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McAllister and his Double/The Governor-General's Trunk


Contents

I


McALLISTER was in the tank. His puffing and blowing as he dove and tumbled like a contented, rubicund porpoise, reverberated loudly among the marble pillars of the bath at the club. It was all part of a carefully adjusted and as rigorously followed regimen, for McAllister was a thorough believer in exercise (provided it was moderate), and took it regularly, averring that a fellow couldn't expect to eat and drink as much as he naturally wanted to unless he kept in some sort of condition, and if he didn't he would simply get off his peck, that was all. Hence "Chubby" arose regularly at nine-thirty, and wrapping himself in a padded Japanese silk dressing-gown, descended to the tank, where he dove six times and swam around twice, after which he weighed himself and had Tim rub him down. Tim felt a high degree of solicitude for all this procedure, since he was a personal discovery of McAllister's, and owed his present exalted position entirely to the clubman's interest, for the latter had found him at Coney Island earning his daily bread by diving, in the presence of countless multitudes, into a six-foot glass tank, where he seated himself upon the bottom and nonchalantly consumed a banana. McAllister's delight and enthusiasm at this elevating spectacle had been boundless.

"Wish I could do any one thing as well as that feller dives down and eats that banana!" he had confided to his friend Wainwright. "Sometimes I feel as if my life had been wasted!" The upshot of the whole matter was that Tim had been forthwith engaged as rubber and swimming teacher at the club.

McAllister had just taken his fifth plunge, and was floating lazily toward the steps, when Tim appeared at the door leading into the dressing-rooms and announced that a party wanted to speak to him on the 'phone, the Lady somebody, evidently a very cantankerous old person, who was in the devil of a hurry, and wouldn't stand no waitin'.

The clubman turned over, sputtered, touched bottom, and arose dripping to his feet. The "old person" on the wire was clearly his aunt, Lady Lyndhurst, and he knew very much better than to irritate her when she was in one of her tantrums. Still, he couldn't imagine what she wanted with him at that hour of the morning. She'd been placid enough the evening before when he'd left her after the opera. But ever since she had married Lord Lyndhurst for her second husband ten years before she'd been getting more and more dictatorial.

"Tell her I'm in this beastly tank; awful sorry I can't speak with her myself, don'cher know, and find out what she wants. And Tim—handle her gently—it's my aunt."

Tim grinned and winked a comprehending eye. As McAllister hurried into his bath-robe and slippers he wondered more and more why she had rung him up so early. He had intended calling on her after breakfast, any way, but "after breakfast" to McAllister meant in the neighborhood of twelve o'clock, for the meal was always carefully ordered the evening before for half-past ten the next morning, after which came the paper and a long, light Casadora, crop of '97, which McAllister had bought up entire. Something must be up—that was certain. He could imagine her in her wrapper and curl-papers holding converse with Tim over the wire. The language of his protégé might well assist in the process for which the curl-papers were required. There was nobody in the world, in McAllister's opinion, so queer as his aunt, except his aunt's husband. The latter was a stout, beefy nobleman of sixty-five, with a walrus-like countenance, an implicit faith in the perfection of British institutions, and about enough intelligence to drive a watering-cart. He had been rewarded for his unswerving fidelity to party with the post of Governor-General at a small group of islands somewhere near the equator, and had assumed his duties solemnly and ponderously, establishing the Bertillon system of measurements for the seven criminals which his islands supported, and producing quarterly monographs on the flora, fauna, and conchology of his dominion. Just now they were en route for England (via Quebec, of course), and were stopping at the Waldorf.

Tim presently reappeared.

"She says you've got to hike right down to the hotel as fast as you can. She's terrible upset. My, ain't she a tiger?"

"But what's the bloomin' row?" exclaimed McAllister.

Tim looked round cautiously and lowered his voice.

"The Lyndhurst Jewels has been stole!" said he.


II


The Lyndhurst Jewels stolen! No wonder Aunt Sophia had seemed peevish, for they were the treasured heirlooms of her husband's family, cherished and guarded by her with anxious eye. McAllister had always said the old man was an ass to go lugging 'em off down among the mangoes and land-crabs, but the Governor-General liked to have his lady appear in style at Government House, and took much innocent pleasure in astonishing the natives by the splendor of her adornment. The jewelry, however, was the source of unending annoyance to himself, Sophia, and everybody else, for it was always getting lost, and burglar scares occurred with regularity at the islands. It had been still intact, however, on their arrival in New York.

