IN the entrance hall of the Langham Freyberger drew a long, black,
poisonous-looking cheroot from his pocket and lit it.
Then he buttoned his overcoat and prepared to depart. He felt jubilant.
The whole of the pieces of the puzzle had fallen into their places under
the influence of his intellect, and now this new sidelight had pointed
at the possible road to the absolute and final move, which would allow
him to place his hand upon the creator of the puzzle, and say: “You are
He was just going down the steps when a voice from behind said, “Excuse
He turned and saw Hellier.
“I would like a moment’s conversation with you,” said the barrister.
“Certainly, certainly,” said the other, in a not too amiable voice.
“What can I do for you?”
“If you will allow me to walk a few hundred yards with you, I will
explain myself. Please don’t think I want to interfere in this case, but
I have sworn to give all the help in my power, and I think I may be able
to make a suggestion to you that may be useful.”
“I have made a special study of forensic medicine and criminology, and
this has occurred to me.
“I will tell you what I think in a few words. This Müller accomplished a
deeply reasoned out and intricate crime in Paris eight years ago. Well,
having done that, his reason withdrew herself, exhausted possibly, but
the lust for killing excited by the crime, remained and grew and had to
be satisfied. He strangled three people.
“We know of lots of cases where a lunatic has a grudge against the whole
female or male sex, and kills for the pleasure of killing. It is rarer
for a man of this description to have a grudge against the whole of
humanity and to murder indiscriminately, but it occurs.
“We find these people perfectly sane in other ways; they are just tigers
let loose when their reason becomes weakened.
“So we have Müller, a man of profound intellect, suddenly, under the
thirst of blood, turned into a killing machine. He kills three people,
no more, for the fit passes. He is gorged for years, till he commits a
new murder and the fit returns.”
“Proceed,” said Freyberger, in a hard voice; for what Hellier had just
said was the very thing he had been thinking to himself.
“Well, as Müller did eight years ago, so, in all probability, he will do
again. He has murdered a man in Cumberland. The thirst for blood, or
rather human life, will most probably seize him again. And all you have
to do to catch him is to wait. I will wager my reputation that this
beast will repeat his actions like some horrible automaton, and that
within the next few days you will have a case of motiveless murder to
investigate, and that if you catch the criminal it will be Müller.”
Freyberger did not reply. What Hellier had just said was exactly what he
(Freyberger) had been thinking.
It is not pleasant to find one’s astuteness matched. He had put all his
energy and mind into the Gyde case, and here was a stranger pointing out
to him the course to take for the completion of the affair; and, worst
of all, the right course.
He quite forgot that it was due to Hellier’s researches that these
subsidiary crimes had been connected with the Lefarge case.
He was, in fact, human, and he was jealous.
“What you have said,” he replied, “may have something in it.”
“I think, myself, it may have a good deal in it,” replied Hellier,
nettled somewhat at the other’s assumed indifference and the chilliness
of his tone.
“Well,” said Freyberger, “the matter is in our hands, and you may be
sure everything will be done that is needful. We do not, as a rule,
require outside help or suggestions in our work. I wish you good night.”
“That’s the professional detective all over,” thought Hellier, as he
watched the departing figure of Freyberger. “They work in one set
groove, they have ideas handed down from generation to generation. I was
amazed at this man’s perspicuity at first, and now I find him just one
of a class. Well, if he doesn’t see much in my idea I do, and I will
keep my eyes open, and if I see a chance I will profit by it.”
IF Hellier could only have seen into the consciousness of our friend
Freyberger, he would have admitted that the latter, although a
professional detective, had an open mind, and was not entirely bound up
Freyberger, as in duty bound, took a cab and made as fast as a London
cab-horse could carry him, through London traffic, towards the Yard. At
the Yard the Chief was just getting into his motor-car, when he saw
Freyberger he beckoned to him.
“Come with me,” he said, “I am going on a case.”
Freyberger knew what that meant.
Some crime of extra magnitude had just taken place.
When the chief went in person like this, it meant big things.
He got into the _tonneau_ without enthusiasm, for he had so much on his
mind that he did not relish the prospect of an additional burden, and
the car started.
It passed up Regent Street and then up Oxford Street in the direction of
the Marble Arch, and straight on towards Notting Hill Gate. At Notting
Hill Gate it turned down Silver Street, and turning the corner into High
Street, Kensington, headed for Hammersmith.
It had not gone more than a couple of hundred yards in this direction
when it slowed, and a mounted constable, who had been slowly patrolling
the street, turned his horse, and putting it to the trot led the way,
turning sharply to the right from the High Street up St James’s Road.
