Democratic watchman. (Bellefonte, Pa.) 1855-1940, March 23, 1928, Image 2

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    Bruna Walden.
Bellefonte, Pa., March 23, 1928.
Through the silence outside of the
brief hour before dawn, and the si-
lence of the sleeping household, Greg-
ory Dent sat at his desk and wrote.
He wrote fiercely, with a spluttering
pen, like a man who has burning mat-
ter in his brain of which he must rid
himself. In his travel-stained clothes
—he had motored ‘without a stop
from a northern town—he seemed a
little out of place in a study which
lacked no possible touch of elegance.
It was the study of a wealthy man,
and a man of taste. The two simple
bronzes which were the sole adorn-
ments of his writing table were per-
fect in outline and workmanship; the
pen with which he wrote was of beat-
en gold—a gift from an Indian nabob;
the blotter was bound in silver scroll-
work which had once decorated the
treasare box of a Burmese temple.
Grimly and forcefully the pen wrote
out its devastating message. The
man in whose strong blunt fingers it
was gripped never hesitated for a
word, never paused to reread what
he had written. It was the ruin of a
once powerful and proud commerical
undertaking which he was pronounc-
ing, but ruin which, on the hard facts,
was fully deserved.
He pursued his task without falter-
ing until its completion. Then, for a
brief space of time, he leaned back in
his chair with an air of relief.
Presently he arose, opened a cup-
board of lacquer work, brought out
whisky and a siphon, helped himself
to a drink, took up the pen once more,
and signed the sheets he had written.
Afterwards he turned over the pages
of the telephone directory, found the
number he wanted, and raised the re-
ceiver from its stand.
“Number 890 Mayfair,” he demand-
ed .... “Sir Gregory Dent speaking
from Number 17-A Hill Street. Is
that Miss Fisher’s All Night Type-
writing Agency? ... Good. Could
you send me a stenographer round at
once to Hill Street. She must bring
a machine and do half an hour's typ-
ing on the premises. And wait a mo-
ment—she can take a taxi and keep it
waiting, but stop at the corner of the
street as I don’t want to wake my
people . . . Right, then I'll expect her
in a quarter of an hour.”
He set down the receiver and for
the first time read through what he
had written. Apparently it met with
his approval, for he made no change
in any of the sheets. He lighted a
cigaret and leaned back once more in
his comfortably padded chair. Out-
side, the silence of the passing night
was still unbroken.
He rose again to his feet, walked
quietly to the door, opened it, and
stood for a moment in the hall. He
was a large man, clumsily but pow-
erfully built, with harsh features, re-
deemed to some extent by the softer
curves of his mouth. As he listened
the faintest of smiles softened some
of the hard lines. - On the floor above
Angela would be sleepping. Present-
ly, when this self-imposed task was
brought to a conclusion, he would
steal up the stairs and listen from his
dressing-room. If by any chance she
were awake . .
He returned to his seat, and pres-
ently the sound for which he waited
arrived—the sound of footsteps upon
the pavement. He left his place and
himself opencd the front door. A
plainly dressed young woman, in a
long dark coat and dark turban hat
stood there. With a little gesture im-
posing silence he ushered her into the
study and led her to the table.
“There are seven pages of very
important reports,” he explained. “I
want them typed with two copies. Af-
terwards each copy is to be put into
an envelope; the first addressed to
Lord Eustace Martinhoe, chairman of
the Dent Financial Trust, 82-B, Bish-
opgate, E. C. 2; the second to Sir
Walter Cranley, Baronet, 14-A, Scud-
damore Gardens, S. W. 1; and the
third to Jacob Houlder, Esquire, Sec-
retary to the Dent Financial Trust,
also to 32-B Bishopgate. Have you
those addresses all right?”
“Thank you, yes.”
He drew several Treasury notes
from his pocket and laid them on the
“I don’t know exactly what your
charges are,” he continued, “but work
at this time of the night is worth
paying well for. I am going to try
to keep awake long enough to see
you out, but I am very tired; if I
should drop off to sleep, put the let-
ters into the envelopes and deliver
them for me. The meeting to which
they refer is not held until three
o’clock tomorrow afternoon, but I
want them to be received several
hours beforehand. Can you be sure
of delivering them for me by ten
o’clock 7”
“Yes, I can do that.”
“Good. Then, if by any chance I
am asleep when you have finished,
don’t wake me to sign them. Just
put ‘Gregory Dent and sign them per
pro, in your own name as typist . . .