The clubman found his uncle and aunt sitting dejectedly at the breakfast-table in the Diplomatic Suite.

The atmosphere of gloom struck a cold chill to our friend's centre of vivacity. There were also evidences of a domestic misunderstanding. His aunt fidgeted nervously, and his uncle evaded McAllister's eye as they responded half-heartedly to his cheerful salutation. That the matter was serious was obvious. Clearly this time the jewels must be really gone. In addition, both the Governor-General and his lady kept looking over their shoulders fearfully, as if dreading the momentary assault of some assassin. McAllister inquired what the jolly mess was, incidentally suggesting that their hurry-call had deprived him of any attempt at breakfast. His hint, however, fell on barren ground.

"That fool Morton has packed all the jewelry in the big Vuitton!" exclaimed his uncle, nervously jabbing his spoon into a grape-fruit. "To say the least, it was excessively careless of him, for he knows perfectly well that we always carry it in the morocco hand-bag, and never allow it out of our sight." The Governor-General paused, and took a sip of coffee.

"Well," said McAllister, rather impatiently, "why don't you have him unpack it, then?" He couldn't for the life of him see why they made such a row about a thing of that sort. It was clear enough that they were both more than half mad.

"Ah, that's the point! It was sent to the station with the rest of the luggage last evening. Heaven knows it may all have been stolen by this time! Think of it, McAllister! The Lyndhurst Jewels, secured merely by a miserable brass check with a number on it—and the railroad liable by express contract only to the extent of one hundred dollars!" Before Uncle Basil had attained his present eminence he had been called to the bar, and his book on "Flotsam and Jetsam" is still an authority in those regions to which later works have not penetrated. "You see we're leaving at three this afternoon, but why send it all so early unless for a purpose?" Lord Lyndhurst nodded conclusively. He had the air of one who had divined something.

Still Chubby failed to see the connection. Someone, a valet evidently, had packed the jewelry in the wrong place, and then sent the load off a little ahead of time. What of it? He recalled vividly an occasion when the jewels had been stuffed by mistake into the soiled-clothes basket, but had turned up safe enough at the end of the trip.

"If that is all," replied McAllister, "all you have to do is to send your man over to the station and have the trunk brought back. Send the fellow who packed the trunk—this Morton—whoever he is."

"No," said his uncle, studiously knocking in the end of a boiled egg. "There are reasons. I wish you would go, instead. The fact is I don't wish Morton to leave the rooms this morning; I—I need him." Lord Lyndhurst again evaded the clubman's inquiring glance, and eyed the egg in an embarrassed fashion.

McAllister laughed. "I guess your jewelry's all right," said he cheerfully. "Certainly I'll go. Don't worry. I'll have the trunk and the jewels back here inside of fifty minutes. Who's Morton, anyhow?"

"My valet," replied Lord Lyndhurst, lowering his voice, and looking over his shoulder. "You wouldn't recall him. I engaged the man at Kingston on the way out. As a servant I have had absolutely no fault to find at all. You know it's very hard to get a good man to go to the Tropics, but Morton has seemed perfectly contented. Up to the present time I haven't had the slightest reason to suspect his honesty!"

"Well, I don't see that you have any now," said McAllister. "I guess I'll start along. I haven't had anythin' to eat yet. Have you the check?"

Uncle Basil gingerly handed him the bit of brass.

"I secured it from Morton," he remarked, attacking the egg viciously.

"Secured it?" exclaimed McAllister.

The Governor-General nodded ambiguously.

Aunt Sophia during the course of the recital had become almost hysterical, and now sat wringing her hands in the greatest agitation. Suddenly she broke forth:

"I told Basil he had been too hasty! But he would have it that there was nothing else to do! Oh, dear! Oh, dear! Why don't you tell him what you've done?"

"What in thunder have you done?" asked McAllister, now convinced beyond peradventure that his uncle was a candidate for the nearest insane asylum.

Lord Lyndhurst became very red, stammered, and jerked his thumb over his shoulder.

"Yes, secured it! Morton, if you must know it, is locked in the clothes-closet. I locked him!"

"He's in there!" suddenly wailed Aunt Sophia. "Basil put him in! And now the jewelry's no one knows where, and there's a man in the room, and I'm afraid to stay and Basil's afraid to go for fear he may get out, and——"

She was interrupted by a smothered voice that came from within the closet. McAllister was startled, for there was something faintly, vaguely familiar about it.

