That’s all right

Here, indeed, was food for reflection. That the instrument with which
the crime had been committed should come into the detective’s
possession was extraordinary; but that it should have been left
anonymously at the rooms of the murdered man was inconceivably
audacious. Fanks at once returned to the chambers, and closely
questioned Maxwell and Robert. It struck him that the latter might
have had a hand in placing the mysterious parcel in the letter box.

“I examined the box an hour ago, sir,” said Maxwell, “as you told me
to look after all letters. There was nothing in it then. It must have
been placed in it since.”

“While we were in the sitting-room, no doubt,” said Garth. “Do you
know anything of this, Robert?”

“I, sir? Lord, no, sir; I never set eyes on it before.”

“We left ten minutes ago,” remarked Fanks. “What have you been doing
since that time.”

“I have been with Mr. Maxwell, sir.”

“Was he with you all the time, Maxwell?”

“Yes, sir,” replied the policeman in great alarm. “He came out into
the kitchen, and we was together for a chat; then I thought it was
near post time, and I goes to the box. I found that parcel, and as I
knowed you couldn’t be far off I ran down stairs.”

This explanation was perfectly satisfactory, yet for the life of him,
the detective could not help looking at Robert with suspicion.
However, as he had not been out of Maxwell’s company, he could not
possibly have put the parcel in the box, therefore Fanks was
reluctantly compelled to believe in his innocence.

“That will do,” he said, at length, and drew Garth away. When they
again descended the stairs, Garth began to ask him questions, but
Fanks cut these short. “I must be alone to think it out,” he said, in
apologetic explanation. “Go away, Garth, and let me puzzle over the
matter by myself.”

The young lawyer was unwilling to do this as he was filled with
genuine curiosity concerning the needle. However, he could suggest
nothing, and he saw that his mere presence worried his friend. He
therefore obeyed the request, and went off to meditate on his own
account. As for Fanks, he repaired to his rooms, and with the needle
before him he sat for considerably over an hour thinking what it all
meant. The mystery was deeper than ever.

There was no doubt that someone had left the parcel in the letter box
within the hour. According to Maxwell, it had not been there when he
last looked in; according to Robert, he had not been out of the
policeman’s company since he left the sitting-room. Who, then, placed
this damning evidence of the crime in the box? The assassin himself?
But the assassin, as had been proved clearly, was a negro. A few
questions to the constable stationed near the door had elicited the
fact that no negro had gone up. In fact, the man had sworn that he had
seen nobody ascend the stairs since the time Fanks returned from his
unsuccessful pursuit. So scanty were the facts which he had to go on,
that Fanks could not even build up a theory. He was completely in the
dark, and he seemed likely to remain so.

The instrument was of silver, the length of a darning needle, and
while the point was as sharp as a lancet, it broadened gradually till
when it passed into a slim, ebony handle, it was–for a needle, quite
bulky. In this broad part the poison was doubtless contained, and
thence it oozed, drop by drop, to the deadly point. Fanks shuddered at
the sight of the piece of devilish ingenuity. The infernal dexterity
of the thing gave him an idea.

“Must have been manufactured by a scientific man,” he mused, touching
the slender, silver line gingerly. “It’s too clever for an amateur.
Louis, the new baronet, is a man of science; he has succeeded to the
title. Can it be that–but, no!” he added, breaking off abruptly, “he
would not commit a crime in so obvious a fashion, much less, leave the
means he used at the address of his victim.”

Nevertheless, the idea lured him so far afield, into so many
speculations that, finding they led to nothing, he locked up the
poisoned needle, put it out of his thoughts, and paid a visit to New
Scotland Yard. Here he explained to the person in authority, that,
while he had every hope of capturing the assassin of the late Sir
Gregory Fellenger, yet he was bound to point out that the expenses of
the case would be considerable. To this, the person in authority
replied by placing before Fanks a letter from Messrs. Vaud and Vaud,
of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. It stated that they had been directed by
Sir Louis Fellenger–who was at present confined to bed through
ill-health–to assure the authorities that he wished every effort to
be made to discover the murderer of his cousin; and that he would
willingly bear the costs of the investigation. This communication
concluded by requesting that the detective in charge of the case
should call at the offices of the lawyers at his earliest convenience.

