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Chapter 13 The Luggage In Room Nineteen

  • John Quincy emerged from sleep the next morning with a great effort, an_ragged his watch from under the pillow. Eight-thirty! Good lord, he was du_t the office at nine! A quick bath and shave, a brief pause at the breakfas_able, a run past the Public Gardens and the Common and down to School Street—
  • He sat up in bed. Why was he imprisoned under mosquito netting? What was th_eaning of the little lizard that sported idly outside the cloth? Oh, yes—Honolulu. He was in Hawaii, and he'd never reach his office by nine. I_as five thousand miles away.
  • The low murmur of breakers on the beach confirmed him in this discovery an_tepping to his window, he gazed out at the calm sparkling morning. Yes, h_as in Honolulu entangled in a murder mystery, consorting with Chines_etectives and Waikiki Widows, following clues. The new day held interestin_romise. He must hurry to find what it would bring forth.
  • Haku informed him that his aunt and Barbara had already breakfasted, and se_efore him a reddish sort of cantaloupe which was, he explained in answer t_he boy's question, a papaia. When he had eaten, John Quincy went out on th_anai. Barbara stood there, staring at the beach. A new Barbara, with the ol_ivacity, the old joy of living, submerged; a pale girl with sorrow in he_yes.
  • John Quincy put his arm about her shoulder; she was a Winterslip and th_amily was the family. Again he felt in his heart that flare of anger agains_he "person or persons unknown" who had brought this grief upon her. Th_uilty must pay—Egan or whoever, Brade or Leatherbee or the chorus girl. Pa_nd pay dearly—he was resolved on that.
  • "My dear girl," he began. "What can I say to you—"
  • "You've said it all, without speaking," she answered. "See, John Quincy, thi_s my beach. When I was only five I swam alone to that first float. He—he wa_o proud of me."
  • "It's a lovely spot, Barbara," he told her.
  • "I knew you'd think so. One of these days we'll swim together out to the reef, and I'll teach you to ride a surfboard. I want your visit to be a happy one."
  • He shook his head. "It can't be that," he said, "because of you. But becaus_f you, I'm mighty glad I came."
  • She pressed his hand. "I'm going out to sit by the water. Will you come?"
  • The bamboo curtain parted, and Miss Minerva joined them. "Well, John Quincy,"
  • she said sharply, "this is a pretty hour for you to appear. If you're going t_escue me from lotus land, you'll have to be immune yourself."
  • He smiled. "Just getting acclimated," he explained. "I'll follow you in _oment, Barbara," he added, and held open the door for her.
  • "I waited up," Miss Minerva began, when the girl had gone, "until eleven- thirty. But I'd had very little sleep the night before, and that was my limit.
  • I make no secret of it—I'm very curious to know what happened at the polic_tation."
  • He repeated to her the story told by Mrs. Compton and Leatherbee. "I wish I'_een present," she said. "A pretty woman can fool all the men in Christendom.
  • Lies, probably."
  • "Maybe," admitted John Quincy. "But wait a minute. Later on, Chan, and _ollowed up your newspaper clue. And it led us to a startling discovery."
  • "Of course it did," she beamed. "What was it?"
  • "Well," he said, "first of all, I met a missionary on the boat." He told he_he Reverend Frank Upton's tale of that morning on Apiang, and added the new_hat a man named Thomas Macan Brade was now in Honolulu.
  • She was silent for a time. "So Dan was a blackbirder," she remarked at last.
  • "How charming! Such a pleasant man, too. But then, I learned that lesson earl_n life—the brighter the smile, the darker the past. All this will mak_elightful reading in the Boston papers, John Quincy."
  • "Oh, they'll never get it," her nephew said.
  • "Don't deceive yourself. Newspapers will go to the ends of the earth for _ood murder. I once wrote letters to all the editors in Boston urging them t_rint no more details about homicides. It hadn't the slightest effect—though _id get an acknowledgment of my favor from the Herald."
  • John Quincy glanced at his watch. "Perhaps I should go down to the station.
  • Anything in the morning paper?"
  • "A very hazy interview with Captain Hallet. The police have unearthe_mportant clues, and promise early results. You know—the sort of thing the_lways give out just after a murder."
  • The boy looked at her keenly. "Ah," he said, "then you read newspaper account_f the kind you tried to suppress?"
  • "Certainly I do," snapped his aunt. "There's little enough excitement in m_ife. But I gladly gave up my port wine because I felt intoxicants were ba_or the lower classes, and—"
  • Haku interrupted with the news that John Quincy was wanted on the telephone.
  • When the boy returned to the lanai there was a brisk air of business abou_im.
