitedly, as he leaped to 
his feet; then, catching sight of his master's grim, 
tense face, with the eyes like pin points, he lapsed 
into a startled silence, and waited for Cleek to speak. 
" Lock all up and get back to town as sharp as you 
can," Cleek rapped out in grim, staccato tones. 

" Paris . . . sir, and without me ! " began Dol- 
lops, his face the colour of a whitey-brown paper bag. 
"Can't stop to explain, youngster," responded 
Cleek sharply. "Get to Mr. Narkom, tell him to 
'phone through to the Chief of Police in Paris to give 
me official assistance, and look out for yourself." 

He swung off into the semi-darkness of the summer 
night and before Dollops had fully mastered the 
situation he could hear the sound of Cleek's foot- 
steps rapidly nearing the end of the landing stage. 
A matter of forty-five minutes and Cleek was in 
London, and without stopping for bite or sup, change 
or message, he flung himself into a train that should 
take him to Dover there to catch the first boat for 
Calais and thence to Paris, where he felt certain that 
Ailsa was in some dire distress. Frantically impa- 
tient, though outwardly calm, he arrived the next 
day in the "City of Pleasure" and drove direct to 
the Rue St. Gaulois, where the Baron and his 
daughter had been living, and from where Ailsa 
had written but three days ago. 
Hardly had he been shown into the gilded drawing- 


room when the Baron himself came in, and the 
first glance of his grave face told Cleek that his 
intuitions were correct. 

"Ah, m'sieur, but how glad I am to see you!" 
cried he shaking his hand vigorously, meanwhile 
resting anxious eyes upon Cleek's face. "But now 
you will explain — Miss Lome — she is with you, eh? 
and safe? You get ze telegram?" 

"With me? Safe? Telegram?" rapped out Cleek 
his face suddenly gone gray. " My God, Baron ! what 
do you mean? Is Ailsa not with you then?" 

"Non! I understood, Oh! mon Dieut what haa 
happened? Miss Lome, so happy, went to meet you 
at ze Gare du Nord, and we, my daughter and I, 
we have not seen her since. I wire to you at ze 
Yard, do you call it, las' night, but now you are here. 
I can make no heads nor tails of anything. If not 
with you, then where is she?" 

"God knows!" 

Cleek sat a moment very, very still. He knew 
now why that cry had come to him in the night. 
Ailsa was in the hands of those devils, Maurevanian 
or Apaches, it mattered not, and he who loved her, 
who would have given his very life for her, was with- 
out clue or sign. 

His face went suddenly grim, the lines about his 
mouth tightened until it was a mere slit in the gray 
mask of his face. At sight of it, the Baron crossed 
himself devoutly, as a good Catholic should, and 
waited in silence. 


It might have been five minutes, it might have 
been ten, but to the waiting Baron it was an eternity 
before Cleek roused himself from the torpor into 
which the news had thrown him. 

Then he said peremptorily : " Will you give me a 
room to go to and fro, no, no, not in the house, but 
have you a stable or outhouse, or something like 

"A room? But why not my guest here in ze 
house?" asked the Baron, only thankful to find him- 
self of some use. 

"No, no, it must not be the house. Some other 
part — stable or barn or " 

"Zere is ze empty garage, round at ze back," 
struck in the Baron, swiftly, with a nod of the head. 

"Good! The very thing. Give me the key, and 
let me see what I can do." 

He would say no more, but having finally got the 
key and seen Mile, de Carjorae and comforted her 
with the assurance that they were not to blame, 
Cleek swung on his heel, and drifted out into the 
thronged streets of Paris, with one thought in his 
mind, to find Ailsa, and if need be — to kill. 


RIOT and laughter reigned supreme in the lairs 
of the Apaches that night in Paris, and not 
^ even the police themselves would have ven- 
tured into many of the tiny cabarets at the back of 
Montmartre. Frequenters of the quarter buttoned 
their coats round them, as they heard the sound of 
the raucous, shrill laughter borne out through the 
open doors, and sniffed the heavy reek of wine and 
caporal that floated like a cloud above them. Yes, 
the Apaches were evidently in high feather, and as 
an ill-dressed, evil-looking fellow slouched into the 
Twisted Arm, his face disfigured with a hardly-healed 
scar from a recent fight, a little shout went up from 
two or three men, grouped round the bar over which 
Mother Marise was once more installed. 

"Mon Dieu! Gustave Lerue, Gustave! They said 
you were dead. Died in prison!" cried out a few 
of them in the harsh staccato of excitement. 

The man Gustave shook his head. 

"SacS norrty" he growled, and his hand went in* 
stinctively to his pocket. "Show me the man who 
said the lie and I'll choke him dead!" He spat on 
the sawdust floor. "Let the pigs of police look out 
for themselves. I'm in funds, brother. Here's to 



Margot. Drink to our Queen !" He threw a gold 
coin on to the bar, and joined in the rush made for 
the glasses of green absinthe that were instantly 
forthcoming. Soon indeed a noisy, shouting medley 
of humanity crowded about him, talking and listen- 
ing to his plans of revenge for his capture some six 
months ago, and relating in their turn events which 
had happened in his absence. 

It was Marise who came laughing and leering at 
him later in the night. "I've a pretty bride for 
you, Gustave, mon ami!' 9 She shrugged her 
shoulders and wagged a dirty forefinger in his face. 
"A pretty bride, since you are so rich. An English 
bride. What think you of her?" 

"What think I? That you had better keep her 
for some other man. I care not for the cold English 
ladies, Marise," he gave back roughly. "Give me 
life, warmth. No icicles for Gustave, ma chere /" 

A roar of drunken laughter greeted the joke. But 
Marise continued to persuade. 

"She means money, Gustave. Margot told us 
to get this Ailsa Lome and keep her. She is going 
to deal with her herself, when she returns next week. 
Much money for all of us, mon vieux, that's what it 

" Name of a dog ! And who is this Ailsa Lome you 
speak of?" demanded Gustave Lerue sleepily, throw- 
ing down another louis and lifting in its place still 
another glass of the greenish liquid that can so loosen 
the tongue and make such fools of wise men. 


"Why, Gustave, and you to forget the Rat! the 
Man of the Forty Faces! It's his woman," re- 
sponded Marise. "His woman, man ami, remember 

" Then she shall be mine instead ! " 

Unsteadily he rose to his feet, an oath on his 

"It's that rat, Cleek, eh?" he broke out at last, 
shaking his fists in a sort of drunken frenzy. " Cleek, 
the Cracksman ! Cleek, the Forty Faces ! Ah ! But 
Margot shall have them both. Cleek is in Paris, 
mesfreres. I saw him here with my own eyes, coming 
out of the Rue de Nord." 

Instantly there was pandemonium. And in the 
midst of it Lerue rose to his feet, swaying unsteadily, 
and shouted : 

" Show me your English captive. Let me have a 
look at her, and then make her send for her lover. 
Mon Dzeu ! but I'll take the note myself, for I know 
where he is staying. Margot shall have the Rat 
safe under lock and key to-night, or my name isn't 
Gustave Lerue." 

Another shout of approval greeted this, and Marise, 
fumbling in her bosom for a key, beckoned him to 
follow her. 

A party of them went with him, evil-looking 
scoundrels each one. At the end of a dark passage 
behind the bar, Marise flung open a tiny door. Lerue 
peered into the half gloom. His eyes caught sight 
of a figure, bound with a rope to the chair upon which 


she sat, the shrinking figure of Ailsa Lome, white- 
faced, terrified, and half fainting from the fear that 
was within her. 

Gustave swaggered up, and tapped her face in- 
solently with his finger. 

"A bit too pale for me," he snickered with a 
drunken leer. " Get some wine, and let's make the 
colour come. See, ma belle I thou shalt dance for 
us, instead of the Cracksman." 

The wooden roof rang again with the shouts this 
idea brought forth. One went for wine, while 
another slashed at the rope which bound her lagging 
form. With a harsh, drunken laugh, Gustave 
dragged her to her feet. 

"Now, my pretty, we'll have a dance and a song. 
Look up for a kiss. Ah ! cold, cold as death are the 
lips of her, comrades! I would not wish another. 

He forced her to swallow some of the wine, brought 
by Marise herself, and was still grasping her in his 
filthy hands when there came an ominous sound of 
knocking in the shop beyond. Instantly a silence 
fell. Then: 

"Open, in the name of the law!" 

"The Police!" They scattered like rabbits, only 
Marise pausing uncertain of what best course to 

"The girl! It's my life if Margot loses her," she 
whimpered, looking up into Lerue's face. He gave a 
sharp laugh. 


" I'll carry her off through the passage under ground. 
Go and get rid of these dogs outside." 

With a nod of comprehension and relief Marise 
disappeared, locking the door behind her, and Gus- 
tave pried up a hidden trap door. 

Then he turned to Ailsa, who was crouched, half 
fainting, in the corner. And his voice took on a 
sudden new and familiar note. 

"Quick, Ailsa, my darling! Be brave a few min- 
utes longer." Cleek tore off the disguising wig and 
caught her to him, lifting her bodily in his arms. 

She gave a little cry of happiness. "My dear! 
my dear!" Then together they descended into the 
sewer's depths, at the end of which Cleek knew lay 
safety, and the upper world at last. 

A hastily produced pocket torch lit the way for 
them ; above him, already, Cleek could hear the roar 
of the Apaches, who had returned to find their prey 
missing. It seemed ages, though but a few short 
minutes, before a glimmer of light and the end of the 
passage brought them up to the living world again. 

"Oh, my dear, my dear!" Ailsa whispered, as 
Cleek set her down in the safety of a dark doorway 
and leaned back against it. " To think, just to think 
what might have been!" 

For a moment, recollection of the peril just passed 
held them both dumb, then Cleek, with a sharp laugh, 
stepped out suddenly and hailing a taxi drove back 
again to the Baron's house. 

But he would not risk another night in Paris, and 


an hour later saw them on board the train, on their 
return journey to London and the saf ety and vigi- 
lance of the Yard. 

They found Mr. Narkom, to whom they had wired 
their safety, anxiously awaiting them at Charing 
Cross, with Dollops in attendance, and the relation 
of their adventure was not likely to add to the 
Superintendent's comfort. 

"What are you going to do now?" he queried, as 
they entered the limousine. 

"Drive to the Hotel Rose and put up there, and 
you can put a few plain-clothes men on guard," was 
Cleek's quick reply. "Don't worry, Mr. Narkom; 
we have won out again, and perhaps this time for 
good and all." 

But it was all very well to tell Mr. Narkom not to 
worry. As a matter of fact, he had already reached 
the stage known as "fairly frantic" over the events 
of the past week. However, when he entered his 
private office at Scotland Yard a fortnight later he 
dropped into his chair with a sigh of satisfaction. 
For the first time that week, his report sheet was 
clear. Good ! He had scotched that gang of smug- 
glers at last. Now he would be freed from the 
reproaches of his colleagues and the sneering smiles of 
his subordinates, as every fresh case had been brought 
home to his notice. Gad ! he'd just like them to be 
in his place for a week, and see whether they could 
stop unlimited cargoes of saccharine being passed 
through the Custom House, absolutely free from duty 


and discovery only being made when it was too late, 
through the channels of the Secret Service spies and 
the political underworld. 

The oncoming of footsteps outside caused him no 
qualms of doubt. This time he would be able to 
report a clean sheet; and at the opening and closing 
of the door behind him he wheeled round with the 
dignity of a judge of the High Court of Chancery 

"Well, Petrie?" he said blandly to the detective- 
sergeant who stood with bared head in front of him. 
"All right this time, eh? I thought my little dodge 
would work — searching every vessel in the port, one 
at a time. Speak up, man. There isn't anything to 
report, is there ?" 

" Yes, sir. There's another case got through some- 
how," gave back Petrie with just the suspicion of a 
change in his imperturbable countenance. "Mr. 
Kesteven has just wired through to the Yard with 
the news." 

"Another case! Good heavens, man, it's impos- 
sible ! Every boat and passenger has been searched 
by my own men." 

"Yes, sir," said Petrie patiently, "but it's true, 
sir. Mr. Kesteven at the Customs says the source 
of information is an umim— urn " 

"Unimpeachable one," rapped out the Superin- 
tendent irritably. 

"Yes, sir. Hate them four barrelled words my- 
self. That's the sixth case this week. Some one's 


making a pretty good thing out of it. Saccharine's 

fetching a fair price just now, but if this goes on " 

"Goes on!" Mr. Narkom drummed his fists im- 
patiently on the arms of his revolving chair. " Goes 
on! If it does, I shall go mad. Man alive, you 
don't know what this means. It means the total 
ruin of industry, international espionage, and possibly 
a war, if something isn't done. Meanwhile, of 
course, it is all my fault. Gad ! I'd like to give 'em a 
taste of it!" 

Detective Petrie gave a little dry cough, glanced 
nervously at the frowning face of his chief, then 
finally, taking his courage in both hands, spoke 

"There's only one man as can get to the bottom 
of it, sir, and that's Mr. Cleek," said he nervously, 
shifting from one foot to the other. " Tisn't many 
queer things has happened but what he hasn't 
solved them." 

"Oh, I know that," flung out Narkom, frowning 
harder than ever. " You needn't remind me of what 
he's done. But the devil of it is, he's not in town. 
The constant strain of dodging that band of Apaches 
who have sworn to be revenged on him for the old 
Vanishing Cracksman days has finally told even on 
Cleek, and I persuaded him to go away and rest and 
let his enemies think him out of the country. Just 
wait until we catch them at some of their desperate 
games in England, then we shall rid Cleek of his 
incubus forever. Meanwhile, there's the blessed 


saccharine coming in as if it were wheat. I've half a 
mind to run down and see Miss Lome, but Lord! 
what'd be the use? No one will ever find Hamilton 
Cleek, unless he's ready to come back." 

At that particular moment the telephone bell 
jangled harshly, and Mr. Narkom spun round like 
a shot and seized hold of the receiver. The sound 
of some one whistling the opening bars of " God Save 
the King" came rippling to him over the wire. 

"Gad! it's he himself. I — oh, my dear chap, I 
never was so glad to hear you are back, in my life." 
He lowered his voice, "For heaven's sake, don't 
go away. Hold the line one minute." He turned 
to the waiting sergeant. "Clear out, Petrie; send 
Lennard along." 

"You there, Cleek? All right. Just sent for 
Lennard. You can't think how glad I am to get 
you back. What's that? Urgent? I should think 
it is urgent. I say, can you contrive to meet me 
somewhere this morning? What? Yes, I'm lis- 
tening. . . . Oh, lord! the beggars still at it! 
I thought our last trick had done 'em. All right; I 
understand. It's a bit risky, but we'll do our best. 
Villiers Street, in half an hour, eh? All right. 

And that was how it came to pass that half an 
hour later, Mr. Maverick Narkom, restored to his 
old debonair self, sallied forth from Scotland Yard. 
There, drawn up to the curb, the very latest thing 
in limousines awaited him, and he dropped into it 


with something akin to a smile lighting up his 
round, podgy features. 

A little crowd of boys had collected idly round the 
entrance to the Yard, talking and laughing among 
themselves, and in the midst of the crowd, ragged 
and dirty, was a little Parisian gamin, his sallow face 
alight with curiosity. 

"Charing Cross Station, Lennard, as fast as you 
can streak it. Must catch the eleven o'clock boat 
train," shouted Mr. Narkom as he jumped into the 
limousine and swung the door to behind him. "And 
keep a sharp look-out for Mr. Cleek at Villiers 
Street; he'll be disguised as an old road sweeper." 

"Very well, sir," said Lennard. Then as he 
noticed the time on his clock dial before him, he gave 
a low whistle. 

"Crikey! Only three minutes!" he said, as he 
wrenched the car round and let her go full tilt. 

Yet he was not so quick as the little French urchin, 
who was scudding along the Embankment as if the 
arms of the law were already after him. 

Fate was evidently against Lennard that morning, 
in the shape of another car, obviously of foreign 
make and driven by a French chauffeur, who seemed 
bent on getting in his way, and he wasted much good 
English breath telling the driver what he thought of 
his methods and manners. 

It was just under the arch approaching Villiers 
Street, however, that the accident happened. The 
rival cars were very close to each other, and Len- 


nard, glancing up at the little army of road sweepers 
busily engaged in their labours, was just in time to 
see one of their number put down his broom, run 
out into the open roadway directly in front of the 
fast-moving wheels, and then, even as he shut down 
the brakes and tried to bring the machine to a stand- 
still, the front wheel caught the figure of the running 
man, whipped him quickly off his feet, and sent him 
crashing down into the roadway. 

He spoke as he fell, muttered something, gave a 
little writhing twist of the body, and was still, 
lying like a dead thing, even as Mr. Narkom, with a 
hurried exclamation of dismay, jumped from the 
limousine and went pelting toward him while a 
policeman on point duty, receiving a sign from his 
chief, hurried off and waved back the fast-approach- 
ing crowd. 

But Lennard was already kneeling beside the still 
figure, with well-marked horror in his face. 

"He's dead, sir," 3aid he softly, rising to his feet. 
"Dead as a door nail, poor devil!" Then, lifting 
up his leathern driving apron, he threw it reverently 
over the body and bared his head. 

The crowd that had accumulated hissed at Mr. 
Narkom as he turned on his heel and looked at them, 
his face grim and set. Then a hurried colloquy with 
the constable on duty brought reverent obedience. 

Meanwhile, the other car had driven rapidly away, 
pounding off in the opposite direction at a mad rate 
that ate up the miles like a cat lapping cream, and at 



the sight of which the Superintendent gave vent to a 
little sigh of relief. 

Leave it to me/' said he loudly to the constable. 
IH take him to the hospital in the car. Poor fel- 
low! So careless of Lennard, though it was hardly 
his fault. No need for the ambulance." And, re- 
fusing all assistance save Lennard's, he lifted the 
body, with the apron still covering its face, and 
deposited it gently in the limousine; then slowly the 
car was turned round and went wending its way in the 
direction of Westminster Hospital, to the accom- 
paniment of the boos of a hostile crowd and the 
rumble of the passing traffic. 

Yet, when that selfsame crowd had been left far 
behind and the blinds of the limousine drawn by Mr. 
Narkom's hand, a strange thing happened. For the 
"corpse" sat up suddenly, throwing off the leathern 
apron, and looked at the Superintendent with a little 
laugh of triumph. 

"Well played!" said he in Cleek's voice, and with 
Cleek's own little trick of speech. "Played indeed, 
Mr. Narkom, and Lennard, too; though I had to 
remind him with a wink to cover my face up. What's 
that, dear friend?" 

"A pretty close shave," struck in the Superin- 
tendent grimly, with his hand on Cleek's arm. " Too 
close to make me altogether comfortable. But it 
ought to give those johnnies the * push ' for a while at 
least. They drove off like mad things, taken com- 
pletely in, by James! Directly I spotted that little 

tut tie »"?»''»( 

«q * "^ James''* 


Kesteven, in command of the Custom House at 
Southampton, is perfectly enraged over the whole 

"H'm-m!" said Cleek, pinching up his chin. 
**It isn't another case of a barking dog and the 
burglar's friend, I suppose?" 