“Very meritorious of Sir Louis to save the Government expense,” said
the person in authority. “Use what money you require, Mr. Fanks, but
be reasonable–be reasonable.”

“I shall be as reasonable as I possibly can be, sir,” replied Fanks;
“but in my opinion, the case will be both long and expensive. It is
the most complicated matter that I ever took in hand.”

“The more difficulty, the more glory,” said the person in authority.
“Go on with the case, Mr. Fanks; act as you please, make use of all
our resources. I have every confidence in you, Mr. Fanks; if anyone
can lay his hand on the assassin of Sir Gregory Fellenger, you are the
man. I wish you good day, Mr. Fanks.”

Dismissed in this gracious manner, Fanks left the room with the
intention of obeying forthwith the injunction of Vaud and Vaud. Before
he could depart he was intercepted by Crate.

“A communication from Dr. Renshaw,” said Crate, with an air of great
importance. “He called here this afternoon with the intention of
seeing you. In your absence, he saw me; and stated that he was leaving
for India to-night by the P. and O. steamer ‘Oceana.’ Before leaving,
he wished to see and speak with you.”

“Before leaving, he has to see and speak with me,” retorted Fanks,
coolly. “I would have him arrested on suspicion if he attempted to
leave London without according me an interview.”

“You have no evidence on which you can arrest him, Mr. Fanks.”

“I have more evidence than you are aware of, Crate. If Dr. Renshaw
could have defied me he would have done so; but he dare not. Where is
he now?”

“He is still at Great Auk Street, where he has been watched ever since
the night of the murder.”

“When does the ‘Oceana’ leave the Docks?”

“To-night at ten o’clock. Dr. Renshaw goes down from Fenchurch Street
by the eight train.”

“It is now a quarter past five. Good! I shall call at Great Auk
Street; in the meantime, I have to keep another appointment.”

“Have you found out anything since I saw you last, Mr. Fanks?”

“I have found out that there is a woman in the case,” said Fanks. “And
that reminds me, Crate. You must go to Paris by to-night’s mail. Are
you busy with anything else?”

“No, Mr. Fanks. I shall be ready to start when you please. What am I
to do in Paris?”

Fanks sat down at Crate’s table and wrote a name and a date. “Get me a
certificate of the death and burial of Emma Calvert, who died in Paris
last year; she committed suicide, which was passed off as an accident,
and was buried in Pere la Chaise. I do not know the month of the
death, but you can do without that. Wire me all particulars. You can
get the French police to help you. Ask in the office here for
necessary credentials and authorisation. Don’t spare expense, I have
full power to draw all moneys I want.”

After delivering these necessary instructions, Fanks drove off to
Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and presented his card at the office of Vaud and
Vaud. He was at once shown up to the room of the senior partner, and
found him as Garth said, a dignified gentleman of the old school. He
was red-faced and white-haired; emphasised his remarks by waving a
“pince-nez,” and spoke with some of the magnificence of Dr. Renshaw.

“This is a most lamentable business, Mr. Fanks,” he said, when the
detective was seated. “I usually go home before five o’clock, but in
the interests of our client, Sir Louis Fellenger, I remained, on the
chance of seeing you. I am glad to see you.”

“I came as soon as I was able, Mr. Vaud; but you only sent for me
to-day. I wonder you did not wish to see me before.”

“There was no necessity, my dear sir. We only heard from Sir Louis
yesterday that he was prepared to bear all expenses connected with the
investigation of the case.”

“Sir Louis is ill, I believe, Mr. Vaud?”

“Sir Louis is never well, sir,” said the lawyer impressively. “He is a
delicate man, and he is given over to the arduous science of
experimental chemistry. The earnestness with which he prosecutes his
researches keeps him in a constant state of anxiety; and his health
suffers accordingly. He is now at Mere Hall, attended by Dr. Binjoy.”

“Is Dr. Binjoy with Sir Louis at Mere Hall at this present moment?”

“Certainly. Dr. Binjoy never leaves the side of Sir Louis. He has the
greatest influence over him. Though I must say,” added Vaud, “that
even the influence of the doctor could not prevent his patient rising
from his sick-bed to attend the funeral of the late baronet.”

“He must have been fond of his cousin,” said Fanks, pointedly.