"It's a bloomin' houtrage, it is! Look 'ere, sir, I'll 'ave you to hunderstand that I gives notice at once, sir, 'ere and now, sir! It's a great hindignity you are a-puttin' me to, sir! Won't you let me hout, sir?" The voice ceased momentarily.

"Isn't it awful!" exclaimed Aunt Sophia. "He's been like that for over an hour!"

"Yes!" added Uncle Basil. "At times he's been actually abusive." But McAllister was lost in an effort to recall the hazy past. Where had he heard that voice before?

"'Ang it, sir! Won't you let me hout, sir," continued Morton. "I'm stiflin' in 'ere, an' I thinks there's a rat, sir. O Lawd! Let me hout!"

McAllister jumped to his feet. Of course he recognized the voice! Could he ever forget it? Had anyone ever said "O Lawd!" in quite the same way as the majestic Wilkins? It could be no other! By George, the old man wasn't such a fool after all! And the jewels! He smote his fist upon the table, while his uncle and aunt gazed at him apprehensively. There was no use exciting their fears, however. It was all plain to him, now. The clever dog! Well, the first thing was to see what had become of the jewels.

"Damn!" came in vigorous tones from the closet, as Wilkins endeavored to assert himself. "It's a bloomin' houtrage, it is! I'll 'ave you arrested for hassault an' bat'ry, I will, if you are a guv'nor! Let me hout, I say!"


III


McAllister lost no time in getting to the Grand Central Station. He was looking for a big Vuitton trunk, and he wanted to find it quick. For this purpose he enlisted the services of a burly young porter, who, for the consideration of a half-dollar, piloted the clubman through the crowded alleys of the outgoing baggage-room, until they came upon the familiar collection of Lord Lyndhurst's paraphernalia of travel. Eagerly he recognized the luggage of his uncle's official household. There were his boot-boxes, his hat-boxes, his portable desk, his dumb-bells, his bath-tub, his medicine chest, the secretary's trunk, the typewriter in its case; there were his aunt's basket trunks, and—yes—there was the big Vuitton. McAllister heaved a sigh of relief. The next thing was to get it back to the hotel as fast as possible.

"That's it," said he to the porter. "Heave it out!" They were standing in a little open space some distance from the entrance. The big Vuitton lay at one side, and about it a row of other trunks roughly in a semicircle. The porter made but one step in the desired direction, then jumped as if he had seen a ghost, for a big basket trunk, standing alone upon its end apart, suddenly shook violently, its lock clicked, the cover swung open, and out jumped a slender, sharp-featured young man with a black mustache. It was Barney Conville, although at first McAllister failed to recognize him.

"Look here you! Don't touch that trunk!" he exclaimed. Then he perceived McAllister, and a look of intense disgust overspread his face.

"It's the Baron!" ejaculated McAllister. "Now what the devil do you suppose he's been doin' in that trunk? Howd'y', Baron," he added pleasantly, holding out his hand. "Hardly expected to see you here. Do you take your rest that way?" pointing to the trunk from which Conville had emerged.

The detective eyed him with disapproval.

"Say," he remarked, disdainfully, "you give me a pain—always buttin' in an' spoilin' everythin'! This here is a plant. I'm waitin' fer a thief—Jerry, the Oyster. They're goin' to try an' lift that big striped trunk over there. It belongs to an old party up to the Waldorf. He's a diplomatico."

"He's my uncle!" cried McAllister.

"Your aunt!" snorted Barney.

"But I want to take that trunk back with me."

"On the level?"

"Sure!"

"Can't help it! This is an important job. The Oyster's the cleverest thief in the business. Works in with all the butlers and valets. Why he's got away with more'n three thousand pieces of baggage. He's the——"

Barney did not finish the sentence. Suddenly he ducked, and grabbing McAllister by the shoulder, pulled him down with him.

"There he is now! Into the trunk! There's no other way! Plenty of room!" He shoved his fat companion inside and stepped after him. McAllister, utterly bewildered, tried to convince himself that he was not dreaming. He was quite sure he had taken only one Scotch that morning, but he pinched himself, and was relieved to get the proper reaction. When he became used to the dim light he discovered that he was ensconced in a dress-box of immense proportions, made of basket work, and covered with waterproofing. Placed on end, with a seat across the middle, it afforded a very comfortable place of concealment. Conville turned the key and locked the cover. Then he poked McAllister in the ribs.

"Great joint, ain't it? Idee of the cap's. Makes a fine plant," he whispered, affixing his eye to a narrow slit near the top.

"Sh-h!" he added; "he's here. There's another peeper over on your side."