"Not he," threw in the Superintendent, with a 
shake of the head. 

"The Lord helps those who help themselves, some- 
times," put in Cleek gently. "Well, my friend, we 
must wait and see. Meanwhile, as it sometimes 
happens that the fool knows the least and sees the 
most, we had better proceed to dig up that blithering 
idiot * George Headland ' again, ' the smartest man in 
the Force, by James ! ' and see what he can do in the 
matter. Then, if we can't manage to put a stop to 
this business and finish it once and for all, my name's 
not Hamilton Cleek ! " 

■*■ down to the t-usl 
sent in his official curd 
Headland waited in t 
dently served as an ofl 

Two minutes later i 
a tall, elderly gentlema 
Superintendent, clasp: 
belonged to a long-lot 
Kesteven, the Head of 
a fine, hale, gray-haired 
fifty-five or sixty ; a mar 
officer in his bearing. 

Mr. Narkom coughec 
toward Cleek, who stot 

"This is Mr. George 
a little at the Captain's 
taken the place of C 


self together with obvious effort, and waved his hand 
in the direction of some chairs. 

"How long has it been going on?" asked Cleek 
quietly, tipping his head on one side and looking so 
altogether stupid that Captain Kesteven eyed him in 
unveiled contempt. 

"Nearly five weeks," he replied. "We have a 
special number of Secret Service men making obser- 
vations, and they reported the cases to me. I have 
it down here in my official report book." He crossed 
over to his desk, returning to the table with a large, 
leather-bound volume. 

"Here you are. 'June 8th. Case of saccharine 
got through free. Reported. Starchpelt.' Here 
you are again. '15th, ditto, 19th, ditto, 24th, 
ditto, ..." 

Cleek put up a detaining hand. 

"Stop. One minute," said he blandly. "There 
couldn't be any mistake, I suppose? This Starch- 
pelt, as you call him, is " 

"One of the finest men in the service." 

"Hum! Ah! quite so. And now, what about 
the boats? What manner of craft are they, and 
where do they come from?" 

"Havre, mostly. You see, just now vast quanti- 
ties of French dairy produce, fruits, and vegetables 
are being landed, and we had every one searched. 
Mr. Narkom's own men have been hard at it. Even 
the crates of vegetables were overturned, and the 
boats themselves searched from stem to stern. I tell 


you, sir, if we don't get to the bottom of it, all thfi 
French vessels will go to Portsmouth. They are 
grumbling bitterly." 

"At what?" struck in Cleek, with sudden up- 
lifting of his eyebrows. "They don't like being 
searched, do you mean?" 

The Captain shook his great head. 

"No, it's the delay. Everything depends on their 
catching the boat trains to London, and all this 
searching takes time." 

"H'm-m! And what boats have you in harbour 

"Practically none but our own, sailing out to- 
morrow, the great liners, you know, and a few small 
trading-boats from Havre and Brittany. They 
bring most of the dairy produce, make weekly trips. 
I don't see there's anything more to tell you." 

"Nothing else to do but to look at the boats for 
ourselves," said Mr. Narkom, looking over into 
George Headland's dull countenance. 

"The very thing I should suggest," said Captain 
Kesteven eagerly, and jumping to his feet, he 
grabbed for his official cap. From the Custom House 
it took but a few minutes to reach the harbour, which 
bore a curiously deserted look. Two or three great 
liners lay in the docks, while at anchor rode a few 
French boats, their decks still crowded with the 
empty packing cases in which their cargoes had been 

"Every ore of these was unloaded under police 


supervision," said Captain Kesteven. "That one is 
La Chirefloux" pointing to the nearest. "Skipper — 
Marton; as honest as the day. La Rose . . ." 

" Hello !" interrupted Cleek abruptly, as his eyes 
swept over the various boats. "That's a peculiar- 
looking object, that black one at the end." 

Captain Kesteven's eyes lit up. 

"Ah! so Jean Bertillot has come back! That 
means my wife has returned from her holiday as well. 
She said she would sail with Jean. A splendid 
fellow. That's his boat, La Fleurette Noire, Mr. 
Headland, sailed and owned by the finest man that 
ever drew breath, and, by heaven! the most un- 

Cleek switched round so suddenly as almost to 
startle the grim-faced Captain, whose eyes had 
grown strangely soft. 

" Unhappy ?" he said. "Why should he be un- 
happy? Or perhaps you don't know?" 

"It happens that I do, for I, or rather, my wife, 
was the means of making him happy for a few 

He drew out his cigarette case and offered it to 
Cleek and Mr. Narkom, and lighted one himself. 

"It was this way," he continued, blowing out the 
match and tossing it into the swirl of green waters 
below them. " He lost his young wife on their wed- 
ding trip, five years ago. He is a sort of protigS of 
mine, and I have known him since he was a lad, when 
he came to and fro on his father's boat before him. 


My wife, some years ago, had a desire to have a maid 
from Brittany, and Jean Bertillot said he would 
procure her one from his native village some twenty 
miles from Havre. He brought us Rose Marie, a girl 
as good as gold, industrious and honest to a fault, 
and we were delighted with her. Well, we did not 
have her long. Bertillot discovered that she was 
more necessary to him than to us, and married her 
forthwith, and we attended the wedding in Brit- 
tany. You may imagine our dismay when La 
Fleurette Rouge, as the craft was then called, returned 
without her." 

"Hello!" said Cleek, with a twitch of the eye- 
brows. "So he changed the name of his boat, 

" Yes," said the Captain. " I think he worshipped 
Rose, abd after her death (it seems she contracted 
ptomaine poisoning on board, died, and was buried 
at sea) he became like a different man. He is morose 
and embittered, but faithful. My word, I'd trust 
my life to Jean Bertillot. Well, when he got to har- 
bour he spent all his profits on painting his boat 
black, everything is black, inside and out: cabins, 
decks, sails, as you can see for yourself, a regular 
raven amongst doves. And he re-christened her 
La Fleurette Noire. Very few men, in fact, will work 
on her; they say it's so damnably gloomy. Well, 
it's his own boat, and he does what he likes. Ever 
since that day, however, he has plied to and fro, 
with his butter and eggs; he doesn't seem to care 


whether he sells them or not. He's just broken- 

"What I call a bully boy/ 9 said Cleek, nodding his 
head approvingly. " Isn't every man mourns for his 
bride for five years, or gives up money-making, either, 
especially a Brittany man. Women are their natural 
servants there. Ah! well." 

"Jean is certainly a splendid fellow," said the 
Captain warmly, "and has worked like a Trojan with 
me to see that no suspicious characters or cargoes 
have been landed." 

"I'd like to have a chat with him," said Cleek, 
shading his eyes from the sun and peering intently 
over the blue, sunlit harbour, where the sea lay like a 
shimmering, jewel-set cloak of green velvet. 

"So you shall, Mr. Headland," said the Captain, 
nodding, with perhaps just a little tinge of irony in 
his voice. "Perhaps he'll be able to give you some 

"Perhaps he will," answered Cleek enigmatically. 

He followed the Captain down to the little quay 
where La Fleurette Noire had anchored, her black 
decks and rigging looking even more depressing when 
at close quarters than at a distance. 

A little crowd of gesticulating, chattering Breton 
sailors were on the deck, amidst them just a patch of 
white: a woman's dress, and at the sight of its wearer 
Cleek gave a cry of ecstatic delight and rushed off at 
headlong speed, leaving Mr. Narkom to explain to a 
justly-aggrieved Customs officer that this was one of 


the latest methods in detecting on the part of his 
"smartest officer, by James!" 

But Cleek cared nothing for Customs or smugglers 
just then, for here, within a hundred yards, was Ailsa 
Lome, who had vanished from the riverside cottage, 
leaving but a brief note "to allay anxiety." 

But now the waves took on a brighter blue, the 
sun shone more royally, but not more so than Cleek's 
face, as he helped her along the coal-black gangway. 

"A stroke of sheer luck, this, or am I dreaming?" 
he said softly, with a little laugh of pure rapture. 
"Ailsa, is it you, my dear, my dear?" 

" It is indeed," she made answer with a quick smile. 
"But surely you got my letter? It should have ar- 
rived to-day." 

"For which Mr. Narkom is to be blamed," said 
Cleek, with an inward frown for that gentleman. 

She gave vent to a happy little laugh. 

"Never mind!" said she softly, looking up into 
his face with shining eyes. "I am rather glad you 
didn't. Somehow, the crossing on that boat has 
got on my nerves. My old Breton nurse, Jeannette, 
wrote to me that she was very ill, so I could not help 
but go to her; and, not wanting to wait for the other 
boat, I came back on this one, with Mrs. Kesteven. 
But," with this she gave a little shiver, "it's full of 

Cleek's face twitched with sudden interest. 

"Mystery? What do you mean by that, I won- 


They had crossed to the end of the quay, and Ailsa 
gave a little nervous look over her shoulder before she 
answered him. Then, seeing that they were out of all 

"It is only just a fancy, I expect, on my part. 
The blackness of everything got on my nerves — but 
I fancied I heard all kinds of queer sounds during the 
night. I slept on board last evening, so as to be sure 
and get the boat train; but it was so hot and stuffy 
in the cabin that I threw a cloak around me and went 

out on deck. It was then I saw " She broke 


"Saw what?" said Cleek, with a quick in taking of 
the breath. 

She gave another nervous little giggle. 

"It sounds so silly," she said apologetically, "but 
I saw a match strike itself on a box. I know you'll 
think I'm mad, but I saw the yellow matchbox and 
the white match. I even heard the scratching sound 
it makes when it ignites, yet there was no one there ! 
I don't think I was ever so frightened in my life." 

"But where did you see the matchbox?" asked 
Geek, quietly watching her face with keen, search- 
ing eyes. 

"Just inside the cabin, next to mine. Rose 
Marie's cabin, they call it, and the crew swear that 
it is haunted. Hush!" She stopped short as the 
Superintendent, together with Captain Kesteven and 
a tall, pale-l<5oking woman with faded hair ap- 
proached, and lifted a warning finger. "Don't say 


a word. They are both so fond of Jean Bertillot. 
I've known Captain Kesteven for years, you know, 
and I wouldn't hurt their feelings for worlds, just 
for my own foolish imaginings." 

Cleek nodded silently and, joining the others, the 
whole party drove to the Captain's house for tea and 
a rest after their journey. There was time enough to 
see over the boats to-morrow morning; to-night he 
insisted that they must rest. 

"Jean doesn't unload till the morning," said Mrs. 
Kesteven, as they drove away. "He told me he was 
in no hurry; so you can look over his cargo in the 
morning if you like." 

"I've put a man on guard," said the Captain. 
"No one will be allowed to set foot in the town or 
leave it till I'm on duty to-morrow. Here's the 
house, gentlemen. I expect you'll be glad enough 
for a rest and a wash. Motoring isn't as conducive 
to cleanliness as some people think." 

When, half an hour later, Cleek and Mr. Narkom 
went upstairs to their bedroom and shut the door, 
Cleek's face was as keen as a terrier's, and his eyes 
fairly snapped witH excited interest. 

44 Going to be a corker this time, and no mistake," 
said Mr. Narkom dejectedly. "I stopped to speak 
to that chap Bertillot, while you were with Miss 
Lome, and it's just as they say, he's a fine fellow — a 

— a " His voice trailed off into silence as he 

noted the curious look on Cleek's face. 

"Cleek, old chap!" he cried, and the hard ham- 


mering of his heart made his voice quaver* " Good 
lord! man, don't say you've got a clue already, out 
of nothing! Tell me — who — what 9r 

Cleek turned on Narkom, who was hopping round 
the room in a veritable fever of impatience* 

"It's only just a faint idea, old chap. It may not 
lead anywhere. So let me alone, like a good fellow. 
Go downstairs, like a friend, and entertain these 
people for me. Do anything, say anything, but just 
let me alone." 

And Mr. Narkom, suppressing his curiosity with 
a slightly disappointed air, promptly went out of the 
room, and left Cleek to his own resources. 


IT WAS barely six o'clock, on the following 
morning, when Cleek and Mr. Narkom found 
themselves once more on the quay, looking out 
for Captain Kesteven. 

"Early birds," said that gentleman as soon as he 
caught sight of them. "Going to take a hand at 
helping Jean unload, eh?" 

"Yes, that's it," said Cleek serenely. "I'd like to 
have a look at his boat." 

"Preposterous nonsense ! " The Captain shrugged 
his shoulders scornfully. "You're barking up the 
wrong tree, I can tell you. Still, come along. Boat 
ahoy!" he shouted; and in a minute or so a sleepy 
figure came tumbling up on deck. "Jean, mon 
gars, we're coming on board." 

"Mais ouiy monsieur. But one moment, if you 
please," came back in the hoarse, broken tone of the 
Breton peasant. Then the black-painted gangway 
came crashing down and the three men crossed over 
on to La Fleurette Noire. Even as Cleek set foot on 
the pitch-black deck, he shivered in the morning 
sun as if the shadow of impending disaster hung over 
everything; and in that minute he came face to face 
with Jean Bertillot. 



The man was tall and dark, with heavy-lidded eyes 
and soot-black hair. There was an olive hue to his 
skin, but his fine eyes were gray and wrinkled at the 
corners, and his mouth had a pathetic droop. He 
stared at the newcomers with simple unconsciousness. 

" A couple of officers from London, Jean, who have 
come to look into the matter of the smuggling/' was 
the way the Captain introduced the subject. "Just 
a matter of form. You don't mind them looking over 
La Fleurette, do you?" 

"Mais non 9 m'sieu 9 , of a certainty not," said Jean 
smoothly, with a wonderful courtesy. "It is of a 
business but all mysterious." 

He led the way over the boat without further ado. 

" That's so," agreed George Headland, his heavy 
face appearing even more stupid than before. 

" A fine boat this, skipper." They had reached 
what was evidently Bertillot's own cabin. "And 
I don't mind telling you, now I've seen it, that all 
my ideas have gone to smash, so to speak. I'd a 
notion there might be a place in here where one of the 
men might have pushed in a box, don't you know." 

"Well, of all the blithering nonsense!" broke out 
Captain Kesteven impulsively, while Bertillot looked 
from one to the other, as if only half comprehending 
the drift of "Mr. Headland's" remarks. 

"A box in 'ere!" he echoed. "But non y m'sieu, 
zere is no box. Zis is my cabin, my own, no one sets 
ze foot in 'ere but myself." 

"Quite right, skipper. I see now I am wrong. 



No room to hide a cat in here/' Geek swung 
round slowly on his heel, then as his hat slipped from 
his fingers to the floor, stooped slowly to pick it 

"Bit of a facer for me, eh, what?" he said de- 
jectedly. Then, as he caught sight of an oil stove 
standing on an empty packing case, he smacked his 
lips. "Have a morning cup of tea and an egg, eh? 
'Pon me soul, I could do with a cup myself." 

Jean Bertillot looked him up and down in wither- 
ing contempt. "M'sieu* is pleased to joke. I not 
'ave time for morning tea." 

"Like a little something stronger, eh?" Geek 
chuckled inanely; then lurched over, accidentally 
striking a case of eggs packed by the egg factor at 

Jean Bertillot uttered a hurried exclamation, and 
Geek blundered away again, apologizing profusely. 

"I'm like a bull in a china shop," he muttered 
under his breath, as he mopped his forehead with 
his handkerchief. Then, suddenly, he went off on 
another tack. " Tell you what, it's so precious dark 
in here, and stuffy; let's have that port hole opened." 
He lurched over, this time catching his foot in the 
black-dyed matting which covered the floor and, 
in the circumstances, it was only natural that he 
should lose his balance. With a hasty exclamation 
of dismay, he clutched hold of the nearest crate of 
eggs, righting himself from what would have been a 
foolish and hasty fall, and sent the crate clattering 


to the floor with a heavy crash that made everything 
in the cabin clatter and jangle together. 

Bertillot's face grew red with anger as the lid 
burst open, and the top layer of eggs tumbled out 
pell mell over the floor. Considering the force of the 
fall, it was surprising that more eggs had not broken, 
and Cleek, fairly covered with confusion at the blun- 
der he had made, tried to make restitution by saving 
as many as possible, to a running accompaniment of 
oaths and maledictions from Bertillot, who, when 
there were only the broken yolks to be seen, darted 
from the cabin, returning in a second with a cloth of a 
brilliant yellow colour, with which he wiped up the 
stains. Still apologetic, Cleek raised himself up. 

" I think, m'sieur, a cigarette would not be un- 
acceptable." He stopped short, as a faint clicking 
sound came through the closed door; but only for a 
second; then he fumbled clumsily in his pocket, 
pulling out his cigarette case and holding it toward 

The Breton scowled, but his love of good tobacco 
triumphed, and he put out a brawny hand. Like a 
flash Cleek's hand closed upon it, and Narkom leaped 
forward. Came a struggle, short, sharp, infinitely 
fierce and then: the snapping of steel against steel, 
the harsh music of the handcuffs, and Bertillot stood 
a prisoner, while Captain Kesteven, too dazed by 
the sudden turn of events, gazed helplessly at the 
three of them. 

"Good heavens!" he cried out at last. "Are you 


mad? Mr. Narkom, I appeal to you! This is 
rankest idiocy! What has Jean done?" 

Cleek whipped round upon him, breathing hard, 
something bright, triumphant, gleaming in his eyes. 

"He has smuggled his last tube of saccharine into 
the country, my friend, that's what he's done!" he 
said, with a little theatrical gesture that sat oddly 
upon the personality of George Headland. 

"Impossible!" Captain Kesteven's face still 
showed utter disdain of the matter. "How has he 
done it, man? How could he?" 

"By a very simple but effective plan. I rather 
think you will find the tubes in those hard-boiled 
eggs over there, and I shouldn't be surprised if 
the pats of butter had not got their little loads 

He stepped over to the big crate and lifted an egg 
from it, tapping the shell upon the window sill, 
while Bertillot, a writhing, cursing furious thing, 
watched him with absolute hatred in his eyes. The 
shell broke, and he severed the egg with his fingers. 
In the centre of the crumbling yellow yolk lay a 
tiny glass tube, an inch or so long, filled with what 
appeared to be white powder. 

For a moment there was a silence — tense, terrible, 
fraught with the bitter disappointment of a broken 
faith, the bitter triumph of a task fulfilled. 


"Bertillot, Jean, Jean! And I would have trusted 
you with my life!" broke forth the Captain in a dull, 


lurt voice, as the man stood looking sullenly at 

But Cleek laid a gentle hand upon the Captain's 

" You wouldn't if you knew he was cousin to Gaston 
Merode, the worst Apache in Paris," said he quietly. 
"I've a good memory for faces, mon ami, and I 
haven't lived in the * Twisted Arm' days for nothing. 
Margot's slave! Margot's pet! Margot's pretty 
tool for the execution of her vile work! A dollar to a 
ducat she's at the bottom of this!" 

The man made no response; merely stood there in 
a sullen silence; and Cleek switched round upon his 
heel and laid a hand upon the Superintendent's arm. 