  • "That was Charlie," he announced. "The day's work is about to get under way.
  • They've located Mr. and Mrs. Brade at the Reef and Palm Hotel, and I'm to mee_harlie there in fifteen minutes."
  • "The Reef and Palm," repeated Miss Minerva. "You see, it keeps coming back t_gan. I'd wager a set of Browning against a modern novel that he's the man wh_id it."
  • "You'd lose your Browning, and then where would you be when the lecture seaso_tarted?" laughed John Quincy. "I never knew you to be so stupid before." Hi_ace became serious. "By the way, will you explain to Barbara that I can'_oin her, after all?"
  • Miss Minerva nodded. "Go along," she said. "I envy you all this. First time i_y life I ever wished I were a man."
  • John Quincy approached the Reef and Palm by way of the beach. The scene wa_ne of bright serenity. A few languid tourists lolled upon the sand; others, more ambitious, were making picture post-card history out where the sur_egan. A great white steamer puffed blackly into port. Standing in water up t_heir necks, a group of Hawaiian women paused in their search for luncheo_elicacies to enjoy a moment's gossip.
  • John Quincy passed Arlene Compton's cottage and entered the grounds of th_eef and Palm. On the beach not far from the hotel, an elderly Englishwoma_at on a camp stool with an easel and canvas before her. She was seeking t_apture something of that exotic scene—vainly seeking, for John Quincy, glancing over her shoulder, perceived that her work was terrible. She turne_nd looked at him, a weary look of protest against his intrusion, and he wa_orry she had caught him in the act of smiling at her inept canvas.
  • Chan had not yet arrived at the hotel, and the clerk informed John Quincy tha_iss Carlota had gone to the city. For that interview with her father, n_oubt. He hoped that the evidence of the check would bring about Egan'_elease. It seemed to him that the man was being held on a rather flims_retext, anyhow.
  • He sat down on the lanai at the side, where he could see both the path tha_ed in from the street and the restless waters of the Pacific. On the beac_ear by a man in a purple bathing suit reclined dejectedly, and John Quinc_miled in recollection. Mr. Saladine, alone with his tragedy, peering out a_he waters that had robbed him—waiting, no doubt, for the tide to yield up it_oot.
  • Some fifteen or twenty minutes passed, and then John Quincy heard voices i_he garden. He saw that Hallet and Chan were coming up the walk and went t_eet them at the front door.
  • "Splendid morning," said Chan. "Nice day to set out on new path leadin_nevitably to important discovery."
  • John Quincy accompanied them to the desk. The Japanese clerk regarded the_ith sullen unfriendliness; he had not forgotten the events of the day before.
  • Information had to be dragged from him bit by bit. Yes, there was a Mr. an_rs. Brade stopping there. They arrived last Saturday, on the steamshi_onoma. Mr. Brade was not about at the moment. Mrs. Brade was on the beac_ainting pretty pictures.
  • "Good," said Hallet, "I'll have a look around their room before I questio_hem. Take us there."
  • The clerk hesitated. "Boy!" he called. It was only a bluff; the Reef and Pal_ad no bell-boys. Finally, with an air of injured dignity, he led the way dow_ long corridor on the same floor as the office and unlocked the door o_ineteen, the last room on the right. Hallet strode in and went to the window.
  • "Here—wait a minute," he called to the clerk. He pointed to the elderly woma_ainting on the beach. "That Mrs. Brade?"
  • "Yes-s," hissed the clerk.
  • "All right—go along." The clerk went out. "Mr. Winterslip, I'll ask you to si_ere in the window and keep an eye on the lady. If she starts to come in, le_e know." He stared eagerly about the poorly furnished bedroom. "Now, Mr.
  • Brade, I wonder what you've got?"
  • John Quincy took the post assigned him, feeling decidedly uncomfortable. Thi_idn't seem quite honorable to him. However, he probably wouldn't be calle_pon to do any searching himself, and if policemen were forced to d_isagreeable things—well, they should have thought of that before they becam_olicemen. Not that either Hallet or Chan appeared to be embarrassed by th_ask before them.
  • There was a great deal of luggage in the room—English luggage, which i_sually large and impressive. John Quincy noted a trunk, two enormous bags, and a smaller case. All were plastered with labels of the Sonoma, and beneat_ere the worn fragments of earlier labels, telling a broken story of othe_hips and far hotels.
  • Hallet and Chan were old hands at this game; they went through Brade's trun_apidly and thoroughly, but without finding anything of note. The captai_urned his attention to the small traveling case. With every evidence o_elight he drew forth a packet of letters, and sat down with them at a table.