St James’s Road, not far from the grounds surrounding Holland House, has
a touch of the provincial town suburb about it; every house has a garden
in front of it, and every garden has one or more trees. It is a good
middle-class neighbourhood; a few of the houses are let out in furnished
apartments, though no bill or sign indicates the fact, but the majority
of the inhabitants are of the professional or retired business class.
About the middle of the road, by the right-hand kerb, a crowd of people
could be made out.
The car slowed down and stopped a few yards from the crowd, the chief
and Freyberger alighted, and, led by a constable, passed through the
throng up a garden path.
The hall door, at which they knocked, was opened by a constable.
“You have the body here?” asked the chief.
“Yes, sir,” replied the man, saluting.
“Bring us to it.”
The constable opened a door on the right of the passage, disclosing a
comfortably furnished sitting-room. A man was standing with his back to
the mantelpiece. It did not require the tall hat, standing on the table
with the stethoscope beside it, to indicate his profession. A
middle-aged woman, evidently recovering from some great agitation, was
standing by the table, and on the floor lay something covered with a
“Shut the door,” said the chief to the constable; then turning to the
“You are a doctor?”
“Yes,” replied the other. “I was summoned nearly an hour ago, and have
waited at the request of the police till your arrival. Life was extinct
when I came.”
“Thank you,” said the chief. “Sit down, Freyberger. A pen, ink and
paper, please. Thanks.” Then to the constable, “Were you the officer
“I was called at ten-fifteen, being on point duty, arrived to find
deceased lying on the pavement in front of his house. He was black in
the face; and, thinking it was a case of a fit, I unbuttoned his collar
and attempted artificial respiration on the pavement, as he lay, but
without success. This lady, here, was standing by the corpse; there was
also a crowd of some ten or twelve people.
“This lady told me deceased lodged with her and that she believed he had
“I had him conveyed into this room, sending messengers for a doctor, and
to the High Street, Kensington, Police Station. I again attempted
artificial respiration, and was so engaged when this gentleman arrived.”
“Thanks. Now, sir,” turning to the doctor, “may I ask you just to state
the facts within your knowledge?”
“I was called at ten-thirty, about. I live in the High Street. My name’s
Mason. I found deceased here upon the floor and the constable attempting
artificial respiration. Life was extinct.”
“How long had the man been dead?”
“A very short time; possibly not more than half an hour, perhaps less.”
“Cause of death?”
“Strangulation. The man has been, in my opinion, garrotted, seized from
behind by the throat and literally strangled. The thyroid cartilage has
been broken, and there are the marks of fingers upon the skin of the
“No other marks or wounds?”
“I have found no other.”
“Thanks. Constable, remove the sheet.”
The officer stripped away the sheet, revealing a terrible spectacle.
Upon the floor lay the body of a middle-aged man, judging from the
scanty hair streaked with grey; the face was of a dull purple, the
tongue and eyes were protruding.
The body was well dressed in a frock coat and grey pepper and salt
“Had he been robbed?” asked the chief of the constable.
“No sir; the watch and chain, valuable ones evidently, were intact, also
the money in his pockets.”
“Now,” said the chief, turning to the woman, “what do you know about
She told her tale in a broken voice.
Deceased had lodged with her for some years. His name was Goldberg, a
retired City man and well-to-do. Always of an evening he went out before
retiring to rest, and took a short walk up and down the road, rarely
being absent more than ten minutes.
This evening he had gone out as usual. She was in the front bedroom
upstairs, closing the window and about to pull down the blind, when she
heard a stifled cry from the street, and looking out saw two men
struggling on the pavement just before the garden gate.
She could not tell in the least what the men were like, for the light
was very indistinct.
She ran downstairs. Her husband was out, and she had no one in the house
She put the hall door on the chain and, opening it as far as possible
with the chain on, she peeped through the opening.
She saw a dark form on the pavement beyond the garden gate. It did not
There was no sound to be heard, and, plucking up courage after awhile,
she opened the hall door and came down the garden path towards the gate.
Mr Goldberg was lying on the pavement, “all of a heap.” She screamed,
and a woman from over the way came across the road. The woman ran into
the High Street for assistance, and a policeman came. The woman across
the way had seen nothing of the two men or the struggle.
“Had Mr Goldberg any enemies, to your knowledge?”
“No, sir, he was the best and kindest of men.”
“Had he any relatives?”
“No, sir, only a brother in Australia.”
“Has he heard lately from his brother, do you know?”
“Yes, sir; he had a letter only yesterday.”
“Well, Freyberger,” said the chief, “have you any question to ask?”
“None, sir; but, if you will permit me, I will have that crowd cleared
away from the street outside. I would like to examine the road.”
“How many men have you outside?” asked the chief of the constable.
“Go and clear the crowd away. Send for assistance, if necessary.”
“If you will permit me, sir,” said Freyberger, “I will go with the
“Do so; I will wait here until your return.”