"How did I guess?" he said, in answer to Mr. 
Narkom's excited query. "First, I wasn't so im- 
pressed with that mourning idea as the rest of you, 
and when a match was struck on a box by invisible 
hands, I felt sure that some trickery was being done. 
And that's the explanation of the Vanishing Lady's 
trick, as our friend Mr. Devant makes it. A clever 
trick, too, by Jupiter. Clever as sin. Simply black 
against black. Put a man in a black suit, mask, and 
gloves, in the centre of equally black surroundings, 
and I'll swear you won't any of you see him. Bertil- 
lot could pass from one cabin to the other unnoticed. 
I confess I was a bit puzzled about this method of 
smuggling in the stuff, until I saw that egg-timer 
over there." 

He pointed to the somewhat old-fashioned con- 


trivance standing on a little shelf just above the 
oil stove, and Narkom sighed in a sort of dumb ad- 

"That settled it. Then, again, a fall like that 
which the crate received ought to have smashed every 
egg in the place, and when I picked them up and 
helped the good work a little bit further with my 
fingers, I knew I was right. I had suspected some- 
thing when I picked up the chip of eggshell just by 
the table, and the yellow cloth settled the matter. 
Why the yellow cloth, my friend? Because it would 
show no yellow stains, after wiping away the yolk, 
when the tubes were pressed into the egg. A clever 
trick, Monsieur Jean Bertillot, a very clever trick, 
but " 

The sentence was never finished. For just then a 
strange thing happened. From between Bertillot 's 
lips a chuckle proceeded, fiendish, malicious, full of 
devilry, and La Fleurette Noire, which was anchored 
in harbour lifted suddenly, dropped, swung round a 
little and began slowly to move! 

Some one had cut the cable; some one who was in 
this devil's pay had released the ship from its 
moorings and set it free. 

"My God!" broke out Captain Kesteven fur- 
iously. But Cleek's extended hand silenced him. 

There was the soft splashing of oars outside, telling 
of an approaching boat; some enemy's trick, no 
doubt. The three of them made a wild plunge for 
the door, but it was locked and locked from the 


outside. As Bertillot was their prisoner, so were 
they Bertillot's. 

Mr. Narkom looked at Cleek, Cleek looked at Mr. 
Narkom: their silent lips framed the one word 
" Apaches !" Their faces grew a shade paler. 

Then Cleek drew himself up. The character of 
George Headland fell from him like a mask. There 
was something almost regal in his bearing, something 
that brought the wonder-light into Captain Keste- 
ven's astonished eyes. 

"Who are you?" he said briefly. 

The answer came just as brief. 

"Cleek, just Cleek of Scotland Yard. And so 
this, after all, is the end — the end ! " 

Bertillot chuckled again. He lifted his head and 
chimed out the old Apache cry, "Hola, ho la! la! 
la! loi!" that went ringing upward into the outer 
spaces beyond. An answering call came to him. 

"Aha! we change places but ver* soon, M'sieu* 
Cleek," he said shrilly, in an utter abandonment of 
triumph. "Ze Vanishing Cracksman who deserted 
us like a rat! Ze man of Forty Faces. Bah!" He 
spat furiously upon the ground in front of him. 
"Not all your tricks nor all your faces can save you 
now. It is your last trick that fca* been played, 
not mine! not mine!" 

Cleek lifted up his head and shut his ists. 

"That remains to be seen, mon ami," he gave back 
serenely, giving his mouth a curious little twist. 
"So some one is to let us out of this, is he? Well, 


we shall see, we shall see. Steady yourself, Mr. 
Narkom; there's likely to be some little rush for our 
company shortly, and we must stand prepared." 

And rush there was. For at that identical mo- 
ment a key grated in the rusty lock of the doorway; 
there came the sound of the door crashing back 
against the woodwork, a scream of triumph, the harsh 
sound of many voices, and Margot, followed by a 
string of chattering, gesticulating Apaches, plunged 
into the room. She faced Cleek with flashing eyes 
and upthrown head, all the hatred of a thousand 
years crammed into her insolent face. 

"So, M'sieur Cleek," said she, sweeping him a 
deep courtesy, "so, m'sieur, we come face to face at 
last! My revenge, eh? Not yours, but mine, mine! 
Nom de Dieu ! but I shall enjoy it. If I could kill 
you but fifty times instead of a paltry once, for every 
insult, every sneer! So many times have you es- 
caped us, but now — now!" 

She lifted her hand and struck him across the 
face, fairly screaming in her triumph, like some witch 
at the fulfillment of her charm. But Cleek never 
moved, merely stood there, staring back into her eyes 
with a charming courtesy. 

Finally she moved away. 

"Unloosen Bertillot," she commanded, and the 
man stood free instantly. Then she began speaking 
with him in low, hurried tones; finally issuing instruc- 
tions to the men who swarmed about her. The 
tubes were taken from the eggs and passed over to 


Bertillot again, and she watched the proceedings 
with snapping eyes, clapping her hands now and 
again excitedly. 

" Hurry, mes amis, hurry ! We must not be caught 
like rats in a trap. Oh, mon Dieu ! but it was a grand 
idea — a grand idea!" She turned her black eyes 
toward Cleek. "Rats in a trap; but that is splendid 
— magnifiquel Quick! Bind them to the chairs, 
and scuttle the ship. La Fleurette will be sunk before 
help can come, and we can watch from a safe dis- 
tance ! Jean Bertillot, fitting your boat with wireless 
was a masterstroke. Name of a devil! But of a 
verity I cannot yet believe it. The great Cleek, 
the Cracksman, caught, caught! And the fat Eng- 
lish pig, too!" 

She laughed uproariously, clapping her hands and 
fairly dancing in her utter delight. 

The three men made no struggle when the bonds 
were thrown about them and they were tied to the 
furniture, like animals for slaughter; the odds were 
too heavy. Only a dull resistance glowed in their 

"Shall we gag them, Margot, ma reine ?" put in 
Bertillot, as the last knot was tied, the last rope 
bound, and the Apaches stood back delightedly to 
survey their handiwork. 

"But no, of a certainty. Let them squeal like 
the rats they are. Rats in a trap! Come, mes 
enfants. Come away from the ship, home again to 
Paris, and to the end of the Cracksman at last!" 


She turned at that and faced Cleek smilingly. 
Then, with another courtesy, faced about, and with 
head uplifted went from the room with the crowd 
of chattering, shrieking things that had once been 
this man's comrades. 

He smiled a little and twisted his head over in the 
direction of Mr. Narkom, whose fat body had found 
but poor comfort in the flat top of a table. The 
Superintendent's eyes met his. A sudden lurch of 
the ship, a sudden rushing noise as the sound of 
incoming water, made his face gray. La Fleurette 
Noire had indeed been scuttled, as Margot had said, 
and there was nothing for it but to wait — and pray. 

"Cleek — my pal — my friend," he said shortly, 
between sobbing breaths, "it is I who have brought 
you to this. My God ! if I could only have given my 
life for yours! Just for the chance, Lord, just for 
the chance!" 

A mist swam up before Cleek's eyes, miAing the 
cabin swim. His voice, when he spoke, was as soft 

as a woman s. 

I know, I know, old chap/' he gave back simply, 
smiling his whimsical smile. "But, as the fatalists 
say, 'What will be, will be,' and who are we to 
attempt to alter it? Anyway" — he smiled again — 
"it was in the Yard's call, Mr. Narkom, and in the 
Yard's service. We shall have — passed — in harness. 
Remember that." 

fHis face was calm with the perfect tranquillity 
of a battle won. But in his heart the picture of 


with her dear hands outstretched and her 
dear eyes misted over with unshed tears, brought 
torture. He shut his eyes against it and breathed 

And all the time the rushing water brought melan- 
choly music to their ears, and the long day wove itself 
into the woof of the afternoon, and the sun smiled 
on them through the cabin window with a sort of 
malicious delight. 

Captain Kesteven talked constantly, telling anec- 
dotes of his career with a pretty wit, while all the 
time one eye was fastened upon the porthole, and one 
ear listened for the nearer approach of those swirling, 
devastating waters. 

Finally a silence dropped. Each man was thinking 
his own thoughts, thoughts that he would have died 
sooner than have repeated ; and the slow swish-swish 
of the water was the only sound that broke the silence. 


"Only a matter of — er — half an hour or so now, I 
should say, gentlemen," said the Captain somewhat 
unevenly, with his eyes glued upon the window. 

Suddenly Cleek twitched up his head. His ears 
had caught the sound of something in the distance 
that sounded like the whisper of oars in the water. 

Mr. Narkom looked round quickly; his position 
was hardly one conducive to much movement, but he 
managed to raise his head a little. 
A boat," he said shortly. 
A boat!" echoed the Captain in a hoarse voice. 



Cleek looked at them. 

"They're coming back, in [all probability, 
hasten their handiwork. Hard luck to go like this, 
isn't it? Listen!" 

There was the tramp of many feet upon the deck; 
the injured ship keeled over at the extra weight that 
was put upon her side, and a great cry went up 
echoing from one end of her to the other, calling 
forth other echoes; and at the sound of it, the three 
men looked at one another, and gave vent to three 
little choking, gurgling, half -hysterical laughs. 

"English, by James!" shouted Mr. Narkom, 
hoarsely, kicking his feet in his abandonment of 
relief, so that the table he was strapped to tilted 
dangerously. And : 

"English!" echoed Captain Kesteven, with a little 
gurgle of thankfulness. But Cleek said nothing; 
merely lay with his hands bound behind him to the 
chairback, and his thankful eyes looking out over 
the great distance, with Ailsa in his heart and a silent 
"thank you" upon his lips. 

And at that moment the cabin door came open 
with such force that it sent the handle grinding 
against the woodwork; came a stream of blue-coated, 
eager-faced sailors, with grim mouths and ready 
fingers, and before you could say "Jack Robinson" 
the three men found themselves free of their bonds 
and were led out on deck by the shouting crowd, to 
where, in the water below, a veritable colony of boats 
awaited them. La Fleurette Noire pitched danger- 


ously, rolled, pitched again, and as the last man left 
her decks, plunged her black prow into the rolling, 
swirling, hungry waters, and took her black paint 
into the greater blackness below. 

Mr. Narkom looked at Cleek, but Cleek was not 
noticing him. His eyes were set upon a slim, white- 
clad figure upon the quayside who was waving fran- 

It was Ailsa — even at this distance he could tell — 
Ailsa! So the good God had been merciful and 
spared them to each other. Then, being thus un- 
noticed, the Superintendent loudly blew his nose. 

"That's the young lady, sir, that warned us. She 
saw those French beggars climbing on board, and 
guessed something was wrong/' said one man re- 
spectfully, as he followed Cleek's eyes to the harbour. 
"They'd escaped, though, by the time we got the 
boat out. There must have been more of the French 
fishing smacks that came in the night." 

Cleek smiled whimsically. So it was Ailsa who had 
saved them! He owed his life to her now; he had 
owed even more to her before. Ah! well, the debt 
was getting heavier than ever. As they landed he 
made his way straight to her and took her hand in 

"We might have solved the greatest riddle of all, 
Ailsa, but for you," said he simply, looking down into 
the flower of her upturned face. 

But she could make no answer, and for a brief 
moment a great silence held. 

Life was before them yet — and who can tell? 

• •••••• 

The journey back to London was a particularly 
quiet one. The occurrence on board the boat, La 
Fleurette Noire, had shaken even Cleek's iron nerve, 
and Mr. Narkom himself was in a state bordering on 
collapse. Reaction from the acute danger to the 
peace of safety as they forged through the quiet 
country was almost overwhelming, and it was Ailsa 
who noticed the presence of their mutual enemy, 
Count Irma, as they steamed into Waterloo Station. 
She touched Geek upon the arm, nodding quietly 
in his direction. 

A queer smile looped up Cleek's mouth for a 

"We are not fortunate, Ailsa mine, you should not 
have come back," he said softly. "I wonder if he 
is on the lookout for us, or if it is only chance." 

Mr. Narkom gave a hasty sigh. 

"It's my fault, Cleek," he blurted out ruefully. 
"I wired Lennard to meet us with the limousine, 
And in some mysterious manner he must have learned 
of it." 

Oho ! " said Cleek with a strong rising inflection. 

Well, it won't be the first time I have outflanked 
the enemy. Keep quiet, Mr. Narkom, and let 
every one get out. This train will probably be sided 
in one minute. There go the lights. Just as I 
thought." As the words left his lips, the winking 
electric in the carriage went out; the passengers 



were on the platform, making their way to the exit, 
or struggling with their luggage. No one gave a 
glance at the dark first-class compartment in which 
three silent figures sat like things of stone. 

From a distance they watched Count Irma as he 
walked to and fro, evidently on the lookout for them. 
For some ten minutes he waited, until the empty 
train commenced slowly to puff its way into a siding; 
then, coming rapidly to the conclusion that he had 
been fooled, he turned upon his heel and swung 
swiftly out of the station. 

It was fully a quarter of an hour later when the 
three descended from the carriage, and after a brief 
explanation to the guard accompanied by a magnani- 
mous tip, they escaped into the crowded safety of the 

Ailsa was soon borne westward to a new boarding 
house, where she passed as a lady traveller — a line 
which accounted satisfactorily for her sudden jour- 
neyings and odd times of going in or out. 

Not even Count Irma himself could have recog- 
nized her as she passed out of the station doorway. 
Her fair hair was drawn back from her forehead in a 
tight knob, a mackintosh concealed her costume 
successfully, as well as adding bulk to her slim figure, 
and she wore Cleek's felt "Homburg" tugged down 
over her eyes. Even that gentleman himself could 
not refrain from laughing at sight of her. 

"There'll be no home coming for me to-night, 
Mr. Narkom," said he with a rueful smile. "Nip 


round the station and see if Lennard has gone, for 
I'll have to borrow the use of your locker." 

Mr. Narkom did "nip" round, and to such good 
purpose as to find the limousine with Lennard just 
crawling into the Waterloo Road. Five minutes 
later found Cleek safe in its depths. 

"Down with the blinds, Mr. Narkom, and let's 
see what you can do for me. I'll go to the Regent 
for a week or so, and I look to you to keep young 
Dollops away, or else he'll be giving the show away. 
Ah, here's the very thing." He drew forth a military 
undress uniform, and in a very short space of time 
so completely transformed himself that even Mr. 
Narkom, well accustomed as he was to the powers of 
his famous ally, leaned back and gasped, " Cinnamon, 
Cleek, but it's a marvel, that's what it is!" he ejacu- 
lated. "I can't believe you're the same man that 
got in here just now." 

"I'm not, my friend. That's where the point 
comes in. The art of acting lies in being who and 
what you actually represent. And now, I think, we 
part. Let me have a week's rest, old friend, if you 
can, but if the Yard needs me, very well. Now, as 
always, I am at the Yard's service — and yours." 

His hand shot out, clasped that of Mr. Narkom 
with a grip that spoke volumes, and before the 
Superintendent could make so much as a sound, 
the door flashed open and flashed shut again, and 
Lennard whizzed away to the Embankment at a 
mile-a-minute clip. 


I^HANK heaven ! " ejaculated Superintendent 
Narkom, as he rushed up the steps of a cer- 
\ tain house in a quiet street in London, and 
had his knock rewarded by the appearance of none 
other than the ubiquitous Dollops himself , who re- 
plied to his question that Cleek was at home. With- 
out vouchsafing another word to the surprised cock- 
ney valet, he swept past the lad and was up the 
staircase and outside the study door before that 
faithful henchman could — to use his own words — 
say "Jack Robinson." 

It was not often that Mr. Narkom ventured to 
approach the house thus openly and without adopt- 
ing a disguise, and having knocked, he looked in 
rather apprehensively. But his face lost some of 
its anxiety, and he gave a sigh of ineffable relief, 
as he saw Cleek, his shirt sleeves rolled up, a big 
bowl of fibre and sand on one side of the table, and 
on the other a collection of bowls and glasses, while 
in the middle reposed a heap of somewhat grimy red 
and purple objects, the size of billiard balls, at the 
sight of which Mr. Narkom smiled ruefully, for in 
these he recognized his worst enemies* 

Cleek glanced up from his labour of pressing down 



the fibre in one of the bowls, as the door opened to 
admit the Superintendent, and said cheerfully: 

"Well, for once you have caught me idling, Mr. 
Narkom. I never even heard the sound of the 
limousine. Sit down. You look positively worried, 
dear friend." 

"I am," admitted Narkom with a sigh. "I've 
been on pins and needles during this last hour, lest 
I might find you out of town, and I didn't dare stop 
to ring you or Dollops up on the 'phone, so " 

"Which means that you have not come straight 
from the Yard, eh?" struck in Cleek serenely. "A 
case, of course ; that goes without saying. But where, 
when, and how?" 

"You remember that beautiful girl I pointed out 
to you last week? I told you she had come up to 
London to buy her trousseau " 

"Miss Cecile Jerningham, only daughter of Colonel 
Jerningham, the great aviation expert? Why, of 
course I do. One of the most beautiful debutantes of 
last season, and the living image, in a feminine way, of 
her father." 

"Well, poor girl, she's dead," said Narkom grimly. 

The hyacinth bulb slipped from Cleek's nerveless 
fingers, and rolled unheeded to the ground. 

"Dead!" he echoed. "Cecile Jerningham! Hav- 
ens! Why? How? When?" 

"Last night," said Mr. Narkom tersely. "^Vfcy* 
heaven alone knows, for she was absolutely in *he 
best of health and spirits and looking forward to her 


marriage with a rich man. Still, young Tren- 
ton " 

"Trenton— Trenton! Who is he?" struck in 
Cleek sharply. "Wait one moment; is he any rela- 
tion to Gerald Trenton, the brilliant young aviator, 
one of the first to win the King's prize for height 

"The identical person, and was as good as engaged 
to Miss Cecile, until Mr. Wilfred Harbridge, a rich 
Australian squatter, appeared on the scene and suc- 
ceeded in capturing the heart of Miss Cecile; they 
were to have been married next week, as soon as the 
Colonel returned " 

"Returned?" echoed Cleek quickly. "I did not 
know Colonel Jerningham was out of England." 

"Nor is he," replied the Superintendent. "But 
he was to have left for Paris to-day, with the plans 
of the new army aeroplane. Unfortunately, now 
that is impossible." 

" Impossible? What do you mean? " 

"Why, because those plans are missing, though 
there is no sign of any burglary or attempt made on 
the safe." 

Cleek twitched up an inquiring eyebrow. 

Oho!" said he, with a strong rising inflection. 
That accounts for the milk in the cocoanut, as they 
say. We might have known there was something 
else in the case." 