Loosen your coat if you find the room
warm. You had better put your type-
writer upon this table. Allow me.”
“Thank you, I can mange.”
With quick and deft fingers, she
slipped the machine from its case and
laid a little roll of paper by its side.
She unfastened her coat, but kept it
on, and stretched out her hand for
the copy which he offered her. She
read the first sheet quickly; at the
second she paused. Very deliberately
she looked around.
‘Gregory Dent had gone back to the
cabinet and was searching for another
siphon of soda-water. Her eyes rest-
ed upon him for a moment. At the
sound of a movement from him, she
recovered herself with an effort. By
the time he had found the siphon and
turned around. She was reading page
three with apparent absorption. When
she had come to the end of the manu-
script he noticed her pallor and the
fact that her fingers were trembling.
“You look too delicate for this
night-work,” he said, not unkindly.
“I’m afraid I have nothing to offer
you, except whisky and soda. I've
just motored up from the country,
and if I wake the servants I shall dis-
turb my wife.”
“There is no necessity, thank you,”
she assured him. “I am not in need
of anything. The room was a little
warm after the street. I am quite
all right.”
“Used to this work?” he asked,
looking at her keenly.
“I have been in my father’s office
for a year,” she confided—*“ever since
I realized that it might some time be
necessary for me to earn my own liv-
ing. I have been at Miss Fisher’s for
a few months.”
“What made you come to London?”
he asked.
She shrugged her shoulders. “I
wanted to get away from home be-
fore the crash came. Couldn’t help,
and it worried me to see my father
getting thinner and thinner from anx-
Te nodded. “A business that is go-
ing the wrong way is a cruel thing,”
he observed. “Certain you can read
this copy?”
He moved to the door to be sure
that it was closed, and dragged a
heavy screen in front of it in order
to deaden the sound still more effec-
tually. Presently the clicking of the
machine commenced. Rapidly, ex-
pertly the typist proceeded with her
Gregory Dent, his labors over, sank
into an easy chair and closed his eyes.
There would be trouble tomorrow—
trouble and plenty of it—not of his
making, though. Besides, there would
be the plaudits of all those whose
money he had contrived to save. A
happy day, on the whole, he decided.
His great task accomplished, he would
It had been a long winter, and it
was time he had a holiday. Would
Angela care for Monte Carlo? he
wondered. An excellent idea, anyhow.
Angela loved te gamble. Well, she
should gamble to her heart’s content.
Or would she prefer Cannes. with its
sunny skies and gaily crowded prom-
enade? He suddenly pictured her up-
on the Croisette, strolling arm in arm
with him. Yes, it must be Cannes,
he thought drowsily. . . .
Presently he dozed for a few min-
utes. The click of typewriter ceased.
He opened his eyes with a queer sense
of disquietude and looked into the
face of death.
Benskin, hardened though he was
to the sight of tragedy, gave a little
shiver of horror as he leaned down to
make his examination of the man,
who, an hour before, had been so
full of life.
“Death,” the doctor pointed out in
a hushed whisper, “must have been
almost instantaneous. "You see, he
was shot apparently at close range
by a bullet which went straight
through the heart. I doubt whether
he had time even to realize what had
Benskin glanced round the room.
The sergeant, a policeman, and an
awed and trembling butler in the
background were its sole remaining
“Is the body exactly as you found
it?” he asked the sergeant.
““The doctor was the first one to
touch it, sir,” the sergeant assured
“Any weapon?”
“Not a sign of one.”
“Anyone here before you?”
“Only the maid who found the body
and the butler. Neither of them came
farther into the room than the cor-
ner of the screen. The butler tele-
phoned at once from the hall, lock-
ing up the room. He handed me the
key upon my arrival.”
“Then he was probably shot from
the corner of the screen,” Benskin re-
flected, examining a slight cut in the
dead man’s head and a smear of
blood upon the leg of an overturned
chair. “You are sure that nothing
else has been touched, sergeant?”
“Certain, sir” was the firm reply.
“According to the doctors, Sir Greg-
ory must have been dead for a couple
of hours at least, but no one seems
to have heard the shot, or to have
had any idea that anything happened.
A maid came into the room as usual
at about seven o’clock. She rushed
away screaming and fetched the but-
ler. It seems that Sir Gregory, wno
had been up in Manchester on busi-
ness, was not expected home last
night. He must have arrived some
time after the household had gone to
bed and let himself in with his latch-
“Do you know of whom the house-
hold consists?”