“On the contrary, the cousins had not seen one another for ten years
and more,” said Mr. Vaud, solemnly. “I do not wish to speak evil of
the dead, but the late Sir Gregory was certainly a butterfly of
fashion, while the present Sir Louis is a man of science. They never
got on well together, and therefore kept out of each other’s way.”

“And very sensible, too,” said Fanks, dryly. “Do you happen to know if
Dr. Binjoy has been in London lately?”

“I happen to know on the best authority–that of Sir Louis–that
Binjoy has not been in London for the last six weeks. Sir Louis has
been ill for that period; the doctor has not left his bedside.”

Fanks made a mental note of this answer, and turned the conversation
in the direction of the crime. “You know that Fellenger died from
poison?”

“From blood-poisoning,” corrected Vaud. “So I saw in the papers. A
most remarkable case, my dear sir. What took our late client to that
locality, and why did he submit himself to the tattooing needle?”

“I can’t say. Are you aware of any motive which might have induced the
dead man to have a cross tattooed?”

“No, sir. As a matter of fact,” continued Mr. Vaud, “the late Sir
Gregory and myself were not on the best of terms. He was extravagant,
and he resented my well-meant advice. I saw as little of him as of Sir
Louis.”

“Then you are not intimate with Sir Louis?”

“I cannot say that I am. Sir Louis has led a secluded life at
Taxton-on-Thames. I have only seen him once or twice.”

“And Dr. Binjoy?”

“I have never seen him at all?”

“Was Sir Louis rich?”

“On the contrary, he was very poor. Five hundred a year only.”

“Well, Mr. Vaud,” said Fanks, rising. “I have to thank Sir Louis for
his offer to bear the expenses of this case; and I shall do my best to
bring the criminal to justice.”

“Have you any clue, Mr. Fanks?”

“I have a variety of clues, but they all seem to lead to nothing.”

“Do you think that you will be successful?”

“I can’t say–yet. I hope so.”

“I hope so, too, but I am doubtful; very doubtful. Well, good evening,
Mr. Fanks. Do you want any money?”

“Not at present. I shall write to you when I do.”

“. I trust you will succeed, Mr. Fanks. But in my
opinion you are wasting time and money. The crime is a mystery, and
for all that I can see, it will remain a mystery.”

Fanks had gained some useful information from the lawyer, and it would
appear that the conversation had settled, at least, two important
points in the case. Of these the first was that Sir Louis could not
have had anything to do with the commission of the crime, or the
leaving of the parcel at the chambers in Half Moon Street. Yet the
needle had been prepared by a man learned in experimental chemistry;
and, as that was the special study of the new baronet, it might be
that he was responsible for the preparation of that deadly instrument.
By the death of his cousin he had gained a fortune; therefore that
might stand as a motive for the committal of the crime. But Sir Louis
had been ill for some months; he had been confined to bed, therefore
he could not have been in London on the night of the murder; nor later
on–being still in bed–could he have deposited the needle in the
letter box. Clearly, the case against Louis broke down entirely.

As for Binjoy, he also had not been in town for six weeks. If this
were so, he could not be identical with Renshaw, in which case the
suspicions entertained by the detective could not fail to prove
groundless. Then again, the fact that Binjoy had a negro servant
habited like the assassin–also a black man–was highly suspicious.
Binjoy might have instructed the negro to slay, and himself have
remained at Taxton-on-Thames in attendance on Sir Louis. But then what
could be his motive for the perpetration of so terrible a crime? Fanks
sought for this motive.

In the first place, he noted that the absence of Louis from town on
that night was deposed to by Binjoy; in the same way Louis said that
Binjoy had not left Taxton-on-Thames for six weeks. Both these
statements had been made to Fanks by Vaud. It would then appear that
Louis and the doctor were in collusion to obtain the property of
Gregory by procuring his death at the hands of the negro. But even
this theory failed to discover, or point out, who was the man who had
called to leave the parcel at Half Moon Street. The constable had
asserted positively that no negro had gone up the stairs. If then the
messenger was not the negro, it was either Binjoy or Sir Louis. Mr.
Vaud said that the one was ill, the other in attendance. Thus the case
stood when Fanks left the office of Vaud and Vaud; and he felt utterly
unable to cope with the intricacies which met him on every hand. There
seemed no way in or out.

