Only the vaguest possible idea," I added hastily, as his eyes widened with interest; "altogether too vague to be put into words. But I can say this much the mystery, whatever it is, is in the ante-room where the bodies were found, or in the room next to it where the furniture is. Now, I am going to lock up those rooms, and I want you to see that nobody enters them without your knowledge."
Now came the klop-klop of a pair of sabots then the creak of a heavy key as it turned over twice in the rusty lock, and his faithful Marie cautiously opened the garden door. I do not know how old Marie is, there is so little left of this good soul to guess by. Her small shrunken body is bent from age and hard work.
Moments later the bay's inner lock cycled open and a small group of warriors approached him, the central one wearing honor-black. Medart straightened, then bowed and addressed that one. "I am Prince James Medart of the Empire in Alternate Alpha Prime. You do me honor, Warleader, wearing ceremonials. Am I prisoner, or guest?" The Sandeman returned the bow.
"Then while I was at my wits' end I remembered the lock of hair all that remains to us of her," and Leo touched his breast. "I drew it out and compared it with the Khania's, and at the sight of it she became quite different, jealous, I suppose, for it is longer than hers, and not in the least like.
"Good-night," said I, finally, bowing as if I were taking leave of a formal acquaintance at the end of a formal call. She did not answer. I left the room, closing the door behind me. I paused an instant, heard the key click in the lock. And I burned in a hot flush of shame shame that she should have thought so basely of me.
I was glancing into it myself in a spirit of idle curiosity only the other day. It contains nothing except a few knick-knacks on an upper shelf. You could lock yourself in from the interior, and be quite comfortably seated on the floor till the household retired to bed." "When would that be?" "They retire quite early, sir, as a rule. By half-past ten the coast is generally clear.
'Oh, Dick, pray don't, whispered Kate. 'What does it matter; it will be daylight in a few hours. 'That's all very well, but I tell you he has no right to lock us out; he's a licensed hotel-keeper. Are you game, Mortimer? We can burst in the door with our shoulders. 'Game! said Mortimer, in a nasal note that echoed down the courtyard; 'partridges are in season in September.
With a crash the lock suddenly gave way, and the door swung open; but no rush of attack came out of the darkness. One man carried the light in and held it high above his head. There was no movement, no sound. The room was empty! "That was warm work while it lasted," said Martin as he locked the door.
"Sorry I'm late," said Haines. "Shall I tie your horse?" The fast ride had blown colour to her face and good spirits into her eyes. She smiled up to him, and as she shook her head in refusal her eyes lingered a pardonable moment on his handsome face, with the stray lock of tawny hair fallen low across his forehead.
His right arm hung limberly down in a graceful perpendicular, unaffected by the galloping motion of his horse, and his fingers were clasped about the lock of a repeating rifle, pointed muzzle to the ground.