“Only Lady Dent, so far as I can
find out. There are no children and
ro one staying in the house.”
“Has Lady Dent been told yet?”
“Not to my knowledge.” The doctor
moved towards the door. “I shall
have to prepare my report,” he said.
“The body will have to be removed
to the mortuary, too, as soon as you
have finished your examination. There
is nothing more I can do.”
He took his leave, and Benskin
turned towards the sergeant.
“Is there anyone else who sleeps in
the front of the house?” he asked.
“Lady Dent’s maid. She has been
used to sleeping in the dressing-room
apparently when Sir Gregory has
been away.”
“Go and fetch her.”
The sergeant obeyed, and presently
ushered in a pale-faced, petite
Franchwoman, with fluffy hair and
deep-set eyes. Benskin handed her a
“You are Lady Dent's maid, I un-
derstand,” he said. “Tell me your
“Celeste Vignolle, Mecnsieur,” she
replied, with a little break in her
voice. “I have been her Ladyship’s
maid for two years. Oh, but what a
“Has anyone told her Ladyship
what has happened?”
“Mon Dieu, no!” the girl exclaimed,
wringing her hands. “Who would
“As the doctor has gone, I am
afraid I must,” Benskin decided.
“There is a dressing-room, I under-
stand, adjoining her Ladyship’s bed-
“Certainly, sir. I sleep there when
Sir Gregory is away.”
“You slept there last night?”
“Yes. sir. Sir Gregory was not
expected home.”
“You heard nothing?”
“Nothing, Monsieur.”
“No shot, or the opening or clos-
ing of doors?”
“Nothing at all, sir. I was out
myself till midnight. Her Ladyship
had given me permission.”
“Was her Ladyship out too?”
“No, sir. I put her to bed before
I went out at ten o’clock.”
“When you came back did you en-
ter by the front door?”
“Yes, sir. Her Ladyship lent me
her latch-key.” :
“Was there any light in the study
“No, sir.”
Benskin reflected for a moment.
“Take me up-stairs,” he directed.
“Tell her Ladyship that someone is
waiting to speak to her and ask her
to see me for a moment in the dress-
ing-room. And Mademoiselle, I wish
to be the first one to tell her of what
has happened. You understand. You
do not mention the police.”
The girl shuddered. “Is it I who
would wish to speak of these things?”
she cried. “Her Ladyship will be
She hurried away, and Benskin fol-
Jowed her up-stairs. From the dress-
ing-room into which she ushered him,
he listened. She was apparently
obeying orders, for scarcely a sen-
tence was spoken. It was all the
more of a shock to Benskin, therefore,
when Lady Dent appeared. She was
young—she seemed little more, in-
deed, than a child—with beautiful
deep-set eyes and fragile complexion.
She had the air, however, of one al-
ready in the throes of mortal terror.
She was shivering in every limb and
ghastly pale.
“What has hapepned?” she cried.
“Who are you and what do you
want ?”
“How do you know that anything
has happened Lady Dent?”
“How dc I know—" She stopped
herself suddenly. “What do you do
here? Who are you? What is all
this mystery?”
“What time did you go to bed last
night, Lady Dent?” Benskin inquired.
“At ten o’clock,” she replied. “I
had a headache.”
“Did you hear any sounds in the
night 7”
“Did you expect your husband to
come home?”
“Of course not. He is coming this
afternoon, in time for a meeting at
three o'clock. Tell me who you are
and what you want.”
“My name is Benskin, and I am
very sorry to bring you bad news,”
was the sympathetic rejoinder. “Your
husband returned last night and met
with an accident. He appears to have
been shot.”
“A serious one, I fear.”
“You mean—"
“I mean that he is dead.”
The woman threw up her arms,
gazed at him for a moment with dis-
tended eyes, and sank sobbing upon
the bed. In a moment, however, she
was on her feet again.
“But this is horrible!” she cried
“Do you mean that he shot himself 2”
“Either that,” Benskin replied, “or
he was murdered.”
She held on to the foot of the bed.
“Murdered! But who could have
murdered him?”
“That is what I want to find out,
and so, I am sure, do you,” Benskin
said. “Will you permit me, Lady
Dent, to glance into your room?”
She sank upon the bed, waving him
away. He rang the bell for her maid
and passed into the bedroom beyond.