" That, my dear chap, is where you are quite wrong. 
The one thing has nothing to do with the other. Miss 


mat puts him ou 
"No. I don't attJ 
loss at present; certai 
death that puzzles m 
the last person to see 
my dear fellow, then 
storm between them, 
the young man's voice 
servant was passing th 
after Trenton flung him 
his countenance criinso 

" 'Cecile,* he said, 'I 
a thing possible from y< 

"Hum!" commented 
speech that, in face of su 
the servant girl is to be b 


way Harbridge is carrying on," said the Superinten- 
dent sadly. "But as to the lady, I cannot quite say. 
You see, Colonel Jerningham is not a rich man, 
though of the very highest integrity and honour; 
while Harbridge " 

" Is a millionaire? Any other member of the family 

"Yes, her mother. But there's nothing coherent 
to be got from that poor lady," replied Mr. Narkom, 
shaking his head. "The shock has quite turned her 
brain. As a proof, you will readily believe me when 
I tell you that she declares that the murdered girl is not 
Cecile Jerningham, at all, but a straiiger. So " 

Cleek swung round upon him like a flash. 

What's that? What's that?" he rapped out. 
Not her own daughter! Do you mean to tell me 
there is any doubt of the dead girl's identity ? That's 
something new in the chain." 

"Not the slightest, Cleek. Haven't I told you, 
the shock has turned Mrs. Jerningham's brain. 
You can quite understand it. The girl says she has a 
headache — bids them all good-night about nine 
o'clock, but is heard talking to Gerald Trenton in the 
boudoir on the first floor ten minutes later. After 
which, no one sees her alive again. She is found dead, 
apparently from heart failure, for there is absolutely 
no blemish or mark on the body, in her bed, some 
six or eight hours later. (The room is next to her 

"Just as luck would have it, I happened to be in 



the local police station at Croydon, on my way from 
Brighton, where Mrs. Narkom and the youngsters are 
staying. I had had a temporary break-down, but of 
course I went up to Ariel House (Colonel Jerning- 
h a m's place, you know), and took the case in hand 

" Quite right," said Cleek absently, as the Super- 
intendent stopped to take breath. " Had the Colonel 
discovered the loss of his plans at that time?" 

"No. He never gave a thought to them, natur- 
ally. It was not till Mr. Gerald Trenton put in an 
appearance, which he did, at nine o'clock in the 

" I was on the point of leaving, and met him coming 
up the drive, and when I told him about the murder, 
he stared at me in a frightened sort of way, and 
murmured incoherently about his darling being dead, 
and something about some things being worse than 
death. His first question was as to whether any- 
thing had been missed. Well, I was so struck with 
his callousness that I turned back with him and was 
present when he rushed in to the Colonel and asked 
him whether everything was in the safe." 

"H'm! Strange that he should ask. But what 

"Well, naturally, Colonel Jerningham stared in 
surprise, but just to satisfy him, he examined the 
safe, as it stood there in the library. The plana were 
gone. There was a scene then, I can assure you, 
Cleek, for 'pon my soul, I think he was more upset 



about their loss that at the sight of that poor dead 
girl upstairs, though it sounds a cruel thing to say." 

Cleek twitched up one corner of his mouth. 
And was nothing else missing?" 
No; at least, nothing of importance. The Colonel 
wouldn't say what other paper was gone. Just a 
private paper, he said." 

"Does Mr. Harbridge know of the murder or 

"Oh, he knows. I had the task of telling him 
over the 'phone. And when he did come, he had a 
big bag, packed so that he could stay; and, Cleek, 
never do I want to listen to such grief as his again. 
It makes my blood turn cold. And he swears that 
Trenton is at the bottom of it; he swears, too, that 
he saw him lurking about in the grounds the last 
thing at night.' 9 

"What does young Trenton say to that? Has he 
any explanation?' 9 asked Cleek sharply. 

Oh, yes, he has explanations," replied Narkom. 

He says that he was so upset by his interview with 
the poor girl (though what it was they did quarrel 
about he refuses to tell) that he marched straight 
out of the house, and spent the rest of the night 
tramping about the country." 

"H'm! And do you believe him?" 

"Well, that would be difficult to say. Of course, 
he wouldn't admit the thing, even if he were guilty. 
Anyhow, it's unfortunate he can't establish an alibi, 
because he does admit that he didn't go to bed all 


night, and that no one heard him return to his 
father's house, some two or three miles away." 

"Looks fishy enough, I grant you," said Cleek, 
pulling down his cuffs and flicking the dust from his 
coat sleeve. #t I'll be able to tell you more, perhaps, 
when I've seen the young man for myself. As it is, 
I suppose you didn't mention my name?" 

"Well, no,'' said the Superintendent hesitatingly. 
" I said I would try to get one of our smartest men — 
Inspector Boyce " 

"Boyce, eh? Well, let it stand; only give him ten 
minutes in which to wash off the arduous stains of 
toil, and he'll be with you, dear chap, in the winking 
of an eye." 


4ND he was with him in " the winking of an 

L\ eye/* and down the steps and into the limou- 
JL jL sine with Mr. Narkom panting behind, in the 
space of another. 

A swift run of half an hour brought them at last to 
Colonel Jerningham's residence, an imposing build- 
ing standing in extensive and well-ordered grounds; 
and here, in the great library which opened on to a 
wide marble terrace, the master of the house awaited 
their arrival. 

Mr. Narkom's assertion that Colonel Jerningham 
was himself "nearly mad" had prepared Cleek 
to find an over-wrought, half-distracted man. He 
found, instead, a pale-faced soldier, calm, yet alert, 
a man whose eyes showed traces of the storm and 
stress raging within his breast, yet at the same time 
ready and willing to give the officers of the law every 
assistance within his power. 

"I suppose, Colonel," said Cleek in a casual, off- 
hand sort of way, when he had learned that the plans 
were still missing, "you have no reason to believe 
that Mr. Gerald Trenton inadvertently let fall any 
information as to their being in your possession? 
It is just possible that he may have told some one* 
and entirely forgotten the matter." 



"But, as it happens in this case," said the Colonel, 
"both his honour and his career are bound up in the 
success of this aeroplane, for he was to have been the 
first to fly it. He it was who begged me not to 
breathe a word, even to my wife, or Harbridge, my 
poor Cecile's JiancS, not that it would have been of 
any consequence to him, for he's a splendid fellow, 
one of the handsomest in the world, but without an 
idea in his head, outside of agricultural matters." 

"Where are the young gentlemen, if I may ask, 
at the present moment?" 

"Mr. Harbridge, I am glad to say, was persuaded 
to go and lie down, so that he might recover from the 
shock. But though I wanted Trenton to do the 
same, he, after vainly trying to get into Cecile's 
room (forgetting, I suppose, that Mr. Narkom had 
given strictest orders to the police to allow no one 
whatsoever to pass) flung himself out of the house." 
The Colonel sighed deeply. 

Mr. Narkom gave Cleek a significant glance that 
said as plainly as words, "What more do you want?" 

But Cleek merely looked non-committal, and 
noticed him not at all. Then: 

"It seems strange that no one in the house heard a 
suspicious sound throughout the night, doesn't it?" 

The Colonel fidgeted restlessly. 

"Yes; it seems from what I can gather that every 
man and maid slept like logs; and as they complain 
of headaches, they obviously must have been drugged. 
Yet how or when it was administered heaven alone 


knows. For myself, I usually take a 'nightcap,' as 
we call it, just before retiring, and my wife and Cecile 
a glass of hot milk. These may have been drugged, 
but who could have done it, and for what object?" 

Before Cleek could answer, however, the door was 
opened, and a young man strode into the room. He 
did not need the formally made introduction to tell 
him that this was the young aviator, Gerald Trenton, 
and as Cleek's eyes noted the drawn, haggard face, 
with its furtive eyes, the restless, twitching hands, 
he grew thoughtful. 

The young man fairly threw himself at Cleek, who 
had assumed as usual that befogged expression of 
incompetence on being introduced to a stranger. 

"Thank heaven you have come, Mr. Boyce," he 
said, his voice breaking with emotion. "Now per- 
haps you will let me go into her room " 

"Cecile's room!" echoed Colonel Jerningham. 
"Why should you want to go back? You saw her 
this morning as she lay " 

"Yes, sir," said Trenton, "but— but Oh, it's 

no use! I can remain silent no longer. It's those 
plans. Cecile did get them, after all. She must 

Colonel Jerningham stared as if the young man had 
gone mad. 

"Good heavens, Trenton, are you all mad in this 
house! Has the shock turned your brain? What 
did Cecile know about the plans, when not a soul 
knew but yourself? " 


"She did know," declared the young man almost 
sullenly. "Because she asked me to get them so 
that she might look at them." 

"What! Heavens, but this is inexplicable! I 
think I am going out of my senses." 

"I've already gone out of mine!" responded Tren- 
ton harshly. But Cleek struck in upon him. 

"Tell me," said he, "what time exactly did this 
occur? Perhaps you don't know?" 

"As it happens, I do, to the minute," replied 
Trenton smoothly. "It was just nine o'clock (you 
remember that, Colonel?) when Cecile retired to her 
own apartment. You remember how we all laughed 
at her for going to bed like a naughty girl " 

"Yes, yes." 

"Then Harbridge went up to pack," continued 
Trenton, moistening his dry lips, "and I went into 
the hall, to get my own things " 

"Pack?" interrupted Cleek, looking at him in 

But it was Colonel Jerningham who answered the 

"Mr. Harbridge had been staying with us for the 
week," he said quietly. "He went away only last 

"All at once, I looked up," went on Trenton, 
"and there on the landing I saw Cecile. She beck- 
oned to me, and up I went. She was unlike herself, 
and in for a bad cold, as she said herself. Her eyes 
were bright with fever, and with her pink cheeks and 


hoarse voice she quite frightened me. I begged her 
to let me send for a doctor, but she refused. All she 
wanted was one thing, and that was to have a look 
at those plans. I nearly had a fit when she said 
that, Colonel, as you told me you hadn't spoken a 
word about them." 

"Neither had I." 

"Well, of course I told her that was out of the 
question, and then — then she promised to give up 
Harbridge if I would just let her see those plans. It 
was only a foolish fancy she said, but she was deter- 
mined, and said she would kill herself if she didn't 
have her way. I grew angry, and after telling her 
that she was behaving shamefully to try and tempt 
me to become traitor, I rushed away and out of the 
house. That was how I came to be walking about 
pretty well all night," he added apologetically • 
" I didn't know what to do, but I had made up my 
mind to come and tell you, when I met Mr. Narkom 
here. Then it was too late." 

"Too late indeed!" groaned the unhappy father, 
and the young man buried his face in his hands. 
Cleek turned to the Colonel. 

" I shall be able to tell you more after I have been 
upstairs myself," he said smoothly. "But where is 
Mr. Harbridge? I should like to see him. You said 
he was still here, I believe." 

And shortly after Harbridge came. Under ordi- 
nary circumstances he must have been not only one of 
the handsomest of men, but one of Nature's own 


gentlemen . His eyes were blue and child-like, though 
now dimmed with unrestrained weeping. 

At sight of Cleek, he stopped short. 

"Ah, Mr. Boyce," he cried, as he shook hands 
warmly with that stolid gentleman. "I owe you a 
thousand apologies for not being present when you 



Don't mention it, sir," said Mr. Boyce bluntly. 
" Quite understand it. Well, gentlemen" — he turned 
to the other men — "I think I will go upstairs, if you 
have no objection." 

"Certainly, certainly," responded the Colonel. 
"I will show you the way myself." 

He passed out of the room, and in utter silence the 
three men ascended the staircase and reached the 
corridor, at the end of which stood a village constable 
on guard before the fateful room. 

"All the bedrooms are along this corridor," ex- 
plained the Colonel, as he noted Cleek 's gaze wander 
from one side of the wall to the other. "That is 
Mr. Harbridge's room" (he .motioned toward the 
first) " and that, on the other side of that linen cup- 
board, is my wife's. I do not want to disturb her if I 
can help it; it will only distress her still further." 

"Quite right, sir," agreed Cleek warmly, following 
his host's example and walking on tiptoe. 

Unfortunately, he was treading on the highly 
polished beeswaxed floor, instead of the centre strip 
of carpet, and the effect of standing on his toes can be 
readily imagined. Like a flash, the shiny floor rose 


up in front of him, and he came down with a heavy 
crash against Mr. Harbridge's door, sending it flying 
open. He picked himself up, rubbing his arm rue- 
fully. "I'm a clumsy ass, Colonel. No, no, I 
haven't hurt myself. I only hope I haven't dis- 
turbed your good lady." He backed out into the 
corridor, leaving the Colonel, with a little frown on 
his face, to close the door again. But his hopes were 
not to be fulfilled, for as he turned, another door on 
the opposite side of the corridor opened like a flash, 
and there darted out a frail-looking, gray-haired old 
lady, who with a swift glance of fright at the figure 
of her husband, drew Cleek within the portal of her 
bedroom door. Her whole body was shaking and 
trembling with excitement, but her eyes were quite 
calm and sane. 

Thank heaven you have come!" she gasped. 
You are the great detective Mr. Narkom promised 
us. You will discover the truth. They think me 
mad, but I am not. I tell you that — that thing 
there" — she shuddered toward the end door — 

"that is not my darling. She is older. I tell you — 

— " Her voice had risen shrill and quavering,and its 
sound brought the Colonel racing across the passage. 

"Nelly, Nelly!" he said soothingly, as if speaking 
to a child. "You must not delay these gentlemen. 
Come and lie down, and sleep." 

"No; no; it is no use, Hugh. I will not be treated 

like a lunatic. I am quite sane, I know " she 

struggled pitifully to regain composure. 


Cleek put a hand gently on the frail, bent shoulders. 

"Dear Mrs. Jerningham," he said quietly, "be- 
lieve me, I will do my best. We will find out the 

He turned and entered the room where the dead 
girl lay. 

" Everything is just the same as they found it this 
morning, Cleek/ 9 said Mr. Narkom softly, as he 
closed the door. "See — her clothes — everything! 
Why, -what is it?" He stopped, for Cleek was 
sniffing the air vigorously. 

"Funny smell of burn," he muttered, just as the 
Colonel himself entered softly behind him. "Ah f 
I see. The young lady evidently burned something: 
letters, perhaps; love letters, eh?" He crossed 
swiftly to the grate, wherein were the ashes of some 
heavy paper substance. "H'm! Not paper; it 
looks like parchment." 

"Dear heaven! My plans!" groaned Colonel 
Jerningham, staggering into a chair, as Cleek knelt 
down and scrutinized the charred fragments. 

Then, all at once, he gave a little lurch of his 
shoulders, jumped to his feet, and strode over to the 
bed. Very gently he turned down the white sheet. 
He bent over the body of the young girl, and 
examined it minutely, pulling down the scarlet 
lips, and opening the clenched hands, in one of which 
was concealed a tiny scrap of paper. 

But no one saw and no one knew save Mr. Nar- 
kom, and he held his peace. Then Cleek turned 


to him with a sharp upward movement of the 

You were right) Mr. Narkom," he said grimly; 
it is a case of murder after all. Miss Jerningham 
was the victim of some foul assassin." 

The sound of the ugly word brought the Colonel 
to his feet. 

"Murder!" he gasped. "Mr. Boyce, how could 
she? What do you mean?" 

"By the prick of some sharp instrument. See 
here, right at the back of the shoulder/* He pointed 
to a tiny puncture, hardly to be seen without the aid 
of a glass. "No girl could possibly have inflicted 
that mark herself; some easier, more accessible spot 
would have been selected for suicide. A dagger, 
perhaps, or a pin; perchance our old friend the 
poison ring, specimens of which can be purchased as 
easily in the Tottenham Court Road as in Italy 
itself." He turned aside sharply and walked away. 
Then he stopped short, and, catching hold of a white 
silk blouse which had fallen at the side of the bed, 
sniffed at it again and again. 

"Colonel," he said in quick, staccato tones, "oblige 
my by taking this blouse in to Mrs. Jerningham and 
ask her whether she is absolutely certain to whom it 
belongs. It is just a whim of mine." 

Colonel Jerningham obeyed, evidently bewildered; 
Cleek threw himself on his hands and knees and went 
sniffing round and round the room, like a terrier after 
a rat. Presently he rose, and inspected the con- 


tents of the dressing table, finally halting before 
another small white enamelled table, on which stood 
the dregs of a glass of milk. This, too, was smelled 
and cautiously tasted. 

"Drugged! A ducat to a guinea but it's opium. 
I wonder." He prowled around restlessly, halting 
finally at the foot of the bed, on which lay a pile of 
things, evidently the clothes discarded by Miss Cecile 
on retiring for the night. 

"The young lady was in a hurry, Mr. Narkom, 
and evidently undressed without the aid of a maid. 
See; here is the dress, the hooks nearly torn away, a 
string broken here, more lace; it almost looks as if 
they had been torn " 

"Gad! Cleek, it was the murderer who dragged 
them off," put in Mr. Narkom, an absolutely dazzling 
inspiration coming to him. 

"H'm!" Cleek pinched up his chin, and stared 
fixedly at a chair beside the bed, on which lay a 
second heap of clothes, neatly folded, surmounted 
by black silk stockings and light house slippers. 
"Something caused this lady to get up and dress 
herself again." 

But before Cleek could continue, the Colonel was 
in the room. 

"Yes, Mr. Boyce, this is my poor girl's; both her 
mother and the maid are absolutely sure. Is there 
anything else I can do?" 

"Nothing, thank you, Colonel, except to wait for 
me in the library. I will not keep you long." 


Again he was obeyed, and Mr. Narkom's heart 
began to beat hard as he saw his ally stand just in 
front of the wardrobe, his eyes narrowed down, 
his mouth set, and every nerve alert. An observer 
would have said that he was listening, but this was 

All at once he threw his head back, a low laugh 
coming between his lips. 

"Of all the mutton-headed fools!" he said softly. 
Then he advanced back to the bed again. 

"Cleek, what is it? Tell me," asked the Super- 
intendent. But his ally looked at him enigmatically. 

"Two doesn't often go into one, old chap, and 
when it does, it leaves unpleasant consequences for 
some one. Go downstairs, like a good chap, and 
round up the other actors in this little drama. Give 
me half an hour, and if I haven't something sur- 
prising to show you, my name shall be Boyce till 
the end of the chapter." 


HALF an hour's grace had been the time 
stipulated by Cleek, and Mr. Narkom had 
certainly done his part in " rounding up the 
actors in this drama/' as his ally expressed it. 
Colonel Jerningham, grim and erect, sat on one side 
of the great marble fireplace in the library; Gerald 
Trenton sat on the other, under Mr. Narkom's 
watchful gaze; while up and down, like a tiger bereft 
of its prey, paced Wilfred Harbridge. The clock 
struck the half-hour, and still no sign of Cleek. 
At last Mr. Narkom, forgetting even his usual cau- 
tion, volunteered to go upstairs and find him. One 
minute later he was back again, and in a state of 
violent excitement. 

" I want you, Mr. Gerald Trenton. Come up and 
clear yourself if you can!" he exclaimed. Then he 
turned round on his heel to Mr. Harbridge, " Do you 
know that man Boyce has found evidence to hang 
him for murder twice over!" 

A veritable volley of words greeted this assertion 
and the Australian would have literally hurled him- 
self on the dumbfounded Trenton had not Mr. Nar- 
kom barred the way. The Colonel stared in speech- 
less horror, but Trenton, after one gasp, seemed to 
recover Lib wits. 