Freyberger left the room. He did not return for some twenty minutes.
“Well?” asked the chief, when he returned.
“I would like to have a moment’s conversation with you in private, sir.”
The doctor had already gone, the chief asked the landlady to withdraw,
and Freyberger and he found themselves alone in the room with the
“I have found nothing, sir,” said Freyberger, “I went as a matter of
routine. I have, of course, searched narrowly the pavement, the gutter
and the road for any possible trace, any dropped article that might
possibly furnish a clue. I did not expect to find anything.
“Because, sir, the man who has murdered Mr Goldberg is not a man to
leave clues behind him.”
“You know him, then?”
“I believe I do, sir. I believe the man who has just committed this
crime is no other than Klein, _alias_ Kolbecker, _alias_ Müller.”
The chief made an impatient movement.
“You must have that man on your brain,” said he. “What on earth
connexion can you make between this and the Gyde case?”
“One moment, sir; you have had a large experience. Have you ever come
across an exactly similar case to this, that is to say, the case of a
harmless, elderly gentleman strangled openly in the street for no
“No, I can recall no such case.”
“The fact of strangulation alone marks it as a crime by itself.
Murderers use every sort of weapon save their own hands.”
“The hand, as a rule, is the weapon of the madman.”
“Well, sir, I will tell you, in a few words, why I connect this crime
with the case of Sir Anthony Gyde.”
He then detailed the facts he had learned about the crimes that had
followed the murder in the Rue de Turbigo.
The chief listened attentively.
“So you think—?” he said.
“I think, sir, that the ravening beast roused in Klein’s brain by the
murder committed in Cumberland is now beginning to show itself by its
actions. I think if we do not seize Klein over this business another
murder of the same sort is sure to occur. Maybe several more. Our main
hope is to track him now. If we miss him now, we will have several more
chances, but that will mean several more victims. With your permission,
I will not return with you to the Yard to-night, I will remain in this
neighbourhood. There is a strong possibility that he has a den somewhere
round here, in the shape of a furnished room. I wish to remain about the
spot. I will take a room here for the night, if the woman of the house
will let me have one. I must get a list of all known lodging-houses in
the neighbourhood, and I must be on the spot here early in the morning.”
“Very well,” replied the chief; “act as you think fit. I give you a free
hand in the matter.”
Freyberger accompanied him outside. He got into the motor-car and drove
off, and the detective was returning to the house when a stranger, who
had just come up, accosted him.
“I am on the General Press Association,” said the stranger; “you are, I
believe, Inspector Freyberger. Can you give me any details of the crime
“Certainly,” replied Freyberger, with suspicious alacrity. He gave a
short account of the murder, which the pressman entered eagerly in his
“Any details known as to the appearance of the murderer?” asked the
representative of the General Press Association.
“The landlady says that, as far as she could see, the assailant was a
tall man with a black beard,” replied Freyberger.
“Thanks,” replied the other, “good night.” He hurried off jubilantly to
get his copy in and Freyberger went up the garden path to the house.
“When Klein reads that description of himself in the morning papers,”
said Freyberger, to himself, “he will smile, if that face could ever
smile. It will make him feel even more secure than if the truth were
told that the landlady could not describe the assassin at all. Of
course, the coroner’s inquest will contradict what I have said. Well, we
must get hold of the reporter at the inquest and doctor his account.
Damn the Press, for one criminal it catches it assists in the escape of
“Now, what will Klein do first thing to-morrow morning? He will most
possibly buy a newspaper, therefore every newspaper shop in the
neighbourhood must be watched.
“I say, most possibly. I would have said, most probably, were Klein an
“However, we must leave no stone unturned.”
WHEN Hellier opened his paper next morning, he read the following
Terrible Murder in Kensington!
City man assassinated upon his own doorstep!
Clue to the murderer!
He read the report hurriedly through, then he read it slowly, dwelling
on all the details.
After his prediction to Freyberger the night before, this thing came
horribly pat; it had been happening, perhaps, just as he was talking to
He felt the triumph of the man who has prophesied and whose prophecy has
The only thing that troubled him was the description of the murderer:
“Tall man, with black beard.”
Klein was clean-shaven and of middle height; but the disguise of a beard
was the commonest disguise of all; and as for the height, the assassin
was seen in semi-darkness, which enlarges, and the observer was a
Hellier well knew the magnifying effect of terror.
Yes, without doubt, this was the expected crime. Just as an astronomer
predicts the appearance of a comet, he had predicted the commission of
The fact of strangulation clinched the matter.
He breakfasted hurriedly, debating in his own mind as to what course he
There is nothing which blinds the intellect more than a pre-conceived
idea. Hellier’s opinion of the professional detective was as favourable
as most people’s, but he held the idea, rightly or wrongly, that the
professional detective was a person of machine-made methods. Freyberger
was a professional detective.