At the room itself, with its apple-
green decorations, its French bed-
stead, its charming furniture he
scarcely glanced. He stood for a mo-
ment at the window, drew aside the
chintz curtains and looked down into
the street. He was in the room for
less than a minute altogether. Then
he made his way down-stairs back in-
to the jealously guarded study.
Benskin locked the door on the in-
side and commenced his search. First
of all, he stood for several minutes
at the writing table, examining the
traces of its recent use. He removed
the sheet of blotting-paper and placed
it in his pocket, held the ink-pad up
to the light, moved back to the dead
man’s side, and, turning his right
hand over gently, found a smudge of
ink upon the forefinger.
The tumbler, with its dregs of
whisky and soda, was still there and
a half-burnt cigaret. The telephone
book stood open, and Benskin made a
note of the page. Then he went
through the drawers and took poses-
sion of some loose pages of manu-
script he found there, which he ex-
amined through a pocket microscope.
Afterwards he searched the room
meticulously, but in vain, for any
trace of the missing weapon. Finally
he rang for the butler.
“I understand that Sir Gregory was
not expected home last night?” he
“He certainly was not, sir,” the
man replied. “I should have received
orders to have waited up, or to have
left some things out for him.”
“And no one in the house has any
idea as to what hour he arrived?”
“No one, sir. The servants’ quar-
ters lie rather far back, and we
shouldn’t hear anything that took
place in the front of the house, or in
the street.”
Benskin nodded. “The room had
better be kept locked up for another
hour,” he ordered. “The sergeant will
stay with you in case anything is
wanted, and the doctor will be here
again later on. If Lady Dent has any
close friends or relatives in the vi-
cinity they had better be sent for.”
“Very good, sir.”
He departed, and Benskin beckoned
to the sergeant who had been waiting
in the hall.
“It appears that you were quite
right and that Sir Gregory was not
expected home last night,” he con-
fided. “He arrived unexpectedly, ob-
viously for some special reason. He
wrote letters imemdiately on his ar-
rival, and telephoned. Disconnect the
other telephone, sergeant, and answer
every inquiry yourself from here un-
til I see you again. All messages
that come through to the house to. be
censored, You understand?”
“Quite well, sir,” the sergeant as-
sured him. re
Benskin gave one last pitying
glance at the crumpled figure upon
the floor. Then he started out in
search of the murderer,
The young woman who was pres-
ently shown into the waiting room eof
Miss Fisher’s Typewriting Agency, in
response to Benskin’s inquiry some
ten days later, impressed him from
the first with her good looks, her
composure and complete self-control.
“You wish to see me?” she asked.
“l am Miss Horton.”
“I wished to see you,” he admitted,
handing her a card. “Forgive me for
not sending in my name.”
She glanced at it and looked across
at him with no sign of alarm. “A de-
tective,” she observed. “What do you
want with me?”
“I have come to you on somewhat
serious business,” he replied, “and 1
should tell you at once that although
I should advise you to be frank with
me, if you have nothing to conceal.
vou are not obliged to answer my
“There is no reason why I should
“Then why didn’t you come forward
at the inquest on Sir Gregory Dent
and give your evidence?”
“Why should I? I wasn’t summoned.
I could tell the police nothing. Sir
Gregory was quite all right when I :
saw him last.”
“Nevertheless you seem to have
been the last person who saw him
alive,” Benskin reminded her. “I am
quite sure that you have intelligence
enough to know that that makes your
evidence important.”
She made no reply beyond the
merest shrug of the shoulders. “Any
other questions?”
“You typed three letters for Sir
Gregory Dent that night, the delivery
of which would practically have de-
stroyed the chance of your father’s
firm being included in the Dent cot-
ton amalgamation scheme,” Benskin
continued. “Not one of those com-
munications reached its destination.”
This time her composure was dis-
turbed. How can you possibly know
what I typed?” she exclaimed, with a
little start.
“I will set you a good example,”
he declared “by answering your ques-
tion. I know because I found the
original copy, which Sir Gregory had |
written with his own hand, in one
of the drawers of the writing-table.
I knew he had probably written it
that night because his fingers were
badly smudged with ink; there was a
telephone book open upon his desk,
from which I discovered quite easily
that he had telephoned for a stenog-
rapher to this office and that you
had answered the summons. There
were other signs of a typewriter hav-
ing been used. I discovered that those
communications had never been de-
livered at their destinations, by in-
quiry in the usual course.
was that your father’s firm—which,
if Sir Gregory Dent was not misin-
formed during his visit north, is in a
precarious financial condition—w as
included in the amalgamation and re-
lieved of its responsibilities.”