"What tomfoolery is this you are talking? " he 
cried fiercely. "Have you gone mad? What can 
that fool possibly have found? Is it a trick?" 

"We've had enough of your tricks, young man," 
said the Superintendent sternly. "You are prac- 
tically under arrest now, but my colleague has asked 
for you, and up you go." 

"Oh, I'll go, quick enough. You can jolly well 
make your mind easy as to that," cried the young 
man hotly. "Come, Colonel, let's see what mare's 
nest this is." 

He flung himself out of the room, followed by 
Colonel Jerningham, who needed no second invita- 

"I fear we shall want your help, Mr. Harbridge," 
said -Mr. Narkom significantly. "He's a desperate 

"I guessed it from the first," was the quick re- 

One and all, they swept up that staircase, and down 
the long corridor, to that end room, and into the 
presence of Cleek. In such haste were they that 
it was not until they heard the click of the door 
behind them and the turn of the key in the lock that 
any one realized the presence of two of the village 
policemen, past whom they had walked unnoticed. 

"That's right, my lads. Well played!" sang out 
Cleek from his position on the hearth rug. A screen 
had been drawn round the bed, and he crossed over 
to it. "All right, Mr. Narkom; Stand ready, 


please. Well, my clever young friend " — addressing 

Trenton — "you've played a pretty game, haven't 


"What do you mean? How dare you hint " 

"Well, something stronger than a hint, eh? You 

were told I had found something, weren't you? 

Like to know what I found? Well, then, you shall 


He held up a thick, folded parchment. 

"The plans!" gasped the young man, and the 
cry was echoed by the Colonel behind him. 

"Yes, the plans," sneered Cleek. "And this is 
where I found them." He twitched one corner of 
the screen, and jerked it away; a cry of astonishment 
arose, for the bed was empty. But the cry was lost 
in a sudden tumult and uproar. Leaping as a cat 
does on a mouse, Cleek had flung himself full tilt 
upon the man Wilfred Harbridge, and had borne him 
backward to the floor, his knee on the fellow's 
stalwart breast. Then with the assistance of two 
policemen and Mr. Narkom he succeeded in man- 
acling his arms and ankles, and while the astounded 
onlookers stood spellbound they heard a low cry of 
mingled triumph and pain, in the direction of the 
door. It had been unlocked and opened ever so 
silently; and in the aperture stood a dead girl brought 
to life — Cecile Jerningham herself, with her mother *9 
arm encircling her slender waist. At the sight, 
unexpected even to Mr. Narkom himself, Trenton 
turned his dazed eyes to Cleek 


"In the name of heaven, Mr. Boyce, what does it 
mean?" he stammered, while Colonel Jerningham, 
his shaking arms by this time round his daughter's 
neck, lifted his head to echo that same ques- 

"It means that Miss Cecile has had a very nar- 
row escape," said Cleek gravely, "and if she and 
Mrs. Jerningham will retire for a few minutes, I will 
dispose of this clever gentleman." 

"But I don't understand!" cried Trenton. "Ce- 
cile, did you want the plans for him? Tell me!" 

"Plans? What plans?" asked the girl in a puz- 
zled tone, but keeping her eyes averted from the 
writhing, struggling figure on the floor. 

"The plans you asked me for last night," said 
Trenton, "after you went upstairs." 

"I never saw you last night at all," said the girl. 
"It was that brute who came to me. Ugh! To 
think I had meant to marry him!" She turned 
away, shuddering, and once more her mother's hand 
soothed the pale forehead. 

" Come with me, darling, and let Mr. Cleek explain 
it all," said Mrs. Jerningham softly; and as she led 
her away the Colonel and Trenton turned upon 
Cleek in absolute amazement and incredulity. 
Cleek!" ejaculated the Colonel dully, and 
Cleek!" echoed Trenton in the high-pitched voice 
of excitement. 

But Cleek had turned toward the prostrate pris- 



moved that famous rii; 
known the iiiark Ro 
swooped down on one 
held it up. A ring c 
tanned skin like the v 
when a picture is remc 
the guilt upon Mr. Trei 
it's come home to roost 

"Well, take him aw 
escape you even now, 
when he's cornered, an 
corner indeed." 

The policemen hard! 
before they had laid wi 
hauled him off to his fa 

"But the doctor sai. 
said the Colonel, as the 

"Some one's daughti 
said Cleek, almost sten 


which lay the figure of a girl, the very counterpart 
of the living girl who had just left the room. 

"Cecile!" exclaimed Trenton, staggering toward 
the couch. 

"No. Sidonie," said Cleek, his eyes fixed on the 
ashen face of the elder man; "daughter of Hertha 

"Ah! dear heaven, but she died at her birth, with 
the mother," gasped Colonel Jerningham. 

"Evidently not," said Cleek, "since there is no 
denying her likeness to her half-sister, both perfect 
images of their father, Colonel Jerningham, here. 
From what I can gather from Miss Cecile, my read- 
ing of the crime is this : Heinrich Harnhelm, to give 
him his real name, must have heard of these plans 
before they came into your possession, Colonel, and 
probably Sidonie, who was also in the Balkan Secret 
Service " 

"My little daughter a spy!" moaned Colonel 

"Yes, a spy," answered Cleek. "Women do 
strange things when left to shift for themselves. 
The name on her passport, which I found, pro- 
claimed her to be Sidonie Metz, so she evidently 
believed herself to have been wronged by you." 

"Her mother was beneath me in station, and she 
ran away from me when I was attach^ in Servia," 
said the Colonel, " and all I knew after that was that 
she died, and the child with her." 

"Ah, well, I take it that she came here, with 


Harnholm, and by collusion with him, after he had 
drugged Miss Cecile, in her boudoir, she took her 
half-sister's place, and tried first to get you to steal 
the plans, Mr. Trenton. Failing in that, she must 
have stolen the keys from you as you slept, Colonel, 
Harnhelm having drugged you all, including Miss 
Cecile. But with the plans she also found another 
document. You see, Colonel, I guessed right; you 
had lost something else, your first marriage certifi- 
cate, though you were afraid to admit it to Mr. 
Narkom. Whether, when she saw her mother's 
wedding certificate, on parchment, as it was in the old 
days in Servia, she felt remorse, or meant to keep 
the plans for her own use, I cannot say. Anyhow, 
she concealed them in the same place as TTArnhglm 
had placed Miss Cecile drugged and senseless " 

"Where was that?" came in chorus from his 
breathless listeners. 

"In the wardrobe," was the quiet reply. "Ph>b- 
ably Harnhelm returned, and when she refused to 
give them up, showing him the parchment certifi- 
cate, he lost his temper, and shook her by the 
shoulder. His ring, which was the same old-time 
weapon that some of our dead 'heroes* used for 
executing their pleasant little assassinations, killed 
her instantly. Then he tore off her clothes, bundled 
her into bed, and made his escape, after burning that 
certificate in the grate. He meant you to think they 
were the plans. Unfortunately, he forgot one or 
two little things : one was the scrap of parchment left 


in his victim's hand; the other was the second pile 
of clothes, which Miss Cecile had left at the side 
of her bed. She says that she had already retired, 
when she heard the knock, and thinking it was her 
mother, went to the door. Harnhelm pushed a cloth 
over her mouth and drugged her then and there." 

"The devil!" cried Trenton, leaping forward like a 
young lion at bay. "And to think how he might 
have won her for his wife ! " 

"But the aeroplane plans," broke in the Colonel. 
"Were they burned, too?" 

"No," replied Cleek, "they were in HarnhelnTs 
pocket, were they not, Mr. Narkom? Ah, yes, I 
thought so." 

"But how did you discover this, Mr. Cleek?" 
asked the Colonel, his eyes still bent on the face of 
the dead girl. 

"I thought it was strange if a mother didn't know 
her own child, Colonel," said Cleek quietly, "and 
when I found that the two sets of clothes had two 
different scents, I began to get suspicious. One was 
strongly saturated with hyacinth" — he looked over 
at Mr. Narkom and smiled — "the other bore traces 
of violet. Then came the charred fragments of the 
certificate, and the final discovery of Miss Cecile 
in the wardrobe settled the matter. All I had to 
do was to wait till her mother had restored her to 
composure, and trust to luck to catch the villain 
in his own trap, which I did, ]bfc. Trenton, by giving 
you a very bad quarter of an hour." 


He stretched out his hand, which the young man 
seized with fervour. 

"Invite me to the wedding later, dear fellow," said 
he smilingly. 

Then, quite suddenly, he turned to the waiting 
Superintendent. "Mr. Narkom," he said, "time's 
short, and I've a lot to do. Our work here is done. 
Tell Lennard to crank up and be ready. Colonel, 
good-bye. Good-bye, Mr. Trenton, and God bless 
you and the dear girl who cares for you. Love's 
better than money, any day, and twice as lasting. 
And a loyal heart is better than both. Always 
remember that." 

Then he swung upon his heel, picked up his hat 
and gloves, and went down and out into the winter 
sunshine to the Yard's duty and the Yard's eternal 


THERE are times in the life of every man that 
stand out above all others if only for their 
very peace; and for Cleek such was this month 
of June. For the world again was aflood with roses 
that made the air honey-sweet with their perfume, and 
taught one to forget all that was sorrowful, all that 
was sad, for the time being at least. Count Irma, 
reluctant and indignant, had returned to Maure- 
vania, and for a time Cleek's life had drifted on aim- 
lessly, unmolested, and secure. The Yard had been 
idle, at least, be it said, for the Yard; and he had 
found plenty of time to dwell in paradise, with Ailsa 
Lome's hand to guide him and Ailsa Lome's dear 
eyes reflecting his love. 

Now, therefore, his home was a caravan, tethered 
at a discreet distance from the flower-filled cottage 
over which Mrs. Condiment reigned and watched 
for the return of her dear Cap'n Burbage; and his life 
passed peacefully as a summer's day. 

But it was too good to last. For duty, like the 
avenging angel, and in the person of Mr. Narkom, 
overtook him, whizzing countryward in the old lim- 
ousine, with Lennard at the helm, and the Yard 
very much indeed to the fore. 



" This is about it, Lennard," said the Superinten- 
dent, as they turned into a long lane, green-edged 
with hedges like fur on a lady's frock. "Keep a 
sharp lookout. He must be found, whatever hap- 
pens, or those devils will get him as sure as eggs is 
eggs. Slower, now, and Til hunt him myself." 

He leaped from the car, plunging straightway 
into a leafy lane, and came at last to a corner from 
which he could see Cleek, the one being in the world 
he loved and looked up to, and the slim, straight 
figure of a woman standing beside him and looking 
out, with his eyes, upon a sun-kissed, heaven-blessed 
world. The Superintendent frowned and looked 

"It's too bad," he muttered, "to have to bother 
him, but he'll be safer with me now that those 
Apaches and Maurevanians are after him again. 
So, Narkom, my boy, pull yourself together and be 

He advanced swiftly, yet not so swiftly but that 
Cleek .noted the coming of him, and went to him 
with outstretched hand and a warm smile. 

" Sorry, old chap, to have to disturb your holiday," 
said the Superintendent apologetically, taking Ailsa's 
hand and looking down into her face with appealing 
eyes. "But I'm in the very devil of a hole, and I 
want you to help me out of it." 

"A change of work is as good as a holiday some- 
times," interposed Ailsa, with a little nod of under- 
standing, "and I can see that Mr. Narkom has a 


specially interesting case. Go and break the news 
to poor Dollops, dear, and I'll keep Mr. Narkom 
entertained until you get back. 9 ' 

Cleek twitched up his shoulders, and threw out his 
hands, and, turning upon his heel with a little laugh, 
went back to the caravan and disappeared inside it. 

Then the Superintendent turned to Ailsa. 

"It isn't only a case, Miss Lome," said he with a 
pucker between his brows, " but those devils are after 
him again; they're buzzing like hornets over the cap- 
ture of their pet, Rosillon, and I have learned, too, 
through secret channels, that Count Irma is again 
on his track, so he'll be best with the Yard to guard 
him. You may safely trust him to me." 

Ailsa smiled. There was a mist of tears in her eyes. 

" Indeed, I do, Mr. Narkom," she said earnestly, 
"and with none better. But to be so uncertain of 
his safety again " 

There was no fear in her face, only sorrow and 
understanding, and her eyes were moist. 

Later, Cleek said good-bye to her tenderly, and 
entered the old limousine once more, sighing a little 
at the parting; but if he saw the quick look of inter- 
rogation that passed between Mr. Narkom and Len- 
nard, he thought best to ignore it. 

"You're a regular old body snatcher," he said 
softly, turning to the Superintendent with a queer 
little smile, as the limousine bounded forward and 
went ripping off into the distance like a thing pos- 



Mr. Narkom at once swung into his story, and soon 
the car lurched round a corner, bringing into view a 
gypsy encampment. A coil of smoke curled upward 
into the still air, while round and about it a group of 
rough-looking men lay stretched on the grass, enjoy- 
ing their noon-day meal. 

At sight of them Cleek gave vent to a little excla- 

"Dollars to ducats," said he, "those chaps are 
Apaches. I know the cut of them too well to be 
mistaken. They're coming this way, Mr. Narkom, 
so it's good-bye to your humble." 

And sure enough, they were coming "this way," 
for the whole crowd of them suddenly surrounded 
the car, chattering like magpies. 

"Cinnamon! but you're right, old chap!" broke 
out Mr. Narkom excitedly, as he put his head out of 
the window and looked at them. "Beastliest crowd 
I ever saw! I say " 

He turned to face an empty seat, for Cleek was no 
longer there. Like a shadow he had slipped out, 
and only the door slightly ajar showed where he had 

"Nipped it, by James!" muttered the Superinten- 
dent, with a little gasp of admiration. "Slow down, 
Lennard, and let's see what the beggars want. Hold 
their attention as long as you can, to give him time 
to escape." 

Further speech was rendered impossible by the 
rush of the erstwhile gypsies; and, despite Mr. Nar- 


kom's imperfect knowledge of French, he gathered 
that they had recognized the limousine, and guessed 
that Cleek would return in it. They resisted all his 
efforts and threats and piled into the car, searching 
every nook and cranny with a true knowledge of the 
"Vanishing Cracksman " and the "Vanishing Cracks- 
man's" ways. 

Finally they fell back, and, followed by scowls 
and curses, Narkom was allowed to proceed, the 
gang hurrying at full speed in the opposite direction. 
The Superintendent laughed softly. 

"By the time they reach the caravan, the police 
will be in possession," he muttered. "Now, I won- 
der what that amazing beggar did with himself?" 

He looked out anxiously; only the waving corn- 
fields were to be seen, and in the midst of one an old 
scarecrow, its rags waving to the summer wind, the 
stick which served as an arm pointing to the blue 
sky above. One rook, braver than his fellows, 
perched jauntily on the old silk hat, but, with a 
squawk of fear, fled forthwith as the scarecrow 
dropped swiftly to the ground, and, creeping through 
the corn, came out at the precise moment that the 
Superintendent signalled Lennard to slow down. 

"My dear, dear chap," cried Mr. Narkom, as the 
door flashed open and flashed shut again, and the 
car leaped forward once more like a mad thing, " that 
was a close shave. Full speed ahead, Lennard, my 
lad," this through the tube. 

"That," said Cleek, straightening his cuffs, "was 


the Rosillon gang, and I suppose Maurevania will be 
found in the offing." He gave a curious little lop- 
sided smile. " Years ago they drove me out by force, 
and now they think to drive me back in the same way. 
Bah! Come, Mr. Narkom, what is this case of 
yours — murder, robbery, or what?" 

The Superintendent mopped his forehead, then 
his eye lit up. With the magic word "case" Mr. 
Narkom was himself again. 

"It's this way," said the Superintendent, "Lady 
Brasker is the person in question, and the discovery 
that the family jewels have been stolen was made 
yesterday morning when " 

"Hold on a minute!" interposed Cleek. "Sorry 
to interrupt you, but it's as well to know something 
about your company before you start your play. 
Lady Brasker, eh? Isn't that the charming young 
lady who, as Maisie Grey, played leading lady at the 
Triviality Theatre, and after breaking the hearts of 
nearly half the young sprigs of nobility six months 
ago, married Sir George Brasker, the head of one of 
England's oldest families?" 

"That's the lady, yes," replied Narkom. "She is 
really young, too, and quite as pretty as her postcard 
photographs, though that has nothing to do with it. 
The thing that does count is that Sir George Brasker 
rode to hounds last week; coming back, his horse shied 
at a fence; and later, Sir George was discovered with 
his neck broken, while a riderless horse found its 
way home." 





I see, I see!" broke in Cleek, pinching up his chin. 

Leaving his young widow broken-hearted, I sup- 

Mr. Narkom coughed almost apologetically. 

"Well, I wouldn't like to say as much as that. 
It seems to me as if she is more angry at having to 
give up the family diamonds after only once wearing 
them than anything else. I'm taking you to her 
now, to Bassington Combe, here in Surrey. It is she 
who has put the case in my hands. Combe Manor 
is the name of the estate, and I shouldn't be sur- 
prised if her ladyship has found the place a bit of a 
change after the boards." 

"I suppose she has filled it up with old friends, 
eh?" said Cleek quietly. "Cecile Clanes and Belle 
Brahams, and one or two others of that ilk. Am I 

"For once you are, my friend. There is only her 
chaperon, Mrs. Crustin, a most estimable lady, and 
Captain Willmott." 

"Hallo, hallo!" rapped out Cleek, sitting up very 
straight. "Any relation to that Captain Willmott 
who had to send in his resignation at the time of the 
spy scare at Portsmouth?" 

"The same man. But, my dear fellow, it was a 
trumped-up case all through. Don't you remember 
they proved that he had absolutely nothing to do 
with the matter, and even offered him his step over 
the heads of his senior officers? " 

"H'm, yes," said Cleek reflectively. "A burned 


child dreads the fire, they say. Well, go on. So the 
worthy captain is staying there, with one eye on 
the lady, I suppose, and the other on — well, never 

The Superintendent nodded. 

"Well, yes," he said reflectively, "I don't deny 
that there's every chance of her ladyship shortly 
becoming plain Mrs. Willmott, though plain she 
never will be. But there are still some people who 
say she ought to have left Combe Manor directly 
the heir arrived." 

"And who is he?" 

" Mr. Edward Brasker, now Sir Edward, of course, 
a nephew of Sir George and a recluse and bookworm. 
In fact, he looks like a blind mole dragged out of his 
hiding-place underground, and he refuses to let 
Lady Brasker move. He wants her to stay and 
keep up the honour of the name while he goes back 
to his books. 

" Oho ! " commented Cleek softly ; " an obliging heir, 
that. Newly made heirs are not generally so dis- 
interested and kind. No chance of any son and heir 
coming to Lady Brasker, eh?" 

"Not the slightest! And though she will be the 
mistress of the house just the same, it will be by his 
courtesy instead of a right, so I don't wonder if the 
lady does feel a little bitter; and now the loss of the 
jewels will cause trouble with the other executors, 
who have already treated her very summarily, as 
they resented a chorus girl being introduced on the 


family escutcheon of the Braskers. And that, my 
dear Cleek, brings me to the actual case at last. 