Little knowing that Freyberger was at the moment hot on the trail of the
murderer of Mr Goldberg, the idea came to him of calling at the Yard and
attempt to interview Freyberger.
He dismissed the idea almost as soon as it was conceived, for, whatever
he knew of detectives, he had sufficient knowledge of men to understand
that the little German would brook no interference, and take advice more
as a personal insult than as a compliment.
He determined to act on his own initiative, to find out what he could
for himself; but first he had to call upon Mademoiselle Lefarge.
He arrived at the Langham about ten o’clock.
His interview with her did not last more than twenty minutes. He said
nothing of the murder of Mr Goldberg; the thing was such a horrible
basis to build hope upon that he shrank from mentioning it.
Besides, he had other things to talk of.
Cécile Lefarge, in Boulogne, even at their first meeting, had been
attracted by Hellier. When he left Boulogne, she had told herself that
she cared very much for him, telling herself at the same time that it
was useless, that love for her was not. She told herself this with a
certain philosophic calmness.
Meanwhile, her love for him was growing. The philosophic calmness
vanished and gave place to pain, a dull, aching pain, almost physical.
A pain that only Hellier could relieve. He, in London, was suffering
from an exactly similar pain, that only she could relieve, which
condition, affecting two people at the same time, constitutes the
He left the Langham about half-past ten, and, taking a cab, drove in the
direction of Kensington.
He wished to see the place of the tragedy; he had no earthly idea of
what he should do when he got there, he had only the fixed determination
to do something. Often, when we have no idea of what we are going to do,
a whole host of ideas on the subject in question are forming themselves
in the sub-conscious part of our brains.
He dismissed the cab in the High Street and took his way on foot to St
A small crowd, constantly drifting away and as constantly renewed, stood
before the house.
Hellier mixed with it and listened to its comments. Then, walking up St
James’s Road, he examined the houses with a critical eye.
Klein was an artist. Great as his talents might be, he was unknown, a
Bohemian; and these upper middle-class houses, these little gardens so
carefully tended, the road itself and the atmosphere of the place were
the very antithesis of everything Bohemian.
He turned from St James’s Road into Lorenzo Road, which, did places
breed and multiply, might have been St James’s Road’s twin brother.
Pursuing Lorenzo Road, he arrived at St Ann’s Road.
St Ann’s Road has slightly gone to decay.
We find, sometimes, in the most prosperous districts, roads or streets
that do not prosper; for some mysterious reason they go down in the
world, premature age touches them, lichen and shabby-genteel people
invade them, milk cans hang like tin fruit on the iron railings, and
barrel organs infest them as buzz-flies infest carrion.
The houses in St Ann’s Road were semi-detached, with considerable
gardens back and front; drunken-looking notice boards leaned here and
there over the railings, setting forth the fact that here and there a
house was to let.
Hellier was coming along the road, seeking an exit to the High Street,
and determining in his own mind to make inquiries of all the house
agents in the neighbourhood as to the studios to be let and the streets
where such studios might be found.
He was feeling acutely the almost utter hopelessness of this wild-goose
chase, when, coming out of one of the shabby-genteel gardens just in
front of him, he saw a man.
The man looked up and down the road. He must have seen Hellier, but he
showed no sign of having done so. Then he walked rapidly away in the
direction in which Hellier was going.
Hellier walked rapidly too, although he found some difficulty in doing
so, for, at the sight of the man’s face, which he beheld for only a few
seconds, his heart paused in its beating and then became furiously
St Ann’s Road just here is cut by Malpas Road, leading down to the High
The stranger turned the corner into Malpas Road and was lost to sight.
Just as he doubled the corner he saw the stranger turn his head and then
walk on rapidly.
If the stranger had noticed Hellier at first and the distance he was
off, he must have noticed now that the distance was strangely decreased,
in other words that Hellier had run after him and was in pursuit.
When the stranger reached the High Street a motor-omnibus was just
passing. He jumped on board, and the omnibus pursued its way.
Hellier hailed the omnibus, but the conductor was not looking and it
pursued its course. There was not a cab to be seen. If there had been,
of what use could he have made of it? He had no warrant of arrest in his
pocket. He had done mischief, if anything, for the stranger most
probably had recognized the fact of the pursuit.
This last was a bitter thought, for, in Hellier’s mind, lay the firm
conviction that the stranger was Klein.
He had seen the photograph of Klein. It was a face that once seen could
not easily be forgotten. The likeness, at all events, was strong enough
to have acted on.