Yet in the face of the presumption that Renshaw was not the double of
Binjoy, the detective determined to follow up that clue. He did not
like the way in which the doctor had behaved, either in the chamber of
death, or at the inquest; he was suspicious of his apparent intimacy
with Mrs. Boazoph: therefore, for his own gratification, he went to
Great Auk Street to interview the man, and to see whether his
suspicions had any foundation in fact. On arriving at the house he was
unable to decide on his next action, but before he left it again he
had determined what to do.

A stupid-looking man-servant received Fanks, and took him into a dull
waiting room, while he went to inform Dr. Renshaw of the name of his
visitor. In a few moments he returned and conducted the detective to
the back of the house, where he found Renshaw waiting for him in the
company of another man. This latter was Dr. Turnor, for whom Renshaw
had been acting as “locum tenens;” a lean, little man with a ferret of
a face, and a sharp, jerky way of speaking which must have been
exceedingly irritating in a sickroom. Renshaw was more imposing in
looks than ever, and, with habitual restlessness, combed his long,
brown beard with his fingers; but in the badly-lighted room Fanks
could not find out if the beard was false. So closely did Renshaw
resemble Garth’s description of Binjoy, that notwithstanding
Vaud’s evidence, Fanks was on the alert to discover if–as he truly
believed–the two were one and the same. The ensuing conversation was
likely to prove interesting in more ways than one.

After being introduced to Fanks, and acknowledging the introduction
with a sour smile, Turnor arose to leave the room. He was stopped by
Renshaw, who evidently did not relish the idea of facing a difficult
interview by himself. Another proof, as Fanks considered, of his
uneasy conscience.

“Pray do not depart, Turnor,” he said, in his usual pompous manner. “I
have no secrets from you. I trust, Mr. Fanks, that you see no
objection in my adopting this course?”

“Certainly, I see no objection,” replied Fanks, quietly. “Let Dr.
Turnor stay by all means. I have nothing particular to say.”

Turnor, who had resumed his chair, looked up at this, and Renshaw
stared at his visitor with pompous indignation.

“Then why are you here, sir?” he demanded in a more confident tone.

Fanks shrugged his shoulders. “Really, I cannot tell you, unless it is
because you left a message at my office that you wished to see me.”

“I did so in fulfilment of my promise to communicate with you before
leaving London.”

“Indeed! So you think of starting again on your travels? You will like
that much better than staying in London.”

“There is no reason why I should not like to stay in London,” said
Renshaw, with an angry glance.

“No reason in the world, that I can see.”

“I am going out to India–to Bombay. I proceed to Aden by the
‘Oceana,’ and there I exchange into the ‘Cylde.'”

“It is really very good of you to tell me all this, doctor,” said
Fanks, ironically; “I trust that you will have a pleasant voyage.”

Renshaw looked nonplussed and a trifle disappointed at the coolness of
the detective. It was Fank’s intention to bring about this feeling;
for if Renshaw had nothing to do with the crime, if he was not
masquerading under a false name, the detective did not see that it was
necessary to make these elaborate explanations. It seemed to Fanks
that Renshaw’s anxiety to bestow gratuitous information as to his
movements had its root in a design to mislead the police.
Notwithstanding the assurances of Vaud, his suspicions of Renshaw
revived in full force under this clumsy diplomacy; and he bent his
energies to get to the bottom of the matter. To this end he affected
indifference, and gave Renshaw plenty of rope with which to hang
himself.

“Am I to understand that I am free to go?” demanded the stout doctor,
in a highly dramatic manner.

“I suppose so; this is a free country.”

“You do not think–my friend–any knowledge–murder?” jerked Turnor,
as he looked eagerly at Fanks.

The detective saw the eagerness and wondered. “Hallo! my friend,” he
thought, “are you in this also?” However, he answered the question in
the calmest manner. “I was not aware that I had made any accusation
against Dr. Renshaw,” was his suave reply.

“But I have been watched,” cried Renshaw; “watched like a criminal.”

“You don’t say so,” said Fanks, imperturbably. “And who is watching
you? And why have you been watched?”

The two doctors looked at one another, and, from a covert sign made by
Turnor to Renshaw, the detective became convinced that there was an
understanding between them. He guessed that the sign hinted at the
conclusion of the interview, and this interpretation proved correct.
Turnor rose and jerked out an apology.

“Mistake!” said the little man. “Told Renshaw–moonshine–no watching.
Hope you’ll catch–murderer.”

