Feeling that he had the situation in hand, and that there was little remaining probability bitcoin usd in 2014of 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.
Garson sat huddled, stricken--for he had recognized the victimthrust into the bitcoin halving date and pricecell before his eyes.... It was Dacey, one of hisown cronies in crime--Dacey, who, the night before, had seen himkill Eddie Griggs. There was something concretely sinister toGarson in this fact of Dacey's presence there in the cell.Of a sudden, the forger cried out raucously:
"Say, Inspector, if you've got anything on me, I--I would----"The cry dropped into unintelligible mumblings.Burke retained his manner of serene indifference to the other'sagitation. Still, his pen hurried over the paper; and he did nottrouble to look up as he expostulated, half-banteringly."Now, now! What's the matter with you, Joe? I told you that Iwanted to ask you a few questions. That's all."Garson leaped to his feet again resolutely, then faltered, andultimately fell back into the chair with a groan, as theInspector went on speaking."Now, Joe, sit down, and keep still, I tell you, and let me getthrough with this job. It won't take me more than a minutemore."But, after a moment, Garson's emotion forced hint to anotherappeal."Say, Inspector----" he began.
Then, abruptly, he was silent, his mouth still open to utter thewords that were now held back by horror. Again, he saw thedetective walking forward, out there in the corridor. And withhim, as before, was a second figure, which advanced slinkingly.Garson leaned forward in his chair, his head thrust out, watchingin rigid suspense. Again, even as before, the door swung wide,the prisoner slipped within, the door clanged shut, the boltsclattered noisily into their sockets."And of good character, may we hope?"
"I should call him a bit soft.""Of substantial means?""He hasn't a bean that he doesn't cadge.""An unattractive type. . . . But he has the good sense to be shall we say, infatuated by what he thinks you to be?"
"Yes. Dotty. That's why he's here.""And I may observe that his affections are not reciprocated with equal fervour?"
"It's just a bore to have to get out of his way."The breakfast-table became silent. Professor Blinkwell understood his niece very well, and she understood him, if not equally, at least better than most of his fellow-creatures were able to do.He knew that she was very unlikely to lose her head over Lord Sparshott's impecunious and apparently idle cousin, though her attitude towards him might not be entirely consistent with the boredom that she professed.He knew that she liked to be flattered and stroked, like a well-fed cat, without caring overmuch whose hand might be smoothing her fur, and without desiring any more intimate association, or having the least intention of making return beyond the sound of a pleasant purr.
On her side she showed that she had followed her uncle's mind beyond anything which had been spoken aloud, when she broke the silence to add, "He's not the sort to be of any use to us, if you mean that.""I wonder. . . He knows Thurlow, doesn't he? And Miss Thurlow, too?""Yes. He's a sort of English cousin to them. I don't know exactly what the relationship is. But I know that when they came to England they looked him up in the way Americans do.""Well, that doesn't matter to us."
The breakfast-table became silent again, and it was only as they were about to rise that Professor Blinkwell said: "You'd better not tire yourself trying to get out of his way. In fact, you'd better be as nice to him as you can contrive to be.""May I ask why?"
After a moment's hesitation, the Professor, who had spoken in the act of rising, resumed his seat. He offered his cigarette-case to his niece, and struck a match for their common use before he replied."Yes. I think you may. In fact, it may be necessary for you to know. . . . Suppose," he went on, after a moment of thoughtful silence, "that you have some very valuable jewellery, of the existence of which I am unaware. Which could not come to my knowledge without grave embarrassment to yourself?"
"Yes?""You will be confronted with a difficult problem when we return to England in a few days' time. You will have to declare it to the Customs, and perhaps pay duty upon it, which you could hardly expect to do without my knowledge, or else take the risk of trying to smuggle it through."As he said this, Professor Blinkwell observed a halffrightened, half-mutinous expression upon Myra's attractive, but rather heavy, features, which were not usually quick to expose her thoughts."I shouldn't like - - " she began. "I didn't think you'd ever ask me to - - ""My dear Myra, don't be a fool! What are you supposing that you didn't think that you ever should?""I suppose you want me to ask Mr. Kindell to smuggle it through, without telling him what it is."
"Then you must think me a bigger fool than yourself. All you've got to do is to tell him about the trouble you're in. Do that within the next two days, but don't ask him to do any smuggling on your behalf, and don't agree to any offer that comes from him. For one reason, he'd be almost certain to fail; and there are two others that are even better than that."As he spoke, the slightly sullen expression passed from his niece's face. She looked half puzzled and half relieved. She said: "Very well. I can do that, if it's any good."
"You can do it excellently, if you try, as I'm sure you will."He rose again as he spoke, taking out a wallet at the same time, from which he drew some banknotes, which he handed to her.
"I Suppose you'll want to go shopping now you're here," he said casually. "Most women do."He paused at the door to add: "And don't forget that I never run any risks, and I shouldn't ask you to do anything that isn't perfectly safe. I've got too much to lose."
