despite the wind and rain and fog, a crowd quickly gathered in the dusk in montagu square.
"what's going on here?" constable mulgrave shouted. "who's crying murder?"
" it's this gentleman here," exclaimed a woman at mulgrave's elbow.
gentleman? the individual indicated looked to mulgrave's eye to be more likely a manservant, perhaps a butler.
still, more believable than most of the riffraff he dealt with...
138. a door in the rain
"pull yourself together, fellow. now, let's hear about this alleged murder. slow and easy, if you please."
"oh, i am together, officer," craver exclaimed to constable mulgrave. "it's my poor master, mister barbourforth, who is no longer together. who has been most savagely murdered!"
"ah, and where has this savage murder been done, if you please?"
"right there, constable, in that house right there."
and constable mulgrave, following the line of craver's pointed finger, saw a house in the fog with a light apparently flashing off - from a front door which had not been closed behind whoever had run from it, and was swinging back and forth in the rain and wind.
"well then, let's have a look."
mulgrave followed craver back to the house.
139. in the fog
"you bloody fool! you blithering coward!"
valentine corgrave, stumbling through the fog and rain, called after the disappearing form of his erstwhile companion in crime, gobbins.
but it was no use. gobbins had taken a few good whacks from the butler craver when he had suddenly descended on them - from god knows where - as valentine and gobbins were searching the home of mr barbourforth , but valentine had been seriously wounded in the fray.
blood was streaming down his face from a deep gash on his head, and he had taken another fearful blow on his knee, which was now swelling up and making it impossible for him to run.
gobbins disappeared in the fog.
and they had not found the damned document!
all for naught!
garland couldn't sleep, much as she desired release from her distressed and self-lacerating thoughts.
rain was beginning to fall against the single window in her little room.
she got up to make sure the window was tightly closed.
she saw headlights coming down the drive.
it was the family limousine, with pothers at the wheel.
who was in the back?
inside mr barbourforth's house a frightful tableau of violence was displayed.
inspector flanders surveyed it with stolid imperturbability.
"you got a good look at these villains, did you?" he asked craver.
" indeed i did, sir. more than a good look, i gave them a good lick. one of them, especially, i wonder he got away."
"yes, quite. did you recognize them by any chance?"
"i recognized one of them very well indeed."
"who was he, then?"
"a young man calling himself armistead - kelvin armistead."
143. the inspector is skeptical
"judging from the position of the body, and the lack of any sign of struggle, i deduce that the deceased was taken quite by surprise."
"oh, i am sure he was, sir, i am sure he was."
"and these two rascals you describe, you let them in yourself?"
"oh no, sir, it was my night off."
"your night off?" the phleghmatic flanders seemed almost surprised at this.
"yes, it was only by the purest chance that i returned to find them at their grisly work."
"you don't say so." inspector flanders was always skeptical of "purest chance" but of course did not say so.
"this armistead fellow - what do you know of him?"
"why, nothing really. only the name - the name he gave."