"Amongst those jewels there is a certain superb 
necklace of rubies, said to have once lodged in an 
Indian temple; the stones are of colossal value, and 
have caused so much trouble that they have won the 
name of " 

" The Tears of Blood," supplied Cleek with a quick 
smile. "Gad! Why didn't I recollect the things 
before? I remember now, they were stolen from 
one of the shrines of Kali, in India, at the time of the 
Calcutta insurrection under the East India Company. 
The necklace changed hands many times, bringing 
tears and bloodshed, till at last it was bought by Sir 
George Brasker's grandfather and included as one of 
the heirlooms/' 

Mr. Narkom drew a deep breath and shook his 
head in mute admiration. 

" There's no getting to the end of your knowledge of 
jewels," he said at length, ignoring Cleek's sudden, 
crooked smile. "Well, anyway, the 'Tears' have 
vanished; they've been dried up or washed away 
somehow; and Lady Brasker is nearly mad with 
despair. It seems she had them sent down along 
with some others to wear at the Hunt Ball the day 
before Sir George's accident. All the jewels are kept 
in the strong room of the London and Eastern 
Counties Bank, and they were all brought down in- 
tact by special messenger, and verified by Sir George 
himself. Lady Brasker wore them on the night 


of the ball, and locked them up in her own jewel 
case preparatory to sending them back the next day. 
Of course, with the excitement of Sir George's death, 
the jewels were forgotten." 

"Gad!" interposed Cleek quickly, "it begins to 
look exciting. Well, when did her careless ladyship 
find out her loss?" 

"Yesterday morning. At least, she remembered 
them then, while she was dressing. The case was 
opened in her presence and that of her maid, Ben- 

"H'm! A risky thing to do," said Cleek quietly, 
stroking his chin. 

"Oh; but this maid has been with the family 
for years; in fact, she's almost an heirloom herself. 
Anyway, the jewels were there safe and sound, and 
the case relocked, and placed back in the drawer. 
Lady Brasker herself took away the keys, together 
with the one that fitted the bedroom door, until Sir 
Edward was ready." 

"And what, may I ask, had Sir Edward got to do 
with it?" 

"A great deal. He had promised to take the 
jewels up to town himself that very day. As one 
of the executors he was responsible, you see, and he 
thought it would be less risky if he were to take them 
than to send them by post." 

Cleek nodded several times in succession. Then he 
smoked for a second in silence. 

"So I should think," said he finally. "But one 


minute, please. Where was Captain Willmott all 
this time? Anywhere near the lady of his dreams?" 

"No. He'd gone up to town immediately after 
the funeral; but he returned yesterday, and is staying 
at the village inn. The whole thing can be put into a 
nutshell. After breakfast, when Sir Edward was 
ready, her ladyship went upstairs, and, opening the 
locked door, drawer, and jewel case, found the 
' Tears of Blood* vanished. Now, what I want to 
know is, how it was done. I can't believe Lady 
Brasker herself has anything to do with it. Her 
agony of mind is too great to be simply acting." 

"Even though she did act in melodrama at the 
old Olympic, I think," said Cleek musingly. "Well, 
well, it's no use crying 'thief till you've caught him 
with his hand in your pocket; so I think Mr. George 
Headland will take a look into things, always pro- 
viding you haven't mentioned my name before- 

Mr. Narkom gave vent to a deep sigh of relief. 
His face cleared. 

"No, not I," said he enthusiastically. "You're a 
fine chap, Cleek; a fine chap. Always come when 
you're wanted. Hallo ! Here we are at Bassington. 
Drive right in Lennard, as fast as you can. That's 

And with a lurch and a jar the limousine swung 
round swiftly and went spinning up the long drive to 
Combe Manor and into one of the strangest cases 
Cleek had ever handled. 


IT WAS still early in the afternoon when the 
limousine stopped at the foot of the broad flight 
of steps that led up to the Manor where, framed 
in the open doorway, a slender figure, clad in widow's 
mourning, awaited impatiently the approach of 
Scotland Yard, as personified by Mr. Maverick 
Narkom and the stolid, heavy-faced individual 
who slouched clumsily in his wake, and was 
introduced as "Mr. George Headland, one of our 
smartest men, Your Ladyship/* 

The little lady was painfully agitated, and she 
shook like an aspen leaf as, scarcely waiting for them 
to be seated, she addressed herself altogether to Mr. 

"Oh, Mr. Narkom," she broke forth excitedly, 
her little white hands fluttering in her lap like twin 
doves, "I thought you were never coming back. I 
am nearly mad! It's a plot, I tell you, a wicked 
plot to bring me to ruin — and I verily believe Sir 
Edward is at the bottom of it ! " 

" Sir Edward ? My dear Lady Brasker, you must- 
n't say that! Why, bless my soul " 

She clasped her hands and breathed hard. 

"Yes, yes, I know," she interposed breathlessly, 



"it sounds incredible, but more things have since 
disappeared : two rings now, in just the same myster- 
ious way; and I believe he hates me, and is trying to 
get the jewels for his books." 

"Jewels for his books?" murmured Cleek inter- 

" Yes. He has the covers of them encrusted with 
jewels. He has never been able to afford many be- 
fore, but now that he is the heir, I believe he means 
to use every one of the family jewels for that pur- 
pose." She fairly ground her teeth upon her lower 
lip, and her voice took up a note of hatred. "Oh, 
he pretends to be very sympathetic and all that, 
but I'm certain he is plotting against me, Mr. Nar- 
kom. Mr. Headland" — she turned to him, hands 
outstretched, and with tears in her eyes, looking like 
a very Niobe in the depths of her distress — "for 
heaven's sake help me to defeat him, to keep up the 
honour of my dead husband's name!" 

Mr. Narkom held up his hand. His face ex- 
pressed polite reproof. 

Come, come, Your Ladyship," said he briskly, 
you've got no proof, have you? No actual proof, 
I mean." 

"Proof? No, but I am sure! Aunt Crustie says 
the same." 

Cleek raised inquiring eyebrows. 

"She is the only friend, besides Captain Willmott, 
I have in all the world," put in her ladyship in an- 
swer to his silent inquiry. "She was with me on my 



last engagement, and, poor old thing, she has been 
with me ever since. I don't care what they say; 
they all laughed at her, the Braskers, I mean; and 
she may be old and dowdy, but her heart's in the 
right place, and that's something, I tell you." 

The door came softly open, and a tiny, wizened-up 
little woman, clad in rusty black, with a strange 
concoction of lace and violet ribbon bows upon her 
white hair, came quietly into the room. 

It did not need her delighted cry of "Oh, Aunt 
Crustin!" to tell Cleek that this was Mrs. Crustin, 
and as his eye swept over the quaint old figure he 
smiled involuntarily. An old-fashioned curtsey ac- 
knowledged the introduction; then she sank down into 
one of the low chairs, and presently the click-click 
of knitting needles and the soft drone of "two purl, 
two plain, slip one, knit one, draw the slipped stitch, 
one," told them that she was in the throes of that 
feminine puzzle, a stocking, and oblivious to the rest 
of the world in consequence. 

Cleek rose blunderingly to his feet, and, drawing 
out an immense notebook, much to the Superin- 
tendent's surprise, began writing hurriedly in it. 

"I think, My Lady," he began, speaking with a 
strong cockney accent, "I'll see the good gentleman 
for myself, and the room wot them jewels was taken 
from, if you don't mind." 

"Certainly." Lady Brasker looked at him in a 
sort of disgusted assent. " Come along, Crustie, let's 
go upstairs again." 


She crossed over to the old lady and took her by 
the arm. "This gentleman wants to see the room, 

Mrs. Crustin looked from one to the other, then 
laboriously rose to her feet and followed up the stair- 
case, her needles still clicking diligently and her 
wool bag hanging on her arm. Outside a door on the 
upper landing Lady Brasker stopped short. 

"This is the library," she whispered. "We shall 
find Sir Edward here. I don't suppose he's spent 
more than an hour out of the place since he came to 
the Manor. 9 ' She knocked on the door, and, turning 
the handle, went in. Cleek and Mr. Narkom saw in 
the dim interior of the room the figure of the newly 
made Baronet, bending low over a big book, the 
cover of which was encrusted with dull-blue tur- 

He looked up at the sound of the opening door, 
and peered at them over his spectacles, blinking like 
an owl brought into a strong light. But he was not 
alone. Another man stood at his side, and at the 
sight of him Lady Brasker gave vent to a little cry 
of amazement. 

" Gerald ! I did not know you had come back." 
She turned, reddening confusedly, and made the 
necessary introductions. Cleek's keen eyes sur- 
veyed the newcomer, a handsome, military-looking 
man, even though they appeared not to do so. 

"Splendid force, the police!" the Captain ejacu- 
lated noisily as they all trooped upstairs and into the 

of things mu.,t ,.„,] 

Ilia! Mill be the hart 

Cleek scratched 1 

"Publicity, Sir E< 

brows. "What do 

Sir Edward lower' 

tiey two could hear. 

into the room and tl 

"Why," said he so 

direction, "if you o 

tnem np, the other e 

matter what I say. 

He put his fingers 
nose vigorously. " Y. 
By this time Lad 
drawers and the jewe 
■ntact without so mi 
"It's so inexplicable. 


"They was indeed, dearie," assented the old lady 
«?ith a vigorous shaking of her white curls. 

"H'm-m, I see. Well, supposing you tell me at 
what time you discovered that the jewels were miss- 
ing, Lady Brasker, and I'll just jot down a few 

Cleek pulled out the huge notebook again, and 
tentatively sucked the point of his pencil, looking 
for all the world the veritable "bobby" that Captain 
Willmott had designated him. "At what time did 
you first see the necklace?" 

"I remembered it while I was dressing," said Lady 
Brasker, eying him with almost a smile of amuse- 
ment, "about eleven o'clock. I had had a very 
bad night, and I slept on till Aunt Crustie came and 
brought me a cup of tea. She's always so thought- 
ful of me, dear old thing. Well, then, I don't know 
what made me think of it — Oh, yes, I do! Crustie 
was telling me all about your jewelled books." She 
turned suddenly on Sir Edward Brasker, who ap- 
peared just a little confused by her unmeditated 
attack. "She said you had told her all about them 

"Er — yes — I suppose I did," stammered Sir Ed- 
ward self-consciously. "It's my hobby, you know." 

He turned round to Narkoni with raised brows. 


"Yes. Well, then I said, 'Oh, Crustie, the neck- 
lace!' " continued her ladyship after a slight pause. 
"Just like that, interrupting her in the middle; 
didn't I, dear? And she. said, naturally, 'What 

:in<l lifted the jewel ca 
Then I gave her the ke 
itself and lifted up the i 
Bennett (that's my man 
service since she was boi 
it. Aunt Crustie put it 
as possible, locked it all 
locked the bedroom doc 
stairs with me. When 
fetch the necklace for Si 

"Anything else beside 
in Cleek, looking up at 
rose-garlanded cupids as 
to drop down on top of tJ 

" Yes, two rings ; I only 

"Well," said Cleek, ai 
idea, "it seems to me tha 
cate key." He walked 

Dinchine »** *» : ~ - 1 ' 


Strikes me it's a clear case of the servants; one of 
them's had a key made, hoping to nick off some- 
thing." He gaped round, as if expecting a burst of 
applause for this, and Captain Willmott shrugged 
his shoulders with a look of disgust. 

"Of course you had them all searched, eh?" 

"Yes, indeed, and nice and insulted they were, too! 
Called me all sorts of impertinent names. Still, I 
insisted upon it, and Sir Edward supported me, 
didn't you?" 

"Yes, yes, of course; quite unnecessary , still, it was 
the right thing, I suppose," muttered his lordship in 
a low, incoherent tone. "But there's no sign of the 
jewels anywhere." 

" That settles it, then." Cleek looked, if possible, 
even more stupid than he had done up to the pres- 
ent. " Strikes me it must have been some one from 
London, then. I'll make a few inquiries in the vil- 
lage, suspicious characters, don't yer know; and by 
the way" — he swung round suddenly on Captain 
Willmott — "I suppose, sir, you'll be able to prove 
that you were in London all the time, eh? Just as a 
matter of form." 

His whole expression was one of such direct accusa- 
tion that it was no wonder that the Captain flared 
up like a lighted match put to a bonfire. 

"How dare you, sir!" he broke forth, crimsoning 
and pulling himself up very straight. "I've stood a 
good deal, but if you're insinuating that I have had a 
hand in this wretched business, I — I " 


Then Lady Brasker, whose face, too, had reflected 
outraged dignity and a certain crimsoning anger, 
interposed with: 

" Sir, if this is your idea of helping, I will stop the 
case at once and take the consequence of the loss! 
To insult my guest and friend, who was not even in 
the house at the time! It is monstrous! Unheard 
of ! Appalling ! " 

Cleek looked from one to the other in injured in- 
nocence. "I didn't mean any harm/' he said 
bluntly, pulling a wry face, "but, you see, if it isn't 
the servants and it isn't any one from outside, it 
looks precious much as though it were some 
one inside, doesn't it? Still, I'm only too willing to 
apologize for havin' given any offence, so to speak. 
And I don't see as there's anything more to be got 
here, so with Your Ladyship's permission I'll go 
down to the inn and think it over." 

He touched his forehead clumsily, and shambled 
out of the room, followed by Narkom, who stared 
at his great ally in blank amazement. But once 
outside in the limousine and under cover of its closed 
windows, he burst forth. 

" My dear chap, what did you want to act the fool 
like that for?" he said with a little sniff of dis- 
pleasure. "The Captain's got 'em, of course, but 
you needn't have put him on his guard like that. Of 
course, I know you've got your methods, and I'm not 
one to quarrel with 'em, but " 

Cleek smiled and smoothed out the torn pieces of 


paper he had picked up, and laid them upon Mr. 
Narkom's knee. 

" Might be/ 9 he said softly, smiling his queer little 
one-sided smile, " but I'd like you to go and see what 
sort of rubies those were that Sir Edward was evi- 
dently sending to London the day before yesterday. 
And you might hurry up Dollops. I'll stay at the 
inn (what's the name of it? Oh, 'The Hen and 
Chickens') till you come back." 

The door flashed open and flashed shut again, 
leaving Mr. Narkom gazing at the torn, crumpled 
paper, which read: 

"Sending . . . setting . . . Gask • • 
Pritch . . . rubies . . . encrusting. Bbasker. 

"Cinnamon!" ejaculated the Superintendent ex- 
citedly; "the beggar must have dropped the pieces 
while he was taking out the rubies. Good Lord! 
What fools some of these collectors are! Who in the 
name of goodness would have thought it!" 


CLEEK was up at the Manor, after sending a 
lengthy telegram to Scotland Yard, a little 
after ten o'clock the next morning, and 
before an hour had passed away he may be said to 
have driven the whole household to desperation. 
Lady Brasker was turned out of her bedroom by his 
enthusiasm to measure up the room, for, having 
once questioned the servants and seen over their 
possessions, to their increased indignation, he had 
evinced the belief that the jewels were hidden in the 
room itself, and he therefore spent no little time in it. 

At last, having driven Sir Edward to his library, 
and seen Lady Brasker and the Captain safely 
ensconced in one of the conservatories, with Mrs. 
Crustin deep in one corner, knitting as for dear life, 
Cleek slouched out into the grounds. It was at the 
lodge gates, some two hours later, that the limousine, 
dashing up at full speed, found him engaged in 
teaching the lodgekeeper's wife how to graft roses. 
At the sight of Mr. Narkom, who alighted with 
most dejected mien, he straightened himself and 
walked up the carriage drive. 

"Well?" said he blandly when they had passed 
out of hearing. 



"Well? It isn't well this time, old chap," replied 
Mr. Narkom, dabbing at the top of his bald head 
with a silk handkerchief, a sure sign that he was dis- 
turbed. "Regular wild goose chase. The rubies 
were little pin-point stones, to illumine some letters, 
and the box hadn't been opened; the head of the 
firm (Gaskell and Fritchett it was) undid the seals 
and showed them to me, and what on earth you 
wanted Hammond and Fetrie down here for I can't 
imagine. I called in at the Yard, of course, and 
just got your wire in time. They're in the limousine 
now, waiting for instructions." 

"Good," said Cleek with a little purr of satisfac- 
tion. "We'll have them up at once, and then the 
lot of us will go and pay our respects to her little 
ladyship immediately." 

He gave vent to a long, low whistle, and at the 
sound of it the limousine door swung open and Petrie 
and Hammond came out. There was a short, 
whispered conclave, and then the tiny brigade swung 
round and filed slowly up to the house. 

Outside the drawing room door Cleek was joined 
by Sir Edward, who frowned rather deeply and pursed 
up his lips when he saw him. 

"Back again, Mr. Headland?" said he without 
enthusiasm. "Got a fresh clue, perhaps, or going 
to throw the case up?" 

• "Yes, Sir Edward." Cleek's face was dully in- 
scrutable. "I think that's what I shall do. I want 
to see her ladyship first, though." 

* usuuJiy UO ]t on 

plaintively to (.'leek, us 

stood beside her; "but 

so knobby and unreasoi 

"Oh, I'll help you, ] 

amiably. "Yon hold, . 

"Splendid force, the 

softly as Mrs. Crustin 

lands. The wool went 

and nodded into Cleek's 

Bte the flash of shot i 

mouth came the sound 

the scuffle of feet, and in 

appeared the iat, podgy 

nad approached through 

to hear Cleek's voice say 

"Got you, my beauty! 

pot you, got you, got yc 


the startled watchers' amazement two policemen 
took up their guard beside her. Cleek's face was 
glorified, triumphant; he clapped his hands and 
breathed hard, 

"Watch her, Hammond, and you, Petrie," said 
he with a little nod at the two constables; "she's 
artful as the devil, and as dangerous/ 9 

"How dare you! Oh, how dare you! It's a lie, 
a lie!" shrieked Mrs. Crustin, and Lady Brasker in 
one voice, as her ladyship flung herself upon the 
struggling figure and tried to release her. 

"You fool! You brute to treat an old woman like 
that! As if Aunt Crustie would steal my jewels! 
It's impossible, I tell you, impossible ! " 

"Unfortunately no, Lady Brasker," put in Cleek 
smoothly, and in the sudden change of his voice, 
the sudden cultured note that had crept into it, she 
sent her startled eyes up into his face. 

"Who are you?" she gasped. "Who are you?" 
Cleek," said that gentleman, softly, in answer; 

just Cleek of Scotland Yard, Lady Brasker, and 
proud to have done the Yard a good, service in rid- 
ding London of one of its wickedest, most malicious 
thieves. Oh, yes, I know your sleight-of-hand 
tricks, madame," he said blandly to the writhing, 
shrieking woman, who glared up at him with baleful, 
devilish eyes. "Unfortunately for you, I happened 
to recognize that scar on your wrist. Remember 
cutting it in the old * Twisted Arm' days? People 
don't knit scarlet stockings nowadays, especially 


make sure, anil though I 
journey, Mr. Xarkom, I 
down, for I want to catch 
and I don't doubt that tl 

"But first, let's have 
grab at the black repp w 
wrist, and as he did so she 
vicious laughter. 

