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"Then you can conclude that Reynard came here with a definite purpose, and that ethereum july hard fork datethe man who killed him followed him not the other way round - with the equally definite purpose of murder, to prevent whatever he was going to do. Find out why Reynard came to this room, and I should say the murderer would be in the bag."M. Samuel received this advice in a momentary silence, stroking his chin. It was a version of what had occurred which had been present to his own mind, and he saw its probabilities; but he saw also that there were many other possibilities of almost equal plausibility. It was an explanation that might be mere theory, or more probably come from a mind which knew supporting facts which it would not disclose. He was far from sure that he was questioning a guilty man, but he was sure that he could tell him more than he did, and he was resolved both to get at the concealed facts and the motive for their concealment.
"That may be true enough." he answered. "Though it may not be the only explanation of what occurred. But, if it were adopted by us, it would do nothing to remove the suspicion which rests upon you. You might yourself have followed M. Reynard, rather than he you.""And why in heaven's name should I do that? If you will enquire from the English police, you will find that I have no reputation for crawling up hotel stairs to murder people with knives.""Murder is not a habit, even with most murderers, Mr. Kindell. And a motive is not difficult to imagine. M. Reynard might have been about to disclose to Mr. Thurlow such things as it would have been to your disadvantage for him to know. Perhaps the lady with whom you returned to England could throw some light upon this?""I returned to England alone. A lady who was also staying here returned on the same boat. But you can ask her anything that you like, so far as I am concerned. You will waste your time, because she can have nothing to tell you."As Kindell said these last words he had a double doubt. He doubted that they went beyond the truth, for it was possible that a close cross-questioning of a frightened Myra might result in disclosures which would put M. Samuel on the right track, if his own theory were right; and he doubted their wisdom, because it was to his advantage that M. Samuel should be so directed, though he could not openly be the one to do it.
But M. Samuel ignored his reply. "She was a lady you knew," he repeated. "You had been out together. You had been entertained in her rooms. . . . Mr. Kindell, I will be plain with you, and you will hear the advice of a man who is much older than you, and more experienced in such matters as this than you can possibly be. I do not know that you killed M. Reynard. But for the fact that someone certainly did, and that it seems to lie between you and another who is an equal improbability, I should call it a most unlikely supposition. And I am impressed by the fact that you came back promptly to face the charge, which was the act of an innocent man, or of a guilty one who is bolder and shrewder than most are. But if you are innocent, you are placing yourself in a great and needless peril; and if you are guilty you are doing yourself harm rather than good by refusing to be frank with me concerning your relations with the dead man, and other matters which may, or may not, have a bearing upon the crime.""I am sorry. I believe your advice is sincerely given, and I have no doubt it is good. But I can add nothing to what I have said already. I know nothing of the murder, and I am convinced that Mr. Thurlow is equally ignorant. Till you realize that, you will waste your own time, and allow the murderer more to cover his traces, or get away.""Why should he have minded that? But, all the same, I'd give something to know. It's as heavy as though it were solid bricks." This was an exaggeration, but it increased the ambassador's rising interest in the nature of its contents. He said: "I'll have a look at it before it goes out again." Within the next minute, a manservant, carrying it in by one hand, but with an obvious consciousness of its weight, laid it before him.
Mr. Thurlow tested it for himself. He looked at it with an active curiosity which brought an exclamation of protest from Irene, "You're not going to open it, are you?""You think I've no right to do that?""Of course we haven't.""I know more about this matter than you. More, in fact, than I am able to say. But I'm not going to open it, all the same. What I shall do is to invite Kindell to fetch it himself."
Irene still looked troubled, but ceased to protest."I don't mind," she said, uncertainly, "if you do that."
"Williams," the ambassador said, "could you find a suitcase about this size?""Yes, Your Excellency.""And two or three bricks?""Yes, Your Excellency."