McAllister followed his example, gluing his eye to the improvised window, and discovered that they commanded the approach to the big Vuitton. And inside that innocent piece of luggage reposed the glory of his uncle's family, the heirlooms of four centuries! He made an involuntary movement.

"Keep still!" hissed Conville, and McAllister sank back obediently.

A young Anglican clergyman in shovel-hat and gaiters, carrying a dainty silver-headed umbrella in one hand and a copy of The Churchman in the other, had approached the counter. He seemed somewhat at a loss, gazed vaguely about him for a moment, and then stepping up to the head baggage-man, an oldish man with white whiskers, addressed him anxiously.

"I say, my man, I'm really in an awful mess, don't you know! I don't see my box anywhere. I sent it over from the hotel early this morning, and I'm leavin' for Montreal at three. The luggage-man says it was left here by ten o'clock. Do you keep all the boxes in this room?"

The head baggage-man nodded.

"Sorry you've lost your trunk," said he. "If it ain't here we haven't got it, but like as not it's mixed up in one of them piles. If you'll wait for about ten minutes I'll see if I can find it for your Reverence."

The Anglican looked shocked.

"Thanks, I'm sure," he murmured stiffly. He was a slight young man with a monocle and mutton-chops.

"It's very good of you," he added after a pause, with more condescension. "Awfully awkward to be without one's luggage, for I have a service in Montreal to-morrow, and all my vestments are in my box. I fear I shall miss my train."

"Oh, I guess not!" replied the baggage-man encouragingly. "I'll be with you presently. You come in and look around yourself, and if you don't see it I'll help you. This way, sir," and he lifted a section of the counter and allowed the clergyman to pass in.

"My! Ain't he clever!" whispered Barney delightedly.

The clergyman now began a rather dilatory investigation of the contents of the baggage-room, bending over and examining every trunk in sight, and even tapping the one in which they were ensconced with the silver head of his umbrella, but after a few moments, in apparent despair, he took his stand beside the big trunk marked "B. C. L.," and gazed despondently about him. There was nothing in his appearance to suggest that he was other than he seemed, but Barney directed McAllister's attention to the copy of The Churchman, from the leaves of which protruded two diminutive pieces of string, put there, as it might appear, for a book-mark. And now as the Anglican shifted from one foot to the other, ostensibly waiting for the porter, he placed his hands behind him and took a step or two backward toward the big trunk. Chubby was by this time all agog. What would the fellow do? He certainly couldn't be goin' to shoulder the trunk and try to walk off with it!

Suddenly McAllister saw the daintily gloved hands slip a penknife from among the leaves of the magazine and quickly sever the check from the handle of the trunk. The Anglican altered his position and waited until the baggage-man was once more engaged at the other end of the counter. Again this amiable representative of the cloth shuffled backward until the handle was within easy reach, and with a dexterity which must have been born of long practice deftly tied the two ends of string around it. With a quick motion he stepped away in the direction of the counter, and out from the leaves of The Churchman fell and dangled a new check stamped "Waistcoat's Express, No. 1467."

"My good fellow," impatiently drawled the clergyman, approaching the baggage-man, "I really can't wait, don'cher know. I've looked everywhere, and my box isn't here. I don't know whether to blame that beastly luggage-man, or whether it's the fault of this disgustin' American railroad. It's evident someone's at fault, and as I assume that you are in charge I shall report you immediately."


McAllister and His Double -p130.jpg

Deftly tied the two ends of string around it.


The elderly baggage-man regarded the robust champion of religion before him with scorn.

"Well, son, you can report all you like. I've worked in this baggage-room eighteen years, and you're not the first English crank who thought he owned the hull Central Railroad," and he turned on his heel, while the clergyman, with an expression of horror, ambled quickly out of the side door.

McAllister had watched this remarkable proceeding with enthusiastic interest, his round face shining with the excitement of a child.

"Jiminy, but this is great!" he exclaimed, slapping Barney upon the back. "And to think of your doin' it for a livin'! Why I'd sit here all day for nothin'! What happens next? And what becomes of the feller that's just gone out?"

"Oh, you ain't seen half the show yet!" responded Conville, pleased. "It is pretty good fun at times. But, o' course, this is a star performance, and we're sure of our man. Oh, it beats the theayter, all right, all right! Truth's stranger than fiction every time, you bet. Now take this Oyster—why he's a regular cracker-jack! Got sense enough to be an alderman, or president, or anythin', but he keeps right at his own little job of liftin' trunks, an' he ain't never been caught yet. His pal'll be along now any minute."

