CHAPTER XXV. A CHECK.She did so just as a telegraph boy came along with one of the orange-coloured envelopes in his hand. He looked at the address and at the number of the box.The sedate head of the firm in personal attendance smiled. The lovers were not sorry to be rid of him when he was called away for a moment. An official-looking person was standing by the desk with a package in his hand.
"Never can trust a woman as to time," he growled. There was not the faintest shadow of politeness in his manner now. "Didn't I say twelve sharp?"Prout was not so sure of that. He had seen too many startling developments in his time to be surprised at anything."Don't touch it," he exclaimed, "keep as far from it as possible. There is real danger here if you only knew it. And whatever you do, don't you go near a soul in the house till you have washed your hands with Sanitas or some pungent disinfectant of that kind. You must be very careful about this."
CHAPTER XLVII. FLOWN.
Hetty admitted the fact with a sigh. She had no illusions as to the future. Unless something like a miracle happened Gordon was certain to stand in the dock charged with the murder of a man unknown. Examined in the cold light of day, Gordon Bruce's story was an extraordinary one. Hetty was forced to admit that from the lips of a stranger she would not have believed a word of it.
If there was a dark mystery any longer it was confined to the Corner House now. Hetty was not likely to see any more of Lytton Avenue. It was fortunate for her that Mamie was so much better in the morning, for as soon as the business of the day had commenced there was a rush of people to Lytton Avenue.Despite his vast wealth and the manner in which he was courted and flattered by society, Mr. Isaac Isidore had contrived to remain single. He had only one passion, and that was the making of money by ingenious schemes; in fact, had he not been a capitalist he would have made a wonderfully good novelist, as Lawrence often said. Mystery and intrigue were the very air he breathed, and for recreation he asked for nothing better than a romance by Gaboriau or Du Boisgobey.
There was no time to be lost, for she could hear Balmayne coming down the garden. And then a happy inspiration came to her. From her head she removed the gold and ornamented dagger, with its long steel pin. She stooped down. . .
There could be no doubt about that. The label had the same chemist's name on it, with the red caution of "Poison" underneath. The girl put the bottle to her nostrils and noticed the difference in the smell."Oh, mother," she cried. "What is the matter? What have they been doing to you?"
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Hetty rubbed her eyes with the feeling that it had all been a dream. It was not yet very late, only a little after midnight, and the brilliant saloons were still crowded with guests. Down below in the dining-rooms people were supping, there was the dreamy music of a band somewhere. As if nothing in the world had happened Countess Lalage sat smiling brilliantly and chatting with not the least distinguished of her guests, Mr. Gilbert Lawrence, the famous novelist."A thousand maledictions on it!" he muttered. "Both back tires are punctured!"CHAPTER XLV. A CHASE.
All the lights in the room were ablaze; at one end of the table was a dainty supper, flanked by a couple of gold-topped bottles. A little shabby man with a hooked nose was in the act of taking off a heavy fur-lined coat.Prout was understood to say no, when Bruce rose. His face was deadly pale, a tiny red spot burning on either cheek. But he had his voice under proper control; there was no look of guilt about him.详情
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