  • John Quincy was shocked. Reading other people's mail was, in his eyes, something that simply wasn't done.
  • It was done by Hallet, however. In a moment the captain spoke. "Seems to hav_een in the British civil service in Calcutta, but he's resigned," h_nnounced to Chan. "Here's a letter from his superior in London referring t_rade's thirty-six years on the job, and saying he's sorry to lose him."
  • Hallet took up another letter, his face brightened as he read. "Say—this i_ore like it!" He handed the typewritten page to Chan. Chan looked at it, an_is eyes sparkled. "Most interesting," he cried, and turned it over to Joh_uincy.
  • The boy hesitated. The standards of a lifetime are not easily abandoned. Bu_he others had read it first, so he put aside his scruples. The letter wa_everal months old, and was addressed to Brade in Calcutta.
  • "DEAR SIR: In reply to your inquiry of the sixth instant, would say that Mr.
  • Daniel Winterslip is alive and is a resident of this city. His address is 394_alia Road, Waikiki, Honolulu, T.H."
  • The signature was that of the British consul at Honolulu. John Quincy returne_he epistle to Hallet, who put it in his pocket. At that instant Chan, who ha_een exploring one of the larger bags, emitted a little grunt of satisfaction.
  • "What is it, Charlie?" Hallet asked.
  • Chan set out on the table before his chief a small tin box, and removed th_id. It was filled with cigarettes. "Corsican brand," he announced cheerfully.
  • "Good," said Hallet. "It begins to look as though Mr. Thomas Macan Brade woul_ave a lot to explain."
  • They continued their researches, while John Quincy sat silent by the window.
  • Presently Carlota Egan appeared outside. She walked slowly to a chair on th_anai, and sat down. For a moment she stared at the breakers, then she bega_o weep.
  • John Quincy turned uncomfortably away. It came to him that here in this so- called paradise sorrow was altogether too rampant. The only girls he knew wer_iven to frequent tears, and not without reason.
  • "If you'll excuse me—" he said. Hallet and Chan, searching avidly, made n_eply, and climbing over the sill, he stepped on to the lanai. The girl looke_p as he approached.
  • "Oh," she said, "I thought I was alone."
  • "You'd like to be, perhaps," he answered. "But it might help if you told m_hat has happened. Did you speak to your father about that check?"
  • She nodded. "Yes, I showed it to him. And what do you think he did? H_natched it out of my hand and tore it into a hundred pieces. He gave me th_ieces to—to throw away. And he said I was never to mention it to a soul."
  • "I don't understand that," frowned John Quincy.
  • "Neither do I. He was simply furious—not like himself at all. And when I tol_im you knew about it, he lost his temper again."
  • "But you can rely on me. I shan't tell any one."
  • "I know that. But of course father wasn't so sure of you as—as I am. Poo_ad—he's having a horrible time of it. They don't give him a moment'_est—keep after him constantly—trying to make him tell. But all the policeme_n the world couldn't—Oh, poor old dad!"
  • She was weeping again, and John Quincy felt toward her as he had felt towar_arbara. He wanted to put his arm about her, just by way of comfort and cheer.
  • But alas, Carlota Maria Egan was not a Winterslip.
  • "Now, now," he said, "that won't do a bit of good."
  • She looked at him through her tears. "Won't it? I—I don't know. It seems t_elp a little. But"—she dried her eyes—"I really haven't time for it now. _ust go in and see about lunch."
  • She rose, and John Quincy walked with her along the balcony. "I wouldn't worr_f I were you," he said. "The police are on an entirely new trail thi_orning."
  • "Really?" she answered eagerly.
  • "Yes. There's a man named Brade stopping at your hotel. You know him, _uppose?"
  • She shook her head. "No, I don't."
  • "What! Why, he's a guest here."
  • "He was. But he isn't here now."
  • "Wait a minute!" John Quincy laid his hand on her arm, and they stopped. "Thi_s interesting. Brade's gone, you say?"
  • "Yes. I understand from the clerk that Mr. and Mrs. Brade arrived here las_aturday. But early Tuesday morning, before my boat got in, Mr. Brad_isappeared and he hasn't been seen since."
  • "Mr. Brade gets better all the time," John Quincy said. "Hallet and Chan ar_n his room now, and they've unearthed some rather intriguing facts. You'_etter go in and tell Hallet what you've just told me."
  • They entered the lobby by a side door. As they did so, a slim young Hawaiia_oy was coming in through the big door at the front. Something in his manne_aught the attention of John Quincy, and he stopped. At that instant a purpl_athing suit slipped by him, and Mr. Saladine also approached the desk.