“You are quite clever,” she admit-
ted. “Any more questions?”
Benskin reflected for a moment.
“Who let you in when you arrived at
the house, and what time was it?”
“About half past three. Sir Greg-
ory let me in himself. There seemed
to be no one else up.”
“You saw no one else all the time
you were in the house?”
“Not a soul. If I had, I might have
thought of coming and giving evi-
dence. As it is, nothing 1 could say
would have been of any use.”
Benskin looked at her steadily. “I
wonder,” he suggested, “if it had oc-
curred to you that without Sir Greg-
ory’s death it would have been use- |
less for you to have suppressed the
In other |
delivery of those letters?
words, Sir Gregory Dent’s presence :
at the meeting the next afternoon !
would have meant your father’s ruin.” |
“I am not so sure,” she replied, |
after a moment’s hesitation. “Sir
Gregory was very unfair in his stric-
tures, and the other directors might |
have taken a different view. Of |
course,” she went on, “I can see what !
you're aiming at. You are suggesting |
that I murdered Sir Gregory Dent.” |
“You were, at any rate, the last |
person known to have been with him,” |
Benskin reminded ker, “and further-
more you had a motive.”
“On the other hand,” she objected,
“how can you believe it possible that
I went there with any such idea in
my head? He rang up the typewrit-
ing office quite unexpectedly. I nev-
er heard of him before. I answered
the call because I happened to be
the girl on duty.”
“A good point,” Benskin admitted.
“Besides,” she added, “I never fired
a pistol in my life. I shouldn’t know
what to do with one if I had it.”
“Then what was this one doing in
your room?” Benskin asked, produc-
ing a weapon suddenly from his pock-
She stared at it transfixed. “In
my room?” she repeated. “I never
saw it befove.”
“Really!” he murmured. “Yet it
was found in your apartment at Cran-
ford Court, carefully wrapped up in
brown paper and hidden in the bot-
tom of one of your drawers. With it
was this pocketbook, which, as you
will see, contains a very considerable
sum in bank-notes. I have ascer-
tained that the pocketbook was the
property of Sir Gregory Dent.”
“I never saw either the pistol or
the pocketbook before,” she insisted.
He replaced them in his pocket,
“What were you doing at a typewrit-
ing agency in London?” he asked.
“Your father was in a very large way
of business. There could have been
no necessity for you to earn your own
“Perhaps there wasn’t,” she admit-
ted, “but my father had taken us all
into his confidence. We knew that
the crash was likely to come. I pre-
ferred to be independent when it ar-
He nodded. “A reasonable explana-
tion,” he admitted. “Now Miss Hor-
ton,” he went on, “I am going to
speak to you very seriously. I repeat
that you were the last person known
to have seen Sir Gregory Dent alive.
You had a sufficient motive for the
The result ;
lit carefully in his pocket.
' crime, apart from the theft of the
| pocketbook. Sir Gregory was killed | ed
i by a bullet from a weapon of some-
| what peculiar guage. This weapon,
| which was found concealed in your
| room, is of the same guage.
“No—don’t speak for a moment,
i please. You must understand, as a
i young woman of common sense, that
; the situation is extremely serious. I
i should be perfectly justified in arrest-
‘ing you at this moment. Is there any-
‘thing you can_tell me, as the repre-
i sentative of the police, which woud
! assist us in tracing the murderer of
Sir Gregory? Think over that ques-
i tion, please. I shall ask you no oth-
| “Nothing,” she answered stubborn-
| “Then I can only wish you good
{ morning.”
{ “You aren’t going to arrest me
then 7”
“There is no charge against you at
present. Stop! There is one more
question I am going to ask. When
i you left the house, the taxicab, I un-
! derstand, was waiting for you at the
corner of the street. You closed the
: door softly?”
© “As softly as I could,” she an-
swered. “It made a certain amount of
i “Did you hesitate at all upon
pavement, or look back towards
house 7”
She looked at him curiously.
wonder why you ask me that,” she
!said. “As a matter of fact, I was
trying to get away quietly and I
dropped my typewriter. I had to
‘stop and pick it up, and I did look
| back at the house to see if I had dis-
'turbed anyone.”
i Benskin’s smile of satisfaction was
| cryptic.
i “One last word, Miss Horton,” he
concluded. “Don’t attempt to leave
! your apartments or change your mode
iof living. You will be under sur-
veillance for the present. Good morn-
Benskin had his first conference
with the sub-commissioner that af-
,ternoon. When he had concluded his
report, the latter looked across the
desk at him in surprise.
i “But my dear Benskin,” he protest-
ed, “surely on that evidence you
‘ought to apply for a warrant against
the young woman.”