Williams retired, and returned with a suitcase of different appearance but similar size, and a large fragment of coping-stone which the ambassador approved. He asked for a piece of blanket in which to wrap it, and finally packed it in a manner which would render it difficult for anyone handling it to discover that the contents of the suitcase differed from that which it was intended to replace."We will send this," he said, "to Professor Blinkwell's address, and see what happens.""It mayn't be his address. I only saw that woman coming away.""We'll have a look at the telephone directory."
The evidence thus obtained disclosed that Professor Blinkwell had a different address. The ambassador rang for a street directory, and gained the further information that Mrs. Collinson occupied the house to which the valise was to be taken."Will may have rooms there, for all we know," Irene suggested still disposed to defend him from others, while reserving him for her own attack.
"A young man doesn't need two sets of rooms.""No. . . . But there may be a simple explanation we haven't guessed."
"Then I shall like to hear what it is. And, till I do, the less you see of him the better I shall be pleased.""I'm not likely to see much of him while he's in a French jail.""No. . . . But you don't even know that."Having said this, Mr. Thurlow closed the conversation with some abruptness, on the plea that he had correspondence with which to deal. He was conscious that his last remark had approached disclosure of the information which he had accepted as confidential. Beyond that, he wished to give consideration to the new facts - if such they were - which he had learned during the day. The French police had satisfied themselves of Kindell's innocence - or, at least, that they had no evidence of his guilt - and had let him go. But that was not to be generally known Why? There must be a reason for that.And their acceptance of his innocence might not go beyond the murder of which he had been explicitly charged. There was suggestion now of criminality of another kind. How did he stand about that? And how would he stand if the method by which he had sent that valise should be disclosed, and that it had been addressed to a place to which Blinkwell's daughter went?The ambassador saw that there was a simple answer to these questions. Everything (as he saw the facts) would depend upon the nature of its contents. He resolved that Kindell should open it in his presence, or, if he should decline, the whole circumstances should be communicated to Scotland Yard.
Feeling that he had the situation in hand, and that there was little remaining probability of such developments as would cause trouble in Washington, which was naturally his major concern he turned his mind to the international affairs with which it was his duty to deal.Chapter 21 An Error Without Excuse
KINDELL RETURNED TO London by air, and on an understanding that he should not be seen in his familiar haunts, nor make contact with his friends. The sleuths of law were hunting on a cold scent which at any moment might become hot. It was important to confuse those whom they sought to catch. Let them think him still in the grasp of the examining magistrate - the one chosen by the police to expiate the worst crime of which policemen know, the murder of one of themselves.Kindell might be of some immediate use, and at any moment a position might develop in which he could be of much more. But it was emphatically understood that he was to lie low.
His action in telephoning Irene cannot therefore be condoned. He did evil, and it was not even a doing of evil that good might come. Or, at least, the good, if any, was to be of a private sort, having no connection with the business he was engaged to do. The consequences, which he was far from foreseeing, cannot therefore be a logical credit to him. Yet, whether for evil or good his action was of momentous bearing on the events that followed.Irene picked up the 'phone in her own room (she had a separate line, intended to ensure the privacy of embassy conversations, rather than hers), and the temper in which she answered was not good, for her wrist-watch, which she was putting on as the bell rang, slipped to the floor, having been insecurely clasped.
"Yes. Who is it?""Is that you, Irene?""Yes. Who's that?""Are you quite alone?"
"Who is that?""I want to know whether you're quite alone."
"And I want to know who you are.""Can't you guess?"
"I don't see why I should. . . . It isn't Will, is it?""You're not being overheard?"
"Considering I'm in my own room, and it's between seven and eight - - ""Will you meet me somewhere for lunch?""It really is Will?""Yes. But I wish you wouldn't keep saying my name."
"What's the mystery?""I'm not supposed to be here. What I asked was, can you meet me for lunch? And not let anyone know?"
"I might, if I knew why. Where shall it be?""You know where we met the Tuesday before you went over to Paris. Say a quarter to one?"
"You mean at - - ""There's no need to say where," he interrupted sharply. "And there's no need for me to come, if you can't - - "