  • Carlota Egan went on down the corridor toward room nineteen, but John Quinc_emained in the lobby.
  • The Hawaiian boy moved rather diffidently toward the clerk. "Excuse me, please," he said. "I come to see Mr. Brade. Mr. Thomas Brade."
  • "Mr. Brade not here," replied the clerk.
  • "Then I will wait till he comes."
  • The clerk frowned. "No good. Mr. Brade not in Honolulu now."
  • "Not in Honolulu!" The Hawaiian seemed startled by the news.
  • "Mrs. Brade outside on the beach," continued the clerk.
  • "Oh, then Mr. Brade returns," said the boy with evident relief. "I cal_gain."
  • He turned away, moving rapidly now. The clerk addressed Mr. Saladine, who wa_overing near the cigar case. "Yes, sir, please?"
  • "Thigarettes," said the bereft Mr. Saladine.
  • The clerk evidently knew the brand desired, and handed over a box.
  • "Juth put it on my bill," said Saladine. He stood for a moment staring afte_he Hawaiian, who was disappearing through the front door. As he swung roun_is eyes encountered those of John Quincy. He looked quickly away and hurrie_ut.
  • The two policemen and the girl entered from the corridor. "Well, Mr.
  • Winterslip," said Hallet, "the bird has flown."
  • "So I understand," John Quincy answered.
  • "But we'll find him," continued Hallet. "I'll go over these islands with _rag-net. First of all, I want a talk with his wife." He turned to Carlot_gan. "Get her in here," he ordered. The girl looked at him. "Please," h_dded.
  • She motioned to the clerk, who went out the door.
  • "By the way," remarked John Quincy, "someone was just here asking for Brade."
  • "What's that!" Hallet was interested.
  • "A young Hawaiian, about twenty, I should say. Tall and slim. If you go to th_oor, you may catch a glimpse of him."
  • Hallet hurried over and glanced out into the garden. In a second he returned.
  • "Humph," he said. "I know him. Did he say he'd come again?"
  • "He did."
  • Hallet considered. "I've changed my mind," he announced. "I won't questio_rs. Brade, after all. For the present, I don't want her to know we're lookin_or her husband. I'll trust you to fix that up with your clerk," he added t_he girl. She nodded. "Lucky we left things as we found them in nineteen," h_ent on. "Unless she misses that letter and the cigarettes, which isn'_ikely, we're all right. Now, Miss Egan, we three will go into your father'_ffice there behind the desk, and leave the door open. When Mrs. Brade come_n, I want you to question her about her husband's absence. Get all you ca_ut of her. I'll be listening."
  • "I understand," the girl said.
  • Hallet, Chan and John Quincy went into Jim Egan's sanctum. "You found nothin_lse in the room?" the latter inquired of the Chinese man.
  • Chan shook his head. "Even so, fates are in smiling mood. What we have now ar_lentiful."
  • "Sh!" warned Hallet.
  • "Mrs. Brade, a young man was just here inquiring for your husband." It wa_arlota Egan's voice.
  • "Really?" The accent was unmistakably British.
  • "He wanted to know where he could find him. We couldn't say."
  • "No—of course not."
  • "Your husband has left town, Mrs. Brade?"
  • "Yes. I fancy he has."
  • "You know when he will return, perhaps?"
  • "I really couldn't say. Is the mail in?"
  • "Not yet. We expect it about one."
  • "Thank you so much."
  • "Go to the door," Hallet directed John Quincy.
  • "She's gone to her room," announced the boy.
  • The three of them emerged from Egan's office.
  • "Oh, Captain?" said the girl. "I'm afraid I wasn't very successful."
  • "That's all right," replied Hallet. "I didn't think you would be." The cler_as again at his post behind the desk. Hallet turned to him. "Look here," h_aid. "I understand some one was here a minute ago asking for Brade. It wa_ick Kaohla, wasn't it?"
  • "Yes-s," answered the clerk.
  • "Had he been here before to see Brade?"
  • "Yes-s. Sunday night. Mr. Brade and him have long talk on the beach."
  • Hallet nodded grimly. "Come on, Charlie," he said. "We've got our work cut ou_or us. Wherever Brade is, we must find him."
  • John Quincy stepped forward. "Pardon me, Captain," he remarked. "But if yo_on't mind—just who is Dick Kaohla?"
  • Hallet hesitated. "Kaohla's father—he's dead now—was a sort of confidentia_ervant to Dan Winterslip. The boy's just plain no good. And oh, yes—he's th_randson of that woman who's over at your place now. Kamaikui—is that he_ame?"