! “I can get it at any moment,” Ben-
skin pointed out, “and she is, of
| course, under police surveillance. At
i the same time,” he went on earnestly,
| “forgive me, Major Houlden, if I am
even a little overanxious not to put
ia person on trial for her life until I
iam perfectly convinced in my own
, mind of her guilt. She probably did
i kill Sir Gregory, and if so she will
| have to answer for it. She can’t es-
jcape. 1 promise you that—but I
once made what I always felt was a
moral mistake. I don’t want to do
that again. I want to be sure.”
The sub-commissioner was not al-
together sympathetic.
: “I don’t blame you for being care-
ful, Benskin,” he admitted, “but you
can’t bring the kid-glove business in-
i to a case of this sort. If there is any
i other person in the world against
i whom you can collect as much evi-
. dence. as you have against this wom-
an, bring him in. A day or two long-
er won't hurt us. However in the
| language of the Scots—‘I hae me
‘ doots.* ”
' “And I my fears,” Benskin ac-
i knowledged.
Benskin, waiting in the lounge of |
a popular Dansant Restaurant, drew
frora his pocket the dossier for which
he had applied a few mornings be-
fore, and read it through carefully.
“HERMYANAS. Of Greek par-
entage, born in the Argentine.
Age, probably thirty-two. Pro-
fessional dancer in Nice and
Monte Carlo. Understood to
i have left the Riviera on account
of money trouble. First engaged
at Marabout’s Cabaret Club for
six months; afterwards opened
small but fashionable night club
called Lamb’s Cabaret. Under-
stood to be the sole proprietor.
Financial reputation now excel-
lent. Understood to have woman
backer. Nothing against him in
this country. Reputation on Ri-
viera indifferent.”
He folded up the report and placed
Almost as
he did so the young woman for whom
he was waiting entered. In her very
smart clothes and from her generally
chic appearance, few people would
have taken Celeste for a lady’s-maid.
“Medemoiselle,” Benskin murmured,
rising to his feet and confronting her.
She looked at him pleasantly, but
with no sign of recognition.
“We met,” he reminded her, “un-
der somewhat unhappy circumstanc-
es. ~
All the gaiety seemed to fade from
her face. “You are the detective!”
she exclaimed.
“There is not the slightest need to
be frightened of me,” he reassured
her. “I am not really very formidable.
Are you alone? Might I have a few
minutes with you?”
He spoke in French, and the sound
of her own language seemed to soothe
“I am alone,” she admitted, “but—
you will not speak of that—I cannot
bear it.”
“I have ordered some tea,” he said
as he drew his chair confidentially
towards her. “Mademoiselle,” he con-
tinued, “it is not my wish to disturb
you, yet I have a word or two to say
about that night.”
“But why should you speak of it
“You forget,” he reminded her,
“that it has become my business to
trace the murderer of Sir Gregory
“But how can I help? Why do you
speak to me about it?”
He looked at her for a moment as
though measuring her powers of re-
sistance. She had, he decided, more
nerve than he had at first given her
credit for.
“Mademoiselle,” he said, “fortun-
ately you were not called at the in-
quest, so you have no statement upon
oath, but your account of that night’s
proceedings was not true, and I am
going to give you an opportunity of
correcting it.”
“What do you mean?” she demand-
“You told me that you went out
on the night of Sir Gregory Dent’s
death and returned about midnight.”
“Well 7”
“It was not you who went out. It
was her Ladyship.”
Celeste was silent.
“A serious affair like this,” he ex-
plained gravely, “requires very care-
ful investigation, and you know in the
long run everything becomes known.
Lady Dent, it appears, is passionate-
ly fond of dancing, and Sir Gregory,
naturally, objected to her visiting
night clubs and those places. When-
ever there was an opportunity you
changed identities. You are reason-
ably alike, and you wear the same
clothes. This arrangement enabled
Lady Dent to spend many evenings:
away from home, when even the ser-
vants believed that it was you who
was out so late. On that particular
night you remained in the dressing-
room, and it was you who went to
bed at ten ’oclock. Her Ladyship went
out. Where? At what time did she
“I can tell you nothing, Monsieur,”
Celeste declared, and now there was
dawning terror in her face.
