At least, I wouldn't give it up until he delivered to you the other cabinet which Vantine really bought." "Oh, I'll make him do that," I agreed quickly. "That will no doubt take a few days longer than that if Vantine's cabinet is in Paris." Godfrey raised a finger to the waiter, asked for the check, and paid it. "And now let us go down and have a look at this one," he said, "as we intended doing.
"After all," went on Godfrey, at last, "there is one thing that neither you nor I nor any reasonable man can believe, and that is that this Frenchman came from heaven knows where from Paris, perhaps with Vantine's address in his pocket, and hunted up the house and made his way into it simply to kill himself there. He had some other object, and he met his death while trying to accomplish it."
Vantine's permission to open the drawer and take out the letters. His death interfered with this, and, in despair, she came to me. I need hardly add, that no member of her family knows anything about this matter, and it is especially important that her husband should never even suspect it. On her behalf, I apply to you, as Mr. Vantine's executor, to restore these letters to their owner."
"Very good, sir," said Parks again, and I hung up. I glanced through Godfrey's account of the affair while I ate my breakfast, and noted with amusement the sly digs taken at Commissioner Grady. Under the photograph of the unknown woman was the legend: MR. VANTINE'S MYSTERIOUS CALLER
"I just wanted to tell you, Lester," he said, "that your guess was right. The mysterious Frenchman came over on La Touraine, landing at noon yesterday. He came in the steerage, and the stewards know nothing about him. What time was it he got to Vantine's?" "About two, I should say." "So he probably went directly there from the boat, as you thought. That accounts for nobody knowing him.
"All right," I said without further parley, for evidently he had lost his self-control. "Something has happened down at Vantine's," I added to Godfrey, as I hung up the receiver. "Parks seems to be scared to death. He wants me to come down right away," and I reached for my hat and coat. "Shall I come, too?" asked Godfrey.
There was another caller, who had awaited my return a tall, angular man, with a long moustache, who introduced himself as Simon W. Morgan, of Osage City, Iowa. "Poor Philip Vantine's nearest living relative, sir," he added. "I came as soon as possible." "It was very good of you," I said. "The funeral will be at ten o'clock to-morrow morning, from the house." "You had a telegram from me?"
Lester, Commissioner Grady," said Goldberger, and I realised that the chief of the detective bureau had come up from headquarters to take personal charge of the case. "Mr. Lester is Mr. Vantine's attorney," the coroner added, in explanation. "Glad to know you, Mr. Lester," said Grady, shortly. "And now, I guess, we're ready to begin," went on the coroner. "Not quite," said Grady, grimly.
I rang for the hall-boy, asked for a cable-blank, and sent off a message to Armand & Son, telling them of the mistake and asking them to cable the name of the owner of the cabinet now in Mr. Vantine's possession.
Royce, as soon as he reached the office, and spent the rest of the day arranging the papers relating to Vantine's affairs and getting them ready to probate. Parks called me up once or twice for instructions as to various details, and Vantine's nearest relative, a third or fourth cousin, wired from somewhere in the west that he was starting for New York at once.