With & little snarl of disi 
open, and pulled roughly a 
wool that it contained, but 
unravelled it, there was evi 

" Done, curse you ! ' ' yelle 
of delight at sight of his i 
white wig had fallen off in 1 
wisps of hair fell over her ev 
lost the jewels; your precic 
shine no more!" She turne 
have not worked for six moi 
to you direntlv w ■"•*" ¥ 


Cleek stood stock still, his lips twitching. He was 
evidently working under some strong emotion, for 
his face was pale and his eyes brilliant. 

Came suddenly a buzz of voices outside in the 
corridor, and in another minute Ailsa Lome, pale 
and panic-stricken, fairly ran into the room. 

"Forgive me," she said brokenly. "You are 
Lady Brasker. * I know; forgive my intrusion like 
this, but oh! it is so important." She tinned to 
Cleek. "It is Dollops, dear Dollops. He has been 
stolen in the night, carried away after you had gone, 
and the caravan was raided. They've got him, the 
Apaches have got him, for I found this scrap of paper 
crumpled upon the floor!" She drew from her 
handbag a tiny, crumpled piece of paper, and Cleek 
seized upon it instantly. It read, in a scrawling, 
unformed caligraphy: 

"Blooming Apachds . . . Miss Ailsa save 
him. . . . Dollops." 

A low chuckle broke from Marise, and Cleek 
switched round suddenly and surveyed her. 

"You know where he is?" he rapped out sharply, 
seizing her by the shoulder and shaking her as a 
terrier shakes a rat. "Well, you'll tell m#, or III 
know the reason why. In five minutes," he saM 

"He's at the Hollies," she snarled furiously, fairly 
quivering with hate. "But they'll kill him, Cracks- 
man, immediately they set eyes upon you. There is 

"Be still." Cleek's ban 
"I'll get I he boy back, come 
I take it that The Hollies is 
the left-hand side as you ei 
Ah, thanks. What's that, 
want any help, thanks. I'll 

He snatched up the whitt 
head, then he turned to Ails 

"I want that skirt and b 
to the recumbent figure, "i 
rig-out. Give me five min 
surprise you." 

He darted across the ro 
screen from against the wj 
point he was able to reach 
ments. A few minutes pas 
gave a little gasp of surprise, 
who was accustomed to the 
uttered a sigh of genuine ; 


command in it. "And you, Mr. Narkom, come on 
to The Hollies in half an hour. With God's help 
I mean to rescue that boy, and perhaps complete my 

Ten minutes later he stood on the steps outside the 
door of The Hollies, and timidly rang the bell. 

The door was opened gingerly by a villainous- 
looking individual, with the face of a cut-throat and 
a three days' growth of beard to add to it. He peered 
suspiciously into Cleek's face. 

"The password!" he said in a low voice. 

Cleek shrugged his shoulders. 

"Dost thou refuse entrance to Marise, fool?" 
he said, in Madame Marise's voice and with Madame 
Marise's identical manner. 

"But yes, if the password comes not. Give it, 
and you shall enter." 

For answer Cleek sprang with the swiftness of a 
tiger and wound his fingers about the man's throat. 

"God!" he whispered, between shut teeth, "I 
know you, Merode; I know you. Fve not forgotten 
those old days when you and your brother Gaston 
fought me for supremacy. Dog that you are, I'm 
going to kill you where you stand, if you don't tell 
me where you have hidden the boy. Know me, 
eh?" as the man's eyes went wide with Unified 
recognition. "Yes, it's the Cracksman, it's Cl*ck, 
and he means what he says, curse yout 

or 111 throttle the life out of you. Where is the 



"I'll see you in blazes first!" Merode spluttered in 
a broken thread of a voice, and as he spoke he fell 
back against a chair and sent it spinning like a top 
down the passage. 

Instantly there was pandemonium. 

A door leading from the basement was flung 
noisily open, crashing heavily against the wall; then 
there came a clatter of rushing feet, and a hoarse- 
throated voice shrieked out of the stillness: "Come 
on, come on; there's something wrong!" And Cleek 
had just time to twist himself free of the panting, 
gasping thing that had seized him, and to dodge 
behind the shadow of a long, hanging portiere that 
flanked the hallway, before a dozen Apaches came 
tumbling noisily into the hall. 

"Merode!" shouted one, as he saw the gasping 
figure. "Merode! Name of a devil, what is it?" 

"The Cracksman!" gave back Merode brokenly; 
"he is somewhere within! Find him, shoot him, 
kill him if you can, but bring him back to me so that 
I may stamp upon him with my heel!" 

"The Cracksman!" They screamed the words 
in a frenzy of anger. "Where is he? Where? 

But almost before the words were uttered a fist 
like a hammer shot out from behind the curtain, 
caught the leader of the gang, who stood near it, 
full in the face, and sent him crashing down like a 
ninepin, as something like a flash of moving colour 
swept madly past him. 


"Here!" shouted back Cleek over his shoulder, as 
he raced past them, doubling and twisting in his 
tracks like a fox in front of the hounds. On he went, 
on, on, on, out through the heavy door, which cut off 
the basement from the rest of the house, and banged 
it sharply behind him. A click of the bolt told them 
that it was locked. 

Then, hampered by the skirts, he fled down the 
steps, writhed his features once more into a semblance 
of Madame Marise's, and passed into a room which 
must have been, when the house was occupied, the 
servants' parlour. 

Obviously no sound of the scuffle had reached here, 
for there was only one figure at the table, and that 
was Margot; while in one corner by the window, 
trussed up as tightly as a caught fowl, his black eyes 
despairing and his face pale with anger, lay Dollops, 
staring up at the ceiling. 

Margot raised her head and looked at the seeming 
Madame Marise with a little impatient sigh. "Soul 
of me, but you have been a long time coming, Mar- 
ise!" she said in the sharp-edged voice of impatience. 
"Any more pretty things hidden in the wool bag, 
eh? Ah, but that was a splendid idea of thine. 
Nom du diable ! a splendid idea!" She laughed 
shrilly, tossing a great scarlet bale of wool up in 
her fingers and catching it again. "The rest of us 
are somewhere in the house; it matters not. But 
thou dost deserve a drink for thy pains. Here, 
take this." She slopped out a tiny glass of greenish 

that lay near to Dollops ; 
with it. 

Then he bent down and 
face. "If they should as! 
he in a low, tense voice, " 
man, and they will under; 
lops? Yes, coming, my la 

He whipped out his knifr 
where Dollops lay, and cut 

The boy rose and stretel 
a flash of lightning for s 
he led the way through a 
coal cellar, but from abov 
patch of blue sky through e 

Passing the table, Cleek 
red wool and ran his fing 
swering hardness in the cen 
lips. He rushed after Doll 
For even as the door close 

o+n~t J" *I " 

"Drink it up, mother, and it will make thy dreams rosy. 
Eh, what is that? 'Jth-ht'" 


"They've found her," whispered Dollops, as they 
climbed up and wormed their way through the man- 
hole, "and they're howling like mad things. Quick, 
sir ! quick ! " 

For the door had been suddenly crashed in with a 
blow that sent the echoes chasing each other over 
the great house, and Merode appeared in the rudely 
made doorway. He rushed up after Cleek had 
wormed his way through the narrow hole. As his 
head appeared over the top, Mr. Narkom laid a 
hand upon his shoulder and pulled him through the 
aperture, and a veritable posse of police surrounded 

"Played, my lads, played !" cried Cleek's voice 
exultingly. Instantly, like the cry of a shot bird, 
Merode's voice went up in warning to those others 
below, even as the crowd above closed round him and 
Mr. Narkom snapped the bracelets on his wrists. 

"Now then, boys, surround the house and we'll 
have the lot of them caught like rats in a trap! 
Quick, or they'll get away from you yet. Sharp, 
there ! Don't hesitate ! Don't wait ! " shouted Cleek. 

They needed no second bidding. Like a pack of 
hungry wolves they surged up through the front 
door and swarmed over the house. 

Ten minutes later they were in the presence of an 
anxious little group who had been waiting for them. 

Ailsa ran forward with outstretched hands, her eyes 
were shining, her face was transfigured. 

"You succeeded! Thank God, you succeeded!' 9 

'<*•* Utile ,aunt,e 
™ took tie ci,,;, 
°»W«tchedh M d., 
-■Sfo' Blood," 
Blood/ and yet ai^ 

f™ °P "to some , 
f»tetoy ou . c ; 
•^fMPrf it lovingly 


And so lie left them and passed on and out, with 
Ailsa by his side; Dollops, faithful, adoring Dollops, 
behind; and his best friend, Mr. Narkom, in front — 
a bodyguard a king might envy. 

And he smiled as he passed down the wide staircase. 


IN THE silence that is born of complete under- 
standing, they passed down the drive, hedged « 
both sides with flowering shrubs and great, 
swaying branches of trees. So intent, in fact, upon ] 
their own happiness were they, that for once deck's ' 
ears were not sharpened to the sounds that lay abort * 
him. He was with Ailsa and that was enough. 

Even Air. Narkom, following at some diatom* 
with Dollops, rested content in the knowledge of an 
excellent capture. 

It was Ailsa who saw, and, seeing, pointed into a 
clump of thick shrubs, from which appeared the head 
of a woman, with the late sunlight picking out, like 
silver, the thing that was in her hand. 

"Oh, my dear, my dear!' 9 she cried out suddenly, 
and flung herself before Cleek, with a little sob of 
anguish and terror. He turned instantly, but it was 
too late. 

The little shining thing spat forth a jet of fire; came 
the sound of a shot, the zip lot a, bullet singing in the 
still air, and as the word "Margot ! " left his lips, Ailsa 
fell forward at his feet with a whispering breath, and 
lay very, very still. 

For a moment he made no move, uttered no sound, 



simply stood there, unable to realize the appalling, 
awful thing that had happened. Then, with a 
choked-up cry of unutterable horror, he fell to his 
knees beside her. 

"Ailsa! OmyGod,,4tka/" 

He caught her in his arms, rocking her to and fro 
in a sort of mute anguish, like a mother whose child 
has passed into the silence of the great Beyond. The 
sweat stood out upon his forehead in great beads, 
his face was twisted and dreadful to look upon. 

Mr. Narkom fairly bounded forward. 

44 Miss Lome! My God! And she saved you, 
Cleek! Not dead? Not dead?" 

"God knows," gave back Cleek in a wrung, tense 
voice, as he bent over the still figure and placed a 
shaking hand upon her heart. "No, not dead. But 
failing fast. A carriage, Mr. Narkom, and a doctor, 
for the love of heaven! O Ailsa, my dear, my dear! 
To think that this should be the end of our happiness, 
the finish of our dreams! And I would have given 
my soul to save you ! " 

He looked up suddenly at the sound of sobbing, 
and looking, saw Dollops with one arm thrown up 
across his eyes and his shoulders heaving, crying as 
though his very heart would break. 

The boy was beside him in an instant, his lips 
pressed against the dark cloth of Cleek's sleeve. 

"If it might have been me, guv'nor; if only it 
might have been me!" he sobbed out in a heart- 
wrung, desolate voice. "To *ave given my life for 

^,.^.>. WU.-U 10 sraiie, 
"a brace of shakes" a di 
the spot by the sound 
Ailsa's still form lying i 
upon his knees beside it, 

Cleek watched his I 
haunted eyes. It was gi 

Finally, his tense lips : 
words, and the shadow ol 

"Any hope?" 

The doctor hesitated, 
the heart; two inches fa 
answered "No" to that c 
had not settled it beforeh 
ing freely, staining the 
forming an ugly, sticky 
ground. Then. he put ba 

" Perhaps, but $he loss 


his fingers. " We shall staunch it ! Good God, doc- 
tor, if you knew what she meant to me! Ailsa, my 
dear, my life! Don't go from me! Don't drag me 
back again into the mire of despair from which you 
saved me. Ailsa — Ailsa ! My God ! My God ! " 

It was a heart cry, wrung from the depths of his 
tortured soul. Even the doctor's eyes filled. Rarely 
had he come upon such love as this, and the sight of it 
sent him silent, wondering. 

Then he shut his lips together, and got slowly 
to his feet. There was a new, resolution in his ac- 

"Brandy!" he snapped out quickly. Geek ten- 
dered his flask. He slopped a spoonful of it be- 
tween her blue lips. "That's right. Hold back the 
blood. Hello! there, boy, sprint off to the hospital 
at the bottom of this road and fetch a stretcher and a 
couple of nurses. Say it's Doctor Harmon, and tell 
them to come at once. Gad! but I believe she's 
coining round!" 

And for a moment it seemed true, that she was 
"coming round," for a slight breath stirred her limp 
body, like a whisper, so faint it was, and was gone. 
But it had been a breath nevertheless. 

Cleek's face whitened with the strain of it. 

"Let her live, doctor, and you shall have every- 
thing I possess ! Only Jet hpr live ! " 

"I'll do all I can, man. For the love of humanity, 
nothing else. Hello! who's this? Stretcher com- 

in them, and blew ] 

"Yes, but alight 

'"Hen God will |„ 

indent quietly, with 

Come. They are o 

her away, dear pal, at 

if I could have saved j 

"I know, I know'" 

voice. "You, Don™, 

•led for her. But it, 

<k«r friend, as far a> t 

I»rt; I am such a pooi 

Ore old Cleek, eh? T< 

JAethat! And that 

"•■got! The devil sh, 


their wake. Lady Brasker and the gallant Captain 
first among them. It was Cleek's hour of torture, 
and he would see that he bore it alone. Only Dol- 
lops, returning when he found the stretcher had al- 
ready been summoned and had gone; only Dollops 
might see his master's grief, and he because he held so 
great a portion of his master's heart. 

The " Tears of Blood ! " Cleek had triumphed too 
soon. The fateful jewels had exacted their due once 
more, and it was Ailsa who had paid the price ! 

They reached the hospital at last, and were shown 
into a little, bare waiting-room, while the doctors and 
the nurses and the stretcher bearers, with their pre- 
cious burden, passed on to a private ward, where the 
case might be looked into and thoroughly examined. 

Mr. Narkom sat by Cleek, very close, very still, his 
hand upon Cleek's arm, his face pain-wrought, full 
of silent sympathy, while Dollops, faithful henchman 
that he was, dropped to the ground at his master's 
feet, and crouched there, a little huddled heap of 
clothing, with wide eyes, tear-wet still, and his great 
love for the man shining upon his thin, cockney 

And between them, like a graven image, making no 
move, uttering no sound, sat Cleek himself, watching, 
with tight-pressed lips and tortured eyes, how the 
little clock upon the mantelshelf ticked off the min- 
utes, until such time as they could tell him if life had 
conquered in the great battle which was being fought 
out there in the peaceful ward. 

*"<•' nerv< 

thumped a cradles, 

AiLsa! Ailsa!" fl 

raU Kritwashissoult 

°V' "■<=<&■> distal 


l*e Superinteaden 

""".-Ik sent his pafe 

•orttfmutesym patlr 

lo P» ""Bowed a sob " 

,. J ™J<ut then, when 

»d Docto, Har ffl „nc. 
J-«* got to his feet 

"°™>celeft. Hishan, 

;"« docto, bowed hi, 

Ies > he said quietl' 

farte to nuUceup forth™ 


Like a shot Dollops was upon his feet, his hand 
clasping Cleek's arm, his face pale, exultant. 

"Let me, guv'nor, for Gawd's syke let me give it to 
'er!" he said in a low, excited voice. "It's little 
enough to do for yer, sir, after all wot yer've done 
fer me! But it's summink. An' that's all I arsk. 
I'm — I'm a full-blooded cove, guv'nor, and strong 
as a young colt. And I'd be so glad, I would, I 
would. Yer'U let me, won't yer, sir? Please /" 

Cleek looked at him a moment and swallowed 
something in the back of his throat. The blessed 
young beggar! Why, the boy would willingly give 
his life if need be, that he knew. But there should 
be none who could make this sacrifice but himself. 

He started to speak, but Mr. Narkom silenced him, 
his podgy face working with difficult emotion. 

"Cleek, dear chap, dear friend," he said in the short 
sharp sentences of a man's heart-words, "it should be 
for me your oldest friend to offer, boy. And after all 
you've done for me. Doctor, I will come at once, if 
you will show me the way. But to be able to help 
you, Cleek — really " 

His voice trailed off into silence, and he let the 
rest of the sentence go by default, merely stood there, 
shifting from one foot to the other like an eager 
schoolboy, very red about the face, very willing, his 
eyes filled with unshamed tears. 

For a moment Cleek made no answer, simply stood 
looking at these two — his friends, his pals — who 
were willing to make the sacrifice for him, willing to 

hand t 

„ ' l ° racli. 
Mr. JVarlir 

We "^ *« 
™" »» lo be, ci«Tl 


And what greater happiness, after all, than that? 

So it was with head erect, and heart singing, and 
eyes alight that he passed on to the spot where the 
one dear woman lay, and made ready for the sacri- 


IT WAS September — beautiful, golden, amber- 
hued September — with roqes ablow, blossom- 
sweet, heavy with perfume, a very paradise for 
the nature-lover and the artist! 

And in a sense Cleek was both. To-day Ailsa had 
left the hospital for good and all, said good-bye to 
the white-capped nurses who had grown to love her 
in the time she was with them, bade adieu to Doctor 
Harmon and his confreres, and was returning once 
more to the cottage by the river and the quiet peace of 
the pleasant Thames Valley. 

A fortnight there for rest, and then — after that — 
Cleek's thoughts dared not go further. Sufficient for 
the moment was the happiness thereof; he would not 
probe into the joy of the future, there was time 
enough for that. To-day was enough for his soul's 
needs. For Ailsa was well, Ailsa had recovered, and 
— she owed her life to him. It was enough to send 
any ordinary man daft with happiness. 

He passed from one rose bush to the other, run- 
ning his fingers over the petals, with a sort of caress- 
ing mpvement that was always his when his flowers 
were the thing in mind at the moment. Already 
Ailsa's lap was filled with the beauty of them. He 



snipped off a perfect "Lyons" and tossed it lightly 
upon the tumbled heap of colour that she already 

"Perfect, eh, Ailsa mine?" he said in his deep, 
full voice, with a little laugh of pure happiness under- 
lying it. "And to be back again among them like 
this! Gad! but the world's a glorious place to-day, 
made perfect by the sunlight of one dear woman's 
smile. And to have you here, well and strong and 
bonny again." 

He went to her and stood a moment looking down 
at her with his heart in his reverent eyes. 

She gave vent to a happy laugh, and reached up her 
arms to him, twining them about his neck as he knelt, 
and pillowing her fair head against his breast. 

"Oh, but it is heaven, this, king of my heart!" 
she said softly, smoothing his back hair with her 
soft fingers. "And the future, dear, the future that 
is ahead of us." 

"Paradise indeed!" 

Their lips met and held; all heaven was in the kiss. 
Then, like a deriding Nemesis, they heard Dollop's 
voice calling out across the garden, and sprang apart 
like guilty conspirators caught in the act. 