It is true, he had no warrant of arrest in his pocket; well, what of
He told himself now that he should have acted instantaneously regardless
of all consequences, pursued the stranger at full speed, called upon him
to stop, raised the hue and cry, accused him of theft, even, done
anything to get him safely into a police cell, whilst the Yard was being
rung up and the central authorities communicated with.
Of course, if the man had turned out to be not Klein, but some one else,
he, Hellier, would have found himself in a very serious position.
What of that? The future of the woman he loved was involved. _She_ would
have forgiven him, and what did he care for all the rest of the world,
for the sneers of the papers, the chaffing of his brother barristers,
the fines or imprisonment that might have followed?
He had lost a chance.
The capacity to sum up a great situation, weigh everything and act
instantaneously, is a gift possessed by not one man in a million, and
the man that possesses it is generally a millionaire, a proved leader of
armies, a captain of men.
These thoughts were passing through Hellier’s mind as he walked slowly
back along the High Street, casting about him for some means by which he
might repair his blunder.
He, at least, knew the house from which the stranger had come, and he
felt that the best possible course to pursue was to find Freyberger and
inform him of the occurrence.
But where was the detective to be found?
He might call at New Scotland Yard and try to interview him there, but
that meant a loss of time. He knew that all the London police stations
were telephonically connected with the Yard, and he determined to go to
the nearest and state his case to the inspector on duty, asking him to
communicate with the central authorities.
The nearest station was that of High Street, Kensington, and he was just
turning down the archway that leads to it when he almost cannoned
against the man for whom he was seeking.
FREYBERGER had slept scarcely three hours during the night, yet he
looked quite fresh.
He had done a tremendous lot of work in the way of putting out nets.
He had as complete a list as could be obtained of the lodging-houses in
the neighbourhood, every early morning coffee stall in Kensington and
Bayswater had been kept under surveillance, also the newspaper shops.
The tube stations at Notting Hill Gate, Holland Park, Shepherd’s Bush,
and Queen’s Road, Bayswater, had been watched, and the result, up to
this had been the arrest of one man who had easily proved his identity
and the fact of his innocence.
The bother was that Klein’s description as to dress could not be given.
Only the fact that he was pale, clean-shaven, of the middle height and
spoke with a German accent.
“How fortunate,” cried Hellier; “you are the very person I wished most
“Mr Hellier, I believe,” replied the other, who did not seem at all
enthusiastic at the meeting. “What can I do for you?”
“Will you walk a few paces down the street?”
“It’s this way,” said Hellier. “I read in the papers this morning of a
“The murder of Mr Goldberg.”
“You remember what I said to you last night?”
“Well, it occurred to me that this was the crime we were waiting for.”
“I was unaware that I was waiting for any crime,” said the other.
“Well, you remember my predicting that a crime of this nature would
“An easy prediction in London, where we have a murder every second day.”
“Not strangulation without an apparent motive.”
“Well, well; what do you wish to say about it?”
“Well, convinced in my own mind that the author of this crime was also
the criminal in the Gyde and Lefarge cases, I determined to come up here
and look about.”
“To play the rôle of an amateur detective, in short.”
“Yes, but please don’t misunderstand me. My object is not curiosity. I
will be frank with you. I love Mademoiselle Lefarge, and I can never
hope to marry her till her father’s name is cleared.”
“You wish to marry this lady and cannot do so till her father’s name is
cleared. Is that what I understand you to say?”
“Well, shall I tell you how you can best help to clear her father’s
“Go home and forget about it all; leave the matter in the hands of
professional men who know how to act. Nothing interferes so much with us
“Perhaps, but you know chance sometimes gives a clue where intelligence
fails to find any. What would you say if I told you that I believed I
had seen Klein, the man you are looking for, this morning?”
Freyberger started, but recovered himself instantly.
“I would say that I believed you to be mistaken.”
“Yet I have seen a man whose face closely resembled that portrait you
showed us last night.”
“In St Ann’s Road, close to St James’s Road. I strolled along it by
chance this morning, after visiting the scene of the murder, and, coming
out of one of the houses, I saw this man.”
“I followed him to the High Street. There he got on to a motor-omnibus
and I lost him.”
“You lost him!”
“It was not my fault, for I could not stop the omnibus and there were no
“It does not in the least matter,” said Freyberger, in a tone of assumed
indifference, “for it was a thousand to one you were mistaken.”
“If that is your opinion,” said Hellier, angry at the other’s tone,
“there is no use in our discussing the matter further. I wish you good
“Stay a moment,” said Freyberger.
“You say you saw this man coming out of a certain house. Can you
recognize the house again?”
“Well, as a matter of form, I will accompany you there.”
Hellier hesitated a moment, then he conquered his sense of pique and
turned in the direction of Hammersmith.
They walked, scarcely exchanging a word. Freyberger’s mind was filled
with anxiety, expectancy and a sense of deep irritation.