“I have little hope of that,” said Fanks, dolefully. “He has concealed
his trail too cleverly,” and he chuckled inwardly as he saw the two
faces brighten.

“Well! well! well! We will say no more, Mr. Fanks,” said Renshaw, in a
patronising tone. “I deemed it my duty to let you know that I go to
India to-night. I shall not return to England for many years, as I
propose exploring Thibet. Good evening; I am delighted that my fears
that I was being watched have proved to be groundless.”

But Fanks was not to be got rid of so easily. He wished to ask Turnor
a few questions, for he believed that the little man knew all about
this mysterious Renshaw. However, he made his examination carefully,
as he did not wish to startle the pair, but rather to lull their
suspicions, so that he might the more easily carry out his plans. He
had already decided upon his next step.

“You were not in London at the time of the murder, Dr. Turnor?” he
asked.

“No,” replied the doctor, promptly. “If I had been, I should have been
summoned by Mrs. Boazoph. As it was, Renshaw went.”

“Yes, I saw Renshaw,” said Fanks; “and I believe that he was right in
his theory that the crime was due to a secret society.”

“What makes you agree with my theory?” said Renshaw, quickly.

“Well,” drawled Fanks, keeping an eye on both men, “you see I can’t
find out the meaning of that tattooed cross. It must be the work of a
society, else it would not have been obliterated. If I could only find
out what that cross means I would hang someone.” Renshaw wiped the
perspiration off his bald forehead and laughed in an uneasy manner. “I
wish I could help you,” he said, “but I know nothing about the cross,
or the society.”

“And what do you say, Dr. Turnor?”

“Nothing–was away on that night. Read about cross–papers. Queer.”

Fanks saw plainly enough that the pair were on their guard, and that
there was nothing more to be got, out of them. The only thing to be
done was to watch and wait the progress of events. With this idea he
said goodbye, and took his departure. Once outside and he made up his
mind that Renshaw should be tracked. His anxiety to show that he was
leaving England appeared to be suspicious, and Fanks concluded that he
did not intend to go as he had so emphatically declared.

“I shouldn’t be surprised to find that he was Binjoy after all,”
thought the detective. “He professes a deal too much, and his friend
Turnor is a deal too eager. I shouldn’t wonder if the pair were in
league. However, I have thrown them both off their guard. Now I’ll
play my own game. I’ll find out the owner of that silver needle yet,
and then I’ll punish its owner. I wonder,” added Fanks, with a silent
laugh, “I wonder whether the criminal will prove to be black or
white?”

With this peculiar remark he went in search of the detective whose
duty it was to guard the house, and rated himself severely. “You have
let yourself be seen,” said Fanks. “Have you not more sense than to
play the fool? Keep yourself out of sight; remain here until I send
another watcher, and report yourself at the Yard.”

The detective, much abashed, tried to exculpate himself, but Fanks
would not listen to his excuses. He hurried to New Scotland Yard,
picked out a smart man, and instructed him to relieve the disgraced
watcher, and to follow Renshaw to the Docks.

“And then, sir?” asked the man.

“Then if Renshaw goes on board the steamer you will report the fact to
me without loss of time.”

“Am I to come back here, Mr. Fanks?”

“No; I shall be at the Docks in disguise. If you see a clergyman
holding a white handkerchief in his right hand you will see me. If you
are doubtful ask the clergyman what the time is, and you will be safe
as to my identity. Off with you, and send that fool back to Mr.
Crate.”

“What are you about to do, Mr. Fanks?” asked Crate, when the man had
gone.

“Learn if Renshaw is lying or not. I’ll see if he boards the steamer
at the Docks, and find out if he has taken a passage to Bombay–a fact
which at present I am much inclined to doubt.”

“And if he goes on board the steamer?”

“In that case I’ll follow him as far as Plymouth to make sure that he
does not get off there.”

“If he doesn’t?”

“I shall know that he has nothing to do with this murder.”

“And if he does get off at Plymouth?”

“Why,” said Fanks, rubbing his hands, “I shall track him to Mere Hall
in Hampshire.”

Crate looked astonished, for he could by no means follow the thoughts
of his superior. “How do you know that he will go there?” he demanded
in a disbelieving manner.

“Because if Dr. Renshaw leaves the steamer at Plymouth under that name
I shall find him at Mere Hall as Dr. Binjoy.”

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