Two mornings later the newspapers announced the important facts that Mis_itty Killigrew had gone to Bar Harbor for the week, and that the famous uncu_meralds of the Maharajah of Something-or-other-apur had been stolen; nothin_o-relative in the departure of Kitty and the green stones, coincidence only.
The Indian prince was known the world over as gem-mad. He had thousands i_nset gems which he neither sold, wore, nor gave away. His various hosts an_ostesses lived in mortal terror during a sojourn of his; for he carried hi_ewels with him always; and often, whenever the fancy seized him, he would g_bruptly to his room, spread a square of cobalt-blue velvet on the floor, squat in his native fashion beside it, and empty his bags of diamonds an_ubies and pearls and sapphires and emeralds and turquoises. To him they wer_eautiful toys. Whenever he was angry, they soothed him; whenever he wa_appy, they rounded out this happiness; they were his variant moods.
He played a magnificent game. Round the diamonds he would make a circle of th_alest turquoises. Upon this pyramid of brilliants he would place some grea_uby, sapphire, or emerald. Then his servants were commanded to raise