There was something exasperating to him about Hellier. This outsider had
already cast so much light on the case; was it destined that he should
“This is the house,” said Hellier, when they had reached the place.
“Empty,” replied Freyberger, looking over the railings.
It was the only detached residence in the road, all the other houses
The garden was neglected and the front windows blindless and dusty.
Freyberger opened the gate and, followed by Hellier, walked up the path
to the front door. He knocked and rang, but there was no reply.
“Let’s try the back,” said Freyberger; “some people live in the back
premises and only keep a hall door for ornament.”
But no one, apparently, lived in the back premises of No. 18 St Ann’s
A glassed-in verandah ran along the whole of the back.
Freyberger tried the verandah door, it was locked. Some green shelves,
containing a few empty flower-pots, were visible; against one of the
shelves stood a hoe, on the blade of the hoe some dark brown traces of
earth proclaimed to the eye of the detective that the instrument had
been used quite recently, and not for hoeing but for digging.
“There is no one here,” said Freyberger.
“No one now,” replied Hellier, “but there has been some one.”
“Oh, yes, no doubt; one might say the same of Sodom and Gomorrah, or
“If Klein has been here, if this is one of his hiding places, he may
“If,” replied Freyberger.
They were walking back down the garden path.
At the gate Hellier made one last attempt to infect the detective with
his own idea.
“Could you not get a search warrant and search the place?”
This remark completely broke Freyberger’s temper down, and the German
“Search warrant! You talk like a child, not like a man. Warrant to
search for what? Flower-pots? What I will do in the case I will do. I
wish for no interference. I wish you good day.”
He turned to the left, towards Malpas Road. Hellier to the right.
“Fool,” thought Hellier, “pig-headed ass; no matter—wait.”
“Swine-hound,” thought Freyberger; “directing _me_ what to do! Search
Freyberger turned the corner, walked a hundred yards down Malpas Road
and then came back.
Hellier was not in sight. The detective waited for a moment or two to
make sure, and then approached No. 18.
He entered the gate, closed it behind him, and made for the back garden.
Here he stood for a moment, looking about him with eager eyes. Then he
began searching about on the ground attentively, as a person searches
who has dropped a coin.
There was a fairish sized grass plot, on which the grass was rank and
long. A gravelled walk lay round it, and a flowerless flower bed between
the walk and the garden wall.
There was no sign of a bootmark anywhere, though the ground was soft and
there had been no frost on the previous night.
The gravel was disturbed on the walk leading to the verandah, but that
In that portion of the garden where digging was possible there was no
sign. Yet the hoe had been used quite recently, and a sure instinct told
him that it had not been used in the front garden, where observation was
possible, but here, in this place that was overlooked by nothing but
blind walls and the back windows of an empty house.
Suddenly his eye was struck by an object upon the flower bed by the rear
A half-withered cabbage leaf. There were withered leaves and to spare in
the garden, but this was the only cabbage leaf. Nothing looked more
natural or in keeping with the general untidiness of the place. A
thousand men hunting for traces would have disregarded it.
Freyberger walked towards it and picked it up.
The bit of ground it had covered had been disturbed.
In a moment, digging with his naked hand, he had unearthed a flat,
morocco leather-covered box. He opened it, it was a jewel case and
empty. Upon the silk lining of the cover was the name and address:
“Smith and Wilkinson, Regent Street.”
Smith and Wilkinson, Sir Anthony Gyde’s jewellers.
He unearthed another box, and yet another.
The sweat stood out in beads upon his forehead.
There was something in the Gyde case that affected him as he had never
been affected before. Perhaps it was some effluence from the obscure and
diabolical mind with which he felt himself at war; perhaps it was the
extraordinary intricacies of the pursuit, and the foreknowledge that the
creature against whom he had pitted himself was at once a demon, a
genius and a madman. Perhaps it was on account of all these reasons
that, when he unearthed these recent traces, his soul turned in him and
a furious hunger and hatred filled his heart.
The hound hates the thing he is pursuing. The lion hates the buck. All
hunting is an act of vengeance; not for food alone does the pursuer
chase the pursued, but from some old antipathy begotten when the world
At times Freyberger, in his unravelling of the Gyde case, was seized by
an overmastering desire to have his hands upon the creature he was
pursuing and to drag him to his death.
It is one of the laws of mind that the ferocity of the pursuer increases
at each double and shift of the pursued.
Carefully searching with his hands in the soft earth and finding nothing
else, Freyberger smoothed the soil, replaced the cabbage leaf and
carefully effaced his traces on the gravel of the walk. Then, with the
jewel cases in the pocket of his overcoat, he approached the house.