“You must understand,” he went on:
gently, “that in the end I shall dis-
cover everything. You do no good by
keeping silent. You only force me
to remember that you have made a:
false statement to the police, which is:
niore or less a criminal offense. Con-
sider, Mademoiselle. You have no
one to harm. You have yourself to:
She toyed nervously with her hand-
kerchief. The music of the jazz band
seemed to be filling the air with mock-
“Where did her Ladyship go, and
what time did she return?” Benskin
asked again. “Remember you can do
her Ladyship no good by refusing to
answer. You can do yourself a great
deal of harm.”
“She went to the Lamb’s Cabaret.
Club,” Celeste confided slowly. “She:
returned about two o’clock.”
“The Lamb’s Cabaret Club,” Ben-
skin repeated, “run, I believe, by a
man named Hermyanas whose private
address is in Cranford Court.”
“Perhaps,” she admitted. “I db not
“ Her Ladyship returned alone?”
“How should I know ? I was in:bed.””
“In bed in the dressing-room ad-
joining the bedroom,” Benskin re-
minder her, with a touch of sternness
in his tome. “Isn't it true, Made-
moiselle, that Hermyanas returned
home with her Ladyship?”
She locked up at him piteously.
“Mademoiselle,” he said, “it is pain
ful, I know, but the truth must come
“Mr. Hermyanas came back with my
mistress just before two,” she ac-
knowledged. “It was madness. I told
her Ladyship so. She would never
listen to me. She was folle about
him, and he—when Sir Gregory was
ill—he hung about all the: time. He
believed if anything happened she
would marry him.” :
Benskin summoned a waiter and
paid for the tea which neither of them:
had touched. Then he rose to his
feet. .
“You are a very sensible girl,” he
said, “and I shall forget that first
story of yours. Now you must come
with me for a little time.”
“You are not going to arrest me?”
she cried.
He shook his head. “Not formal-
ly,” he assured her. “I shall have ta:
take you somewhere: where you cam
communicate with no one for the next
few hours. Afterwards: you will be:
free to go home, or wherever you:
Benskin unfolded’ his napkin, or-
dered a bottle of wine, and looked
around with interest. and! admiration
at the furnishing and’ decoration of
London’s smallest and most select:
‘night club. :
| “Charming!” he murmured to the
| attentive maitre d’hotel who stood by
! his side. “Is it true Mr. Hermyanas:
is the sole proprietor?”
The man shrugged his shoulders.
“One believes: so,” he admitted,
“He is here: tonight 2?”
“But certainly.”
“Will you say that a gentleman
would like a word with him as soo
as possible.” :
The maitre d’lotel bowed and de-
parted to execute his mission. Pres-
ently a dark sallow-skinned young
man of medium height, dressed with
meticulous care, approached the table
with a slight swagger.
“You wish to speak to me,” he ob-
served condescendingly.
“I do,” Benskin assented. “Will you:
sit down for a moment. The matter
is confidential.”
Hermyanas fingered his eye-glass.
“This is rather my busy time,” he re-
marked. “If it is anything to do with
joining the: club—"’
“It is not,” Benskin: interrupted. “I
do not as a rule frequent night clubs.”
Something in his manner must have
seemed to the other ominous, for he
subsided into the indicated chair with
a nervous little gesture. Benskin
leaned over towards him.
“Hermyanas,” he warned him, “do
not try any tricks. I have a warrant
for your arrest.”
There was a livid streak in the
young man’s face. His fingers gripped
at the table-cloth..
“My arrest!” he gasped. “You are
joking. I have never broken the
laws. We serve no drinks after hours.
“You are arrested on a more ser-
ious charge,” Benskin told him grave-
Iy—“on the charge of murdering Sir
Gregory Dent on the morning of the
thirteenth. It is my duty to caution
you, Hermyanas, that I am bound to
take note of anything you say.”
There was no instant fear of speech
from Hermyanas, for with a terrified
little groan he collapsed in his chair.
When he came to himself, the hand-
cuffs were upon his wrists and the
gallows before his eyes.
The sub-commissioner offered his
compliments to Benskin the following
morning. He had a few questions to
ask, however.
“How did you come to connect Her-
myanas with the affair at all?” he
“That came about quite naturally,”
(Continued: on Page 7, Col. 1)