"How's that?" inquired Chubby with eagerness.

"Why, don'cher see? Jerry's cut off the reg'lar tag, and now the other feller'll present a duplicate of the one Jerry's just hitched on. Great game, 'Foxy Quiller,' eh?"

McAllister admitted delightedly that it was a great game. By George, it beat playin' the horses! At the same time he shivered as he realized how nearly the famous jewels had actually been lost. Wilkins must be an awful bad egg to go and tie up to a gang of that sort!

The baggage-man, serenely unconscious of all that had been taking place behind his back, and apparently not soured by his little set-to with the Englishman, was genially assisting the great American public to find its effects, and beaming on all about him. People streamed in and out, engines coughed and wheezed; from outside came the roar and rattle of the city.

Presently there bounced in a stout person in a yellow and black suit, with white waistcoat and green tie, who mopped his red face with a large silk handkerchief. Rushing up to a porter who seemed to be unoccupied, he threw down a pasteboard check, together with a shining half-dollar, and shouted, "Here, my good feller, that trunk, will you? Quick! The big one with the red letters on it—'B. C. L.' They sent it here from the Astoria instead of to the steamboat dock, and my ship sails at twelve. Now, get a move on!"

The porter grabbed the check and the half-dollar, and falling upon the big Vuitton, rolled it end over end out into the street, followed by its perspiring claimant.

"That's right, that's right," shouted the bounder. "Chuck it on behind. Mus'n't miss the boat!" and throwing the porter another half-dollar, the sportive traveller jumped into the hack, yelling, "Now drive like the devil!" The door closed with a bang, and the vehicle quickly disappeared among the tracks and wagons of Forty-second Street.

McAllister for the first time felt distinctly uneasy.

"Look here," he whispered feverishly, "is it right to let him walk off like that? Hurry! Open the trunk, or he'll get away!"

"Sit still, and don't get excited!" commanded Barney. "It's all right," he added condescendingly, remembering that McAllister was unfamiliar with such mysteries. "We've got him covered. He couldn't get away to save his neck. An' as for follerin' him, why he'll carry that trunk half over New York before he lands it where it's goin'!"

"All right!" sighed the clubman; "you're the doctor. But it seems to me you're takin' a lot of risk. Your brother officer might lose track of him, or he might drop the trunk somehow, and then where would the jewels be?"

"Right exactly where they are now," replied Barney with a grin. "In the office safe at the Waldorf. They ain't never left the hotel. There wasn't any need of it, and if I hadn't taken 'em out I'd 've had to watch 'em here all night. Now everythin's all right.

"And say," he added, chuckling at the joke of it, "I forgot to tell you. Who do you suppose is workin' with Jerry? Fatty Welch! 'Wilkins,' you'd call him. He's turned up again an' hooked on, somehow, to the Gov'nor. Me and my side-partner's been trailin' 'em both ever since your uncle hit New York. I had the room opposite him at the Waldorf. Yesterday mornin' I saw Welch pack the jewelry. I was togged out as a bell-boy, and was cleanin' the winders. The Gov'nor's kind of figgity you know, and I thought we'd better not mention anythin' to him. Of course I didn't have any idea you'd come waltzin' along this way."

McAllister solemnly held out his hand to the detective. He was as demonstrative as his narrow quarters rendered possible.

"Baron," said he, "you're a corker! I've learned a heap this morning."

"There's lots of things you never dream of, Horace," replied Barney politely.

"Do you remember, Baron, the last time we met asking me to help you nab Wilkins?" continued McAllister. "Well, I'm goin' to make good. I've got him safely locked in a closet at the hotel. He promised not to come back, and now I'm done with him. What do you say to that?"

"Good work!" ejaculated Barney. "Keep it up! In time you might make a pretty good detective."

From Barney such a concession was high praise, and showed intense appreciation. On their way back to the Waldorf he explained that the "Oyster" was one of a very few "guns" able effectively to make use of a disguise, this being in part due to the fact that he was the son of a clergyman, and educated for the stage.

They were met at the door of the apartment by Lady Lyndhurst.

"Basil has disappeared!" she gasped. "And that awful man in the closet has become so blasphemous that I can't remain with decency in the room."

McAllister partially pacified her by stating that the jewelry was entirely safe. He wondered what on earth had become of the Governor. Once inside the suite conversation became practically impossible, owing to the sounds of inarticulate rage which proceeded from the closet.