He examined the lock of the verandah door. The affair was so shaky that
he could have burst it in with a kick, but violence was the last thing
to be used. He drew from his pocket what the thieves of Madrid term a
“matadore”; what the Apachés of Paris term a “nightingale”; what an
honest man might call a piece of thick wire about a foot long, but of
such material as to be fairly easily bent or straightened without danger
He bent one end of this piece of wire and introduced it into the lock,
just as a surgeon introduces a probe into a sinus. Having explored the
mechanism, he drew out the wire, rebent it, introduced it, and with a
turn of his wrist opened the door.
Then he carefully pushed the bolt of the lock back, entered and pulled
the door to.
There was nothing in the verandah, with the exception of the
flower-pots, the hoe, and an old watering pot that had lost its rose.
The door leading into the house gave upon a passage floored with
linoleum. On the right lay a room entirely destitute of furniture, on
the left a sitting-room decently furnished, with the embers of a fire
still smouldering in the grate.
The remains of some food lay upon the table in the middle of the room,
also upon the table a copy of _The Daily Telegraph_ of that day.
This, then, was the den of the beast, the home of the demon. Nothing at
all pointed to the fact. It was just the sitting-room of a man in
somewhat reduced circumstances, an honest man, or a rogue, as the case
There was a tobacco jar on the mantelpiece, and in it tobacco and a
bundle of cigarette papers; a pair of old slippers stood beside the
armchair on the right of the fireplace.
A pile of newspapers stood in one corner of the room, and in another lay
an old valise.
Freyberger opened the valise. There was a suit of clothes in it, nothing
else—a frock coat and waistcoat and a pair of trousers.
They were evidently the production of a first class tailor, though the
little squares of glazed linen, bearing the customer’s name, which all
good London tailors affix to their productions, both under the collar of
the coat and inside the strap of the waistcoat, had been removed.
Freyberger returned the things to the valise and replaced it in the
corner, then he began a minute inspection of the room.
He examined the pile of newspapers. They were all recent and dating from
the day after the murder committed in the Cottage on the Fells. _Daily
Telegraphs_, _Daily Mails_, _Westminster Gazettes_, every sort and
condition of newspaper, and in each of them was a report, more or less
full, more or less varying, of the Gyde mystery.
He returned them to their corner and resumed his search of the room,
examining every hole and cranny, lifting the hearthrug and fender,
exploring the contents of the trumpery vases on the chimneypiece and
finding nothing of much importance, if we except the sheath of a case
knife lying behind one of the vases.
He left the room and went upstairs to the bedrooms. They were all empty,
clean swept and destitute of anything to hold the eye.
The person he was in pursuit of, if he lived in this house, evidently
slept upon the old couch in the sitting-room, and did not trouble much
about the conveniences of life.
Freyberger returned to the sitting-room, sat down in the armchair, just
as though he were at home, took a cigar from his pocket and lit it.
He was in the tiger’s den. At any moment it was quite within the bounds
of possibility that the door might open and the terror, having let
himself in by the verandah, enter the room. This was not what made
Freyberger feel uneasy, but rather the thought that the unknown might
have noticed Hellier following him and taken fright.
Freyberger was quite unarmed; yet, had his sinister opponent entered the
room at that moment, he would have arrested him just as he had arrested
the Fashion Street murderer, and borne him, without doubt, in the same
manner, to justice.
But though absolutely destitute of fear, he was by no means destitute of
caution; and as he sat smoking and waiting, he was revolving in his mind
the question of calling in help.
That involved leaving the house, and that might involve total failure.
At any moment the quarry might return. He decided to wait.
The door of the room and the door leading to the verandah were open, so
that he could easily hear the approach of anyone from the back premises
and quite as easily the approach of anyone from the hall door.
It was after half-past two now. The house was deathly still; there was
not even the ticking of a clock, the whisper of a breath of wind from
the garden outside or the movement of a mouse behind the wainscotings to
break the silence.
Occasionally the rumble of a passing vehicle came from the road, nothing
It was after three when the watcher suddenly started, sat straight up in
the armchair and listened intently.
The front garden gate had been opened and shut with a clang, a step
sounded on the gravel and a loud double rap at the hall door brought
Freyberger to his feet.
He sprang from the room, came down the passage, undid the chain and
bolts of the hall door, unlatched it, flung it open and found on the
steps a telegraph boy.
“Gyde?” said the boy, holding out a telegram.
“Yes,” said Freyberger, taking it.
The boy turned and went off whistling, and the detective, having
rebolted the door, returned to the sitting-room with the telegram in his
He tore it open.
“Handed in, London Street, Paddington, 2.15. Received, High Street,
“Be sure to meet me at six.”
That was all; no name, no address. Freyberger sat down in the armchair,
with the telegram in his hand; he was thunderstruck.