Myra heard these words with the relief which they had been intended to cause. They reminded her of the immunity with which Professor Blinkwell had controlled the English traffic in certain illicit drugs for the past five years, without evidence of the faintest suspicion being directed towards himself. Had he not told her more than once before that she would never have cause to fear so long as she obeyed his instructions with exactness, and without questioning what they meant? And had not this assurance always been justified by the eventThe tale he had asked her to tell now was certainly not of a dangerous kind. Even had it been true, there could be no legal offence, in advance of an overt act.She looked at the banknotes she had received and saw that they amounted to a total of two thousand francs. She was pleased at that, but she saw by the magnitude of the bribe, that her uncle attached unusual importance to the part he had asked her to play, however safe it might be.Well, it was not one she was likely to bungle! She remained thoughtful for the next ten minutes, and then picked up the telephone and asked to be put through to Mr. Kindell's apartment.
Chapter 2 Of Those On The Floor AboveWHILE PROFESSOR BLINKWELL and his niece discussed business, finance, and matters which might be designated by a more sinister word, Mr. Cyril B. Thurlow, United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James, and his daughter Irene, were consuming an equally satisfactory breakfast of grapefruit and shredded wheat in their own suite on the floor above.
Mr. Thurlow, whose name had been prominent two years before as a probable candidate for the United States presidency, but who had withdrawn in favour of a more popular candidate, had been subsequently appointed - in recognition of the party loyalty which he had shown, and other excellent qualifications to the office which he now held.Having secured that exalted position, he had maintained its high traditions to the satisfaction of the nations concerned, and was seldom absent from his official residence in London; but on this occasion, the political skies being clear, and there being a sufficient interval during which no ceremonial functions would require his presence, he had left his official duties in the hands of capable secretaries, and followed inclination and his daughter's wishes by making a short visit to Paris.
Mr. Thurlow was an Alabama cotton-planter, of substantial wealth, and assured social position. He was known as a man of something more than superficial scholarship, as a collector of medieval tapestries, and as one of the three best after-dinner speakers of his race and generation.He had shown another side of his character, and had greatly increased his popularity with his fellow-citizens five years before when he had come suddenly upon three men who were in the act of kidnapping his daughter, in accordance with one of the best known customs af his native land.
Declining the usual invitation to raise his hands, he had pulled out his own gun with such celerity, and used it to such effect, that the police had been subsequently called upon to do no more than remove one dying and two seriously wounded men, while his own injuries had been confined to a grazed cheek and an abbreviation of the-little finger of the left hand, which had been shot off at the upper joint.He spoke excellent English, with a slight pleasant Southern-States drawl; and though he insisted on pronouncing schedule with a k, for which authority can be advanced, it is improbable that he ever expressed approval of a fellow-man by describing him as a swell guy.His daughter Irene, a vivaciously attractive, rather impulsive girl of nineteen or twenty years, an only and motherless child, had left college at her urgency, and to his own satisfaction, when he had been appointed to his present position, so that she could accompany him to England.On arriving in that country, she had made it a primary occupation to discover descendants of her Father's Scottish ancestors, or living relatives of her mother, who was traditionally connected with the Shropshire Charlings.
In this pursuit she had done no more for her father than to identify his family with that of an Alexander Thurlow who was the proprietor of a general store in a small village near Haddington. The man was of dubious character, and less than dubious sobriety, and the relationship had been left unclaimed, after her father's inclinations had been expressed with as much freedom of emphasis as he would often allow himself to use in his daughter's presence.But she had been more successful, at least to her own, if not to the ambassador's, mind in her search for her mother's kin. They proved to be numerous, of a good average respectability, and including some of more than average social status. Considered broadly, they were a family in which charm of manner and speech, a resilient optimism, and an opportunist ability to avoid the impact of adverse circumstance, were conspicuous above the more solid and pedestrian virtues, though it would be uncharitable to suggest that these may not have been also present.
Among them, William Kindell, cousin of Lord Sparshott, who had been living in London, with more evidence of leisure than occupation, had shown some disposition to accept the generous Embassy hospitality which Mr. Thurlow had offered to the family of his dead wife, and which he had lacked excuse to withdraw when he had observed, with some inward dissatisfaction, that the young man appeared to be gaining an exceptional measure of his daughter's regard, especially as he could not detect anything in his conduct either open to criticism in itself or suggesting that he regarded Irene with more than the friendliness natural to their ages and dispositions, and to the blood-relationship that existed between them.Now Irene broke a short silence to ask, in the pseudo-casual voice of one who is self-conscious of speaking too often on a subject which fills the mind, and yet cannot resist the inclination to do so, "Did you notice that Will Kindell's been here since yesterday?" To which he answered with a vague illogical feeling of grievance (for the H?tel Splendide was equally open to all who dressed in the right way, avoided public disgrace, and could pay its bills): "Kindell? I wonder whatever he's doing here. I suppose he's not following us?"
Irene would have liked to feel that the supposition was wrong, but she had some reluctant reason for a different opinion. She said: "No. I don't think he knows we're here. It's more likely to be something to do with a Professor Blinkwell, or some name like that, on the floor below. I saw him talking last night to the Professor's daughter, unless she's his wife, a fat Jewish-looking woman, but he didn't notice me as I passed."The ambassador surprised himself by saying, "Well, if he's staying here, you'd better ask him to look us up."