Barney decided to place the valet immediately under arrest and take him to Police Headquarters. The sooner they did so the more likely he would be to "squeal." He requested McAllister to arm himself with a walking-stick, and to stand ready to come to his assistance if, on opening the door, he should find himself unable to cope with the prisoner alone. Aunt Sophia was relegated to her bedroom, the door leading to the corridor was closed and locked, and the two prepared for the conflict. The detective, of course, had his pistol, which he cocked and held ready.

"Don't fire 'till you see the whites of his eyes!" murmured McAllister.

"Fire—nothin'!" muttered Barney, throwing open the closet door.

"Hands up, or I'll shoot!" yelled the detective, as a fat, wild-eyed individual sprung from within and burst upon their astonished gaze. The Governor-General stood before them.


McAllister and His Double -p136.jpg

"Hands up, or I'll shoot!" yelled the detective, as a fat, wild-eyed individual sprung from within.


Speechless with rage, he glowered from one to the other—then in response to their surprised inquiries broke into incoherent explanation. He had waited on guard some ten minutes after McAllister's departure, and Sophia had gone to her bedroom to finish dressing, when suddenly the expostulations of Morton had seemed to grow fainter. Finally they had died entirely away, and in their place had come terrible gasps and gurgles. He had remembered that there was no means of renewing the air supply in the closet, and had become alarmed. Presently all sounds had ceased. He was convinced that Morton was being suffocated. Opening the door, he had found the valet apparently lying there unconscious, and had dragged him forth, whereupon Morton had suddenly returned to life, and before he knew it had jammed him into the closet and locked the door.

"He was most impertinent, too, when he got on the outside, I can assure you," concluded Lord Lyndhurst indignantly. "Gave me a lot of gratuitous advice!"

McAllister and the detective endeavored to calm his troubled spirit, and soothe his ruffled dignity, informing him that the jewels had been in the hotel safe all the time. The Governor, however, refused to take any stock whatever in their explanation. Nothing of the sort could possibly have happened in England. It took them an hour to persuade him that they were not lying. The only things that appeared to convince him at all were the disappearance of Morton, a large bump on his own forehead, and the actual presence of the jewelry in the safe downstairs. Even then he sent to Tiffany's for a man to examine it.

Barney he regarded with unconcealed suspicion, subjecting him to an exhaustive cross-examination upon his antecedents and occupation. The Governor declared he was astounded at his impudence. The idea of opening his private luggage! He would address a communication to the authorities! It was little better than grand larceny. It was grand larceny, by Jupiter! Hadn't Conville abstracted the jewels vi et armis? Of course he had! Damme, he would see if the sacred rights of an English official should be trampled on! It was trespass anyway—Trespass ab initio! Did Conville know that? It was grand larceny and trespass. He would lock him up.

Barney grinned, and the Governor again became almost apoplectic.

He snorted scornfully at the detective's explanation about this Jerry "What-do-you-call-him—the Clam." Pooh! Did they expect him to believe that? Conville was a confounded, hair-brained busybody—He dwindled off, exhausted.

At that moment there came a sharp rap upon the door, and an officer in roundsman's uniform entered.

"Gentleman called at the precinct house and reported a jewelry theft in this suite. Said the thief had been caught and locked up in a closet, so I thought I'd drop over and see how things stood."

He looked inquiringly at McAllister, significantly at the Governor-General, and then caught sight of Barney.

"Hello, Conville!" he exclaimed. "You on the case? Well, then I'll drop out. Got your man, I see!" He glanced again at the dishevelled scion of nobility before him.

"Everythin's all right," answered the detective with a chuckle. "I guess they was fakin' you round at the house. By the way, I want you to meet a friend of mine—Roundsman McCarthy, let me present you to his Nibs—the Governor-General."

The Governor glared immobile, his stony eyes shifting from the now red and stammering roundsman to Conville's beaming countenance, and back again.

"Gentlemen," he remarked sternly, "do you prefer Scotch or rye? You will find cigars on the sideboard. The drinks, as you Yankees say, are upon me!"

"By the way," he added to McCarthy, as McAllister filled the glasses, "would you be so obliging as to describe the individual who so thoughtfully notified you in regard to the loss of the jewelry?"

"Rather stout, well-dressed man, fat face, gray eyes," answered McCarthy, lighting a cigar. "Looked somethin' like this gentleman here," indicating the clubman. "Spoke with a kind of English accent. Nice appearin' feller, all right."

"By George! Wilkins!" ejaculated McAllister.

"Damn!" exploded Uncle Basil.

"The nerve of him!" muttered Barney.



This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.


The author died in 1944, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.