Dollops, faithful henchman, darted conveniently 
behind a rose bush and waited his time. Then he 
issued forth seeing nothing but the buds and the 
birds and the trees, and waved a paper in his hand 
until such time as Cleek would come down sufficiently 
enough to earth to look at it. 

Dollops giggled again 
denly serious. 

"About the best lega 
me, guv'nor," he eji 
what the pyper says, s 
join me in a lark down i 
the drinks on me! It's 
in a cat's age. Maure 
clared a republic, wiv 
Hirma as 'ead ofjthe Cabi 
little tit-bit, eh? No mt 
chatterin' monkeys now 
'ole lot of 'em 'as got a pr 
in order, I 'opes, and let 
the peace alone!" 

He suddenly stopped s; 
face, and sucked in his 
hissing sound. For then 


ment of sadness in it, even though the relief was 

Then his hand went out and touched Cleek's arm, 
and his voice, shaken, afraid, broke in upon the 
silence that had fallen about them. 

"Yer don't care that much, do yer, guv'nor? 
Gawd's trufe, if yer do, I'll step across the ocean and 
see what I can do myself fer annuwer blessed king 
ter put in yer place. But them sorts is better wiv a 
republic, yer know, sir, they is truly." 

"Yes, Dollops, 'them sorts is better wiv a repub- 
lic,' as you say," gave back Cleek quietly in a slow, 
dreamy voice. "But, my country! My country! 
To think you should have come to this — and all 
because of me ! Poor Irma ! Poor, faithful friend of 
a country's throne, this must indeed be your most 
bitter hour. And so the dream is ended. Come, 
Dollops, shake hands. From this day forward, I am 
a private country gentleman, with no unpleasant 
royal relations. That is one comfort, anyway. 
Ailsa!" He turned upon his heel and went toward 
her, a smile upon his lips, a lingering regret in his 
eyes. Perhaps he had dreamed, who knows, that 
some day Maurevania might call to him, and, calling, 
take him back, with Ailsa as his Queen, to the land 
that had held his heart ever since that day, so many 
years ago, when he had been driven out of it. 

And now the dream was ended, over. He reached 
out his hands to her, and drew a deep, heart-wrung 

__ rf „. w lul- litru, ana 

call up Mr. Narkoui, ai 
He will be relieved, poi 
responsibilities heavily, 
among them! Dollops, 
and say I wish to spet 
That's right; nip off, nc 
Ailsa!" He reached out 
came to him, head up, e; 
him yhinin g j n her fair, . 
I have no throne to offer, n 
you may find in my heart. 
Maurerania's, that I can 
be content, dear?" 

For answer she looked 
arms about his neck, kissii 

" Yon have given me th 
for you have given me yoi 

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After House, The. By Mary Roberts Rinehart. 

Alisa Paige. By Robert W. Chambers. 

Alton of Somasco. By Harold Bindloss. 

A Man's Man. By Ian Hay. 

Amateur Gentleman, The. By Jeffery Farnol. 

Andrew The Glad. By Maria Thompson Daviess. 

Ann Boyd. By Will N. Harben. 

Anna the Adventuress. By £. Phillips Oppeaheim. 

Another Man's Shoes. By Victor Bridges. 

Ariadne of Allan Water. By Sidney McCall. 

Armchair at the Inn, The. By F. Hopkinson Smith. 

Around Old Chester. By Margaret Deland. 

Athalie. By Robert W. Chambers. 

At the Mercy of Tiberius. By Augusta Evans Wilson* 

Auction Block, The. By Rex Beach. 

Aunt Jane. By Jeanette Lee. 

Aunt Jane of Kentucky. By Eliza C. HalL 

Awakening of Helena Richie. By Margaret Deland. 

Bambi. By Marjorie Benton Cooke. 

Bandbox, The. By Louis Joseph Vance. 

Barbara of the Snows. By Harry Irving Green. 

Bar 20. By Clarence E. Mulford. 

Bar 20 Days. By Clarence E. Mulford. 

Barrier, The. By Rex Beach. 

Beasts of Tarzan, The. By Edgar Rice Burroughs. 

Beechy. By Bettina Von Hut ten, 

Bella Donna. By Robert Hichens. 

Beloved Vagabond, The. By Wm. J. Locke. 

Beltane the Smith. By Jeffery Farnol. 

Ben Blair. By Will Lillibridge. 

Betrayal, The. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 

Better Man, The. By Cyrus Townsend Brady. 

Beulah. (111. Ed.) By Augusta J. Evans. 

Beyond the Frontier. By Randall Parrish. 

Black Is White. By George Barr McCutchton. 

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Blind Mail's Eyes, The. By Wm. MacHarg & Edwin Balmer. 

Bob Hampton of Placer. By Randall Fairish. 

Bob, Son of Battle. By Alfred Ollivant 

Britton of the Seventh. By Cyrus Town send Brady. 

Broad Highway, The. By Jeffery FarnoL 

Bronze Bell, The. By Louis Joseph Vance. 

Bronze Eagle, The. By Baroness Orczy. 

Buck Peters, Ranchman. By Clarence E. Mulford. 

Business of Life, The. By Robert W. Chambers. 

By Right of Purchase. By Harold Bindloss. 

Cabbages and Kings. By O. Henry. 

Calling of Dan Matthews, The. By Harold Bell Wright 

Cape Cod Stories. By Joseph C. Lincoln. 

Cap'n Dan's Daughter. By Joseph C Lincoln. 

Cap'n Eri. By Joseph C. Lincoln. 

Cap'n Warren's Wards. By Joseph C. Lincoln. 

Cardigan. By Robert W. Chambers. 

Carpet From Bagdad, The. By Harold MacGrath. 

Cease Firing. By Mary Johnson. 

Chain of Evidence, A. By Carolyn Wells. 

Chief Legatee, The. By Anna Katharine Green. 

Cleek of Scotland Yard. By T. W. Hanshew. 

Clipped Wings. By Rupert Hughes. 

Coast of Adventure, The. By Harold Bindloss. 

Colonial Free Lance, A. By Chauncey C Hotchkisa. 

Coming of Cassidy, The By Clarence E. Mulford. 

Coming of the Law, The. By Chas. A. Seltzer. 

Conquest of Canaan, The. By Booth Tarkington. 

Conspirators, The. By Robt. W. Chambers. 

Counsel for the Defense. By Leroy Scott 

Court of Inquiry, A. By Grace S. Richmond. 

Crime Doctor, The. By E. W. Hornung 

Crimson Gardenia, The, and Other Tales of Adventure. By 

Rex Beach. 
Cross Currents. By Eleanor H. Porter. 
Cry in the Wilderness, A. By Mary E. Waller. 
Cynthia of the Minute. By Louis Jos. Vance. 

Dark Hollow, The. By Anna Katharine Green, 
Pave'a Daughter. By Patience Berier Cole. 

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Day of Days, The. By Louis Joseph Vance. 
Day of the Dog, The. By George Barr McCutcheon. 
Depot Master, The. By Joseph C. Lincoln. 
Desired Woman, The. By Will N. Harben. 
Destroying Angel, The. By Louis Joseph Vance. 
Dixie Hart. By Will N. Harben. 
Double Traitor, The. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 
Drusilla With a Million. By Elizabeth Cooper. 

Eagle of the Empire, The. By Cyrus Townsend Brady. 

El Dorado. By Baroness Orczy. 

Elusive Isabel. By Jacques Futrelle. 

Empty Pockets. By Rupert Hughes. 

Enchanted Hat, The. By Harold MacGrath. 

Eye of Dread, The. By Payne Erskine. 

Eyes of the World, The. By Harold Bell Wright. 

Felix O'Day. By F. Hopkinson Smith. 

50-40 or Fight By Emerson Hough. 

Fighting Chance, The. By Robert W. Chambers. 

Financier, The. By Theodore Dreiser. 

Flamsted Quarries. By Mary E. Waller. 

Flying Mercury, The. By Eleanor M. Ingram. 

For a Maiden Brave. By Chauncey C Hotchldss. 

Four Million, The. By O. Henry. 

Four Pool's Mystery, The. By Jean Webster. 

Fruitful Vine, The. By Robert Hichens. 

Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford. By George Randolph Chester. 

Gilbert Neal. By Will N. Harben. 

Girl From His Town, The. By Marie Van Vorst 

Girl of the Blue Ridge, A. By Payne Erskine. 

Girl Who Lived in the Woods, The. By Marjorie Benton 

Girl Who Won, The. By Beth Ellis. 
Glory of Clementina, The. By Wm J. Locke. 
Glory of the Conquered, The. By Susan Glaspell. 
God's Country and the Woman. By James Oliver Curwood> 
God's Good Man. By Marie CorellL 
Going Some. By Rex Beach. 
Gold Bag, The, By Carolyn Wells. 

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Golden Slipper, The. By Anna Katharine Green. 

Golden Web, The. By Anthony Partridge. 

Gordon Craig. By Randall Parrish. 

Greater Lore Hath No Man. By Frank L. Packard. 

Greyfriars Bobby. By Eleanor Atkinson. 

Gnests of Hercules, The. By C. N. & A. M. Williamson. 

Halcyone. By Elinor Glyn. 

Happy Island (Sequel to Uncle William). By Jeannette Lee. 

Havoc By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 

Heart of Philura, The. By Florence Kingsley. 

Heart of the Desert, The. By Hon ore Willsie. 

Heart of the Hills, The. By John Fox, Jr. 

Heart of the Sunset By Rex Beach. 

Heart of Thunder Mountain, The. By Elfrid A. Bingham. 

Heather-Moon, The. By C. N. and A. M. Williamson . 

Her Weight in Gold. By Geo. B. McCutcheon. 

Hidden Children, The. By Robert W. Chambers. 

Hoosier Volunteer, The. By Kate and Virgil D. Boyles. 

Hopalong Cassidy. By Clarence E. Mulford. 

How Leslie Loved. By Anne Warner. 

Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker. By S. Weir Mitchell, M.D. 

Husbands of Edith, The. By George Barr McCutcheon. 

I Conquered. By Harold Titus. 

Illustrious Prince, The. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 

Idols. By William J. Locke. 

Indifference of Juliet, The. By Grace S. Richmond. 

Inez. (111. Ed.) By Augusta J. Evans. 

Infelice. By Augusta Evans Wilson. 

In Her Own Right. By John Reed Scott 

Initials Only. By Anna Katharine Green. 

In Another Girl's Shoes. By Berta Ruck. 

Inner Law, The. By Will N. Harben. 

Innocent By Marie Corelli. 

Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu, The. By Sax Rohmer. 

In the Brooding Wild. By Ridgwell Cullum. 

Intrigues, The. By Harold Bindloss. 

Iron Trail, The. By Rex Beach. 

Iron Woman, The. By Margaret Deland. 

Ishmael (111.) By Mrs. SouthworOu 

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Island of. Regeneration, The. By Cyrus Town send Brady. 
Island of Surprise, The. By Cyrus Townsend Brady. 

Japonette. By Robert W. Chambers, 
ean of the Lazy A. By B. M. Bower. 
Jeanne of the Marshes. By £. Phillips Oppenheim. 
Jennie Gerhardt By Theodore Dreiser. 
Joyful Heatherby. By Payne Erskine. 

Jade the Obscure. By Thomas Hardy. 
udgment House, The. By Gilbert Parker. 

Keeper of the Door, The. By Ethel M. DelL 

Keith of the Border. By Randall Parrish. 

Kent Knowles: Quahaug. By Joseph C. Lincoln, 

King Spruce. By Holman Day. 

Kingdom of Earth, The. By Anthony Partridge. 

Knave of Diamonds, The. By Ethel M. Dell. 

Lady and the Pirate, The. By Emerson Hough. 

Lady Merton, Colonist. By Mrs. Humphrey Ward. 

Landloper, The. By Holman Day. 

Land of Long Ago, The. By Eliza Calvert HalL 

Last Try, The. By John Reed Scott. 

Last Shot, The. By Frederick N. Palmer. 

Last Trail, The. By Zane Grey. 

Laughing Cavalier, The. By Baroness Orczy. 

Law Breakers, The. By Ridgwell Cullum. 

Lighted Way, The. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 

Lighting Conductor Discovers America, The. By C. N. & 

A. N. Williamson. 
Lin McLean. By Owen Wister. 

Little Brown Jug at Kildare, The. By Meredith Nicholson. 
Lone Wolf, The. By Louis Joseph Vance. 
Long Roll, The. By Mary Johnson. 
Lonesome Land. By B. M. Bower. 
Lord Loveland Discovers America. By C N. and A. M. 

Lost Ambassador. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 
Lost Prince, The. By Frances Hodgson Burnett. 
Lost Road, The. By Richard Harding Davis. 
Love Under Fire. By Randall Parrish. 

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Macaria. (111. Ed.) By Augusta J. Evans. 

Maids of Paradise, The. By Robert W. Chambers. 

Maid of the Forest, The. By Randall Parrish. 

Maid of the Whispering Hills, The. By Vingie £. Roe. 

Making of Bobby Burnit, The. By Randolph Cheater. 

Making Money. By Owen Johnson. 

Mam' Linda. By Will N. Harben. 

Man Outside, The. By Wyndham Martyn. 

Man Trail, The. By Henry Oyen. i 

Marriage. By H. G. Wells. 

Marriage of Theodora, The. By Mollie Elliott SeswelL 

Mary Moreland. By Marie Van Vorat 

Master Mummer, The. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 

Max. By Katherine Cecil Thurston. 

Maxwell Mystery, The. By Caroline Wells. 

Mediator, The. By Roy Norton. 

Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. By A. Conan Doyle. 

Mischief Maker, The. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 

Miss Gibbie Gault. By Kate Langley Bosher. 

Miss Philura's Wedding Gown. By Florence Morse Kingiley. 

Molly McDonald. By Randall Parrish. 

Money Master, The. By Gilbert Parker. 

Money Moon. The. By Jeffery Farnol. 

Motor Maid, The. By C. N and A. M. Williamson. 

Moth, The. By William Dana Orcutt 

Mountain Girl, The. By Payne Erskine. 

Mr. Bingle. By George Barr McCutcheon. 

Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 

Mr. Pratt. By Joseph C. Lincoln. 

Mr. Pratt's Patients. By Joseph C Lincoln. 

Mrs. Balfame. By Gertrude Atherton. 

Mrs. Red Pepper. By Grace S. Richmond. 

My Demon Motor Boat By George Fitch. 

My Friend the Chauffeur. By C. N. and A. M. Williamson. 

My Lady Caprice. By Jeffery Farnol. 

My Lady of Doubt By Randall Parrish. 

My Lady of the North, By Randall Parrish. 

My Lady of the South. By Randall Parrish. 

Ne'er-Do- Well, The. By Rex Beach. 
Net, The. By Rex Beach. 

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New Clarion, By Will N. Harben. 
Night Riders, The. By Ridgwell Cullum. 
Night Watches. By W. W. Jacobs. 
Nobody. By Louis Joseph Vance. 

Once Upon a Time. By Richard Harding Davis. 
One Braver Thing. By Richard Dehan. 
One Way Trail, The. By Ridgwell Cullum. 
Otherwise Phyllis. By Meredith Nicholson. 

Pardners. By Rex Beach. 

Parrott & Co. By Harold MacGrath. 

Partners of the Tide. By Joseph C Lincoln. 

Passionate Friends, The. By H. G. Wells. 

Patrol of the Sun Dance Trail, The. By Ralph Connor. 

Paul Anthony, Christian. By Hiram W. Hayes. 

Perch of the DeviL By Gertrude Atherton. 

Peter Ruff. By E. Phillips Oppenheim. 

People's Man, A. By £. Phillips Oppenheim. 

Phillip Steele. By James Oliver Curwood. 

Pidgin Island. By Harold MacGrath. 

Place of Honeymoon, The. By Harold MacGrath. 

Plunderer, The. By Roy Norton. 

Pole Baker. By Will N. Harben. 

Pool of Flame, The. By Louis Joseph Vance. 

Port of Adventure, The. By C. N. and A. M. Williamson. 

Postmaster, The. By Joseph C Lincoln. 

Power and the Glory, The. By Grace McGowan Cooke. 

Prairie Wife, The. By Arthur Stringer. 

Price of Love, The. By Arnold Bennett 

Price of the Prairie, The. By Margaret Hill McCarter. 

Prince of Sinners. By A. £. Phillips Oppenheim. 

Princes Passes, The. By C. N. and A. M. Williamson. 

Princess Virginia, The. By C. N. and A. N. Williamson. 

Promise, The. By J. B. Hendryx. 

Purple Parasol, The. By Geo. B. McCutcheon. 

Ranch at the Wolverine, The. By B. M. Bower. 
Ranching for Sylvia. By Harold Bindloss. 
Real Man, The. By Francis Lynde. 
Reason Why, The. By Elinor Glyn. 

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Red Cross Girl, The. By. Richard Harding Davis. 

Red Mist, The. By Randall Parrish. 

Redemption of Kenneth Gait, The. By Will N. Harben. 

Red Lane, The. By Holman Day. 

Red Mouse. The. By Wm. Hamilton Osborne. 

Red Pepper Burns. By Grace S. Richmond. 

Rejuvenation of Aunt Mary, The. By Anne Warner. 

Return of Tarran, The. By Edgar Rice Burroughs. 

Riddle of Night, The. By Thomas W. Hanshew. 

Rim of the Desert, The. By Ada Woodruff Anderson. 

Rise of Roscoe Paine, The. By J. C Lincoln. 

Road to Providence, The. By Maria Thompson Daviess. 

Robinetta. By Kate Douglas Wiggin. 

Rocks of Valpre, The. By Ethel M. Dell. 

Rogue by Compulsion, A. By Victor Bridges. 

Rose in the Ring, The. By George Barr McCutcheon. 

Rose of the World. By Agnes and Egerton Castle. 

Rose of Old Harpeth, The. By Maria Thompson Daviess. 

Round the Corner in Gay Street. By Grace S. Richmond. 

Routledge Rides Alone. By Will L. Comfort. 

St. Elmo. (111. Ed.) By Augusta J. Evans. 

Salamander, The. By Owen Johnson. 

Scientific Sprague. By Francis Lynde. 

Second Violin, The. By Grace S. Richmond. 

Secret of the Reef, The. By Harold Bindloss. 

Secret History. By C. N. & A. M. Williamson. 

Self-Raised. (111.) By Mrs. Southworth. 

Septimus. By William J. Locke. 

Set in Silver. By C. N. and A. M. Williamson. 

Seven Darlings, The. By Gouverneur Morris. 

Shea of the Irish Brigade. By Randall Parrish. 

Shepherd of the Hills, The. By Harold Bell Wright 

Sheriff of Dyke Hole, The. By Ridgwell Cullum. 

Sign at Six, The. By Stewart Edw. White. 

Silver Horde, The. By Rex Beach. 

Simon the Jester. By William J. Locke. 

Siren of the Snows, A. By Stanley Shaw. 

Sir Richard Calmady. By Lucas Malet 

Sixty-First Second, The. By Owen Johnson. 

Slim Princess, The, By George Ade. -T^ 




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