"You have said that before." Bruce replied irritably. "What I am thinking about at present is my own awkward position. Shall I go to the police and tell them everything or shall I respect confidence?"Mr. Charlton's melancholy eyes seemed to be fixed on space. Just for the moment he had forgotten that he was not alone. Lawrence gave a sympathetic cough. As a matter of fact, he had not yet explained what he was doing there, and the longer the explanation was postponed the better he would be pleased.Maitrank, in his shirtsleeves, was smoking one of his black cigars. He made no apology for his attire nor for the rank tobacco between his yellow teeth. How different the last time when they had met in the millionaire's office.CHAPTER XX. "UNEASY LIES THE HEAD." 广西快三和值走势图 Lawrence dropped "The Star" and gazed at the speaker with absolute amazement."Well, upon my word, I fancy it was something like it," said Lawrence. "There was a hero like yourself, only he wasn't a doctor, and a girl like Hetty. Also there was a mysterious assignation in the corner house after midnight, and, as a matter of course, a body. None of these stories are complete without a body." CHAPTER XLIX. IN THE DEAD OF THE NIGHT.In the first place, the corner house was already marked as the scene of one unsolved tragedy. For years it had been shut up, for years the boys of the locality had challenged one another to go down the area steps after dark, for years nobody had crossed the threshold. Then the door had been left open for the public eye to look on another tragedy."Wonderful!" she cried. "Ah, to have a gift like that. To think that the human voice----" "I have come to have a chat with you," she said with her most brilliant smile, "on the subject of the Corner House. They tell me you have made an arrest that by a wonderful chance will have an important bearing on the case.""A word with you, Dr. Bruce," he said. "These notes, 190753 to 190792, were in the possession of the man found murdered at the corner house in Raven Street. We know they were stolen from him. The next day they were paid here in purchase of some furniture.""I hope there is nothing wrong, sir," asked Prout."Where am I?" he murmured, faintly. "He knew more than he would tell," said Prout."If I could get into the house," Hetty said, "I would cheerfully do what you ask.""He was. You didn't know he was dead, yet you guessed how he died. He was the victim of what you call the Corner House----"The official-looking man stepped forward. As he came into the light Bruce recognised him for Sergeant Prout. A sense of uneasiness came over him. Prout touched his cap and then indicated the notes. 广西快三和值走势图 The puzzled and slightly dissatisfied audience poured out of the inquest hall with a feeling that they had been defrauded. There was no chance of a verdict of murder against Bruce after the last two bits of startling and quite unexpected evidence. Two credible witnesses had proved that one of the people who had called Bruce to the corner house had remained after he had left. The case was just as fascinating, and at the same time as puzzling as ever. The real culprit as yet might have to be found, but there was no getting away from these facts about the stolen banknotes. Still, the coroner's jury were not called to try that question, and at the suggestion of Prout the matter was adjourned for a month."Just a moment," Leona said eagerly. "Suppose I deny that. How are you going to prove that I did so?"It was not a bad day's work, and it spurred on Prout to fresh endeavours. He carefully examined the fireplace, he tested the windows, but nothing rewarded his endeavours beyond a blacklead-brush thrown into the corner of the scullery together with a cake of blacklead recently opened."Lytton Avenue houses are large and they have gardens." "That is like a breath of old times," he growled, as he finished the flask. "Let me light a cigarette and then we'll talk again. I am going to try you high, dear lady. I am going to test your story.""What better time could we have than tonight?" "Take them back to the place where you purloined them," Maitrank grinned."When I have finished," Hetty replied. "You heard Dr. Bruce's message. He said that child should not be left. You may urge that I am sufficient, but there is a time for a mother's care. If I had my way you should not go."They should stay there for all time, those stones with the blood upon them, but now, when they were being carried off by the woman who had robbed him of all that life holds dear, Charlton's passion flared out.In the shadows Hetty listened to as much of the talk as she could hear. But nobody was going to leave the house without her knowledge. Behind the hangings in the hall she waited. Her patience was not unduly tried. There was a light footstep presently, a pause as if of precaution, and the Countess came downstairs. Her hair had become blonde, there was a lace shawl over her head, her skirts were short and trim. "It shall be done," he said hoarsely. "Speak.""Don't stop to ask questions," Leona panted. "Get along quickly. Go home by as long a route as you can. Ah, they are coming."Hetty unlocked the desk and searched as desired. 广西快三和值走势图 "But you are not going to Aldershot tonight. Captain Gifford?" Leona asked. "A cab? How extravagant!""Is it the corner house again?" Bruce suggested playfully."I'll tell you," she said. "I procured a letter of yours. I cut out words here and there, and made a long letter of them. Then I had the whole thing photographed. After that my task was easy, it was only a matter of time. Even from a child I always had a gift that way. If you will give me paper and pen I will show you."Nothing mattered now, the thing was done, the victory accomplished. In a vague kind of way Hetty heard the cry of rage and disappointment uttered by her companion, she felt the key snatched with cruel force from her hand, there was a whirl of draperies and footsteps flying down the stairs. She broke off, her voice rose to a scream. She grew whiter far than the linen about her shoulders. Balmayne laid his hand on her mouth in an instant."Got to get down there all the same," Balmayne grunted. "I'll make a loop in the rope and put my foot in it. You used to be pretty strong at one time. I suppose you can manage to let me down safely?"Leona Lalage laughed aloud. The touch of those cool fingers thrilled her. To go away now, to abandon it all just when----. Ah, the thing was impossible. She might just as well have cast herself off Waterloo Bridge.Leona Lalage fell back with a faint cry. Just for a moment she covered her eyes with her hands. Lalage stood like a statue. He smiled, but there was nothing of mirth in it.Leona Lalage held herself up talking bravely about the weather, whilst Prout was dumb with admiration of her audacity. Her very recklessness inspired his respect. He little knew of the deadly fear and suffering concealed behind that smiling mask. The last thing he saw as he closed the door of the brougham was an averted face and a small hand.