He reread it, then looked at the envelope.
It was addressed:
“Gyde, 18 St Ann’s Road, Kensington.”
This thing quite upset his calculations. It was addressed simply to
“Gyde.” It is not a common name; yet, of course, there were thousands of
people of that name beside Sir Anthony. But, taking into account the
jewel cases discovered, this telegram could have been sent to no one
else but Sir Anthony.
That meant that he was alive. Freyberger was convinced that the man seen
by Hellier was Klein. If Gyde were alive, then he must have been staying
here at No. 18 St Ann’s Road. Klein had also been staying here.
Therefore Gyde and Klein were working in collusion.
That would mean that Sir Anthony Gyde had entered into a partnership
with this man, Klein—for what purpose?
For the purpose of murdering some unknown man in a cottage on the Fells
of Cumberland, and doing it in such a manner that Klein would appear to
be the victim and he, Sir Anthony Gyde, the murderer.
By extension it would mean that Lefarge, long ago, had entered into a
similar partnership with Müller. The thing was preposterous.
What, then, was the reason of this telegram?
All at once an explanation of it flashed across Freyberger’s mind. Could
it be a “blind?” Could Klein, suspecting Hellier of following him,
suspecting a trap of the police, have sent this message?
Freyberger had constructed Klein in his own mind from all sorts of
fragments—the two photographs, his handwriting, his methods. The man, if
he was a man and not a demon, was a master of subterfuge.
The momentary insanity which had caused him to strangle Mr Goldberg
would not in the least interfere with his reason.
“Now,” said Freyberger to himself, “if he noticed Hellier following him,
his reasoning would have run like this:
“I left a man dead in a road close by here last night; I came out this
morning and was followed by a man who was very much alive and who had
something of the cut of a detective.
“No one saw me last night. Why, then, did this man follow me? Can it be
that they suspect that I, who was supposed to be murdered in Cumberland,
am alive? Can they have circulated my description? It will be safer for
me not to go back to No. 18 St Ann’s Road, and, to confuse Messieurs the
Police, should they set a trap there, I will send a telegram to Gyde at
that address, so that they may be reconfirmed in their idea that Gyde is
still in the land of the living and Klein in the land of the dead.
“No one saw me last night but the landlady, and her description will
scarcely help the police against me: a tall man with a black beard.
Freyberger suddenly leapt to his feet.
“What possessed me! What possessed me to use such a simple artifice in
the pursuit of this man, who, whatever else he may be, is half a
logician, half a magician?
“When he read that description in _The Daily Telegraph_ this morning,
what said he to himself? He said ‘Why this exact description of a man
who was not there?
“‘It is either the landlady’s terror that caused her to see what was
not, or it is a device of the police. Now the police never use a device
like that, which, after all, clouds a case to a certain extent, unless
they have some important reason.
“‘Of course, it may be simply due to the terror of the landlady, yet
this false description, widely circulated, coupled with the fact that I
have been followed, is, to say the least, suspicious.’
“That would be the line of his argument. Double fool that I was to
forget that I was dealing, not with a criminal but a genius in crime.
“This man forgets nothing, foresees everything.
“I have been a fool, and yet—” Freyberger’s face unclouded a bit. “Is
there another man in London who would have dug into his plans so deeply
as I have done, connected the Lefarge case with the Gyde case and proved
him indubitably the prime mover in both?
“A few days ago I knew nothing about this man whom Sir Anthony Gyde is
supposed to have murdered. What do I know now? What have I discovered by
the aid of my own intelligence? I know his name, his face, his mind in
part. I know that he has not been murdered by Gyde; I am almost assured
that he has murdered Gyde.
“I know that, under the name of Müller, he was not murdered by Lefarge;
I am almost assured that he murdered Lefarge. I know that he is a
homicidal maniac, whose pet method is strangulation.
“I know that he has about him Gyde’s jewellery, of which he is sure to
try to dispose. I know that he has lived here; I know the address where
he lived in Howland Street. But my most important knowledge is the
knowledge of the statue and the bent of his mind.
“I have accumulated a mass of evidence that will damn him and crush him
whenever I catch him, a mass of evidence that will clear two innocent
men and expose to the world’s gaze the greatest and most complete
villain that the world has ever beheld. Come, it is not so bad. I have
committed a fault; I tried to match him at his own game of subterfuge,
and that telegram was my answer. Alas! I am not so clever as he. But I
have this in my favour, that I know much about him and he knows nothing
“I have seen his hand, he has not seen mine.
“The question remains, what shall I do now? Remain here or go? Remain by
all means, even if I have to remain till to-morrow morning. If he comes
back I will seize him. If he does not come back, then I will know
definitely that he has taken fright, that he suspects, and that he is,
indeed, the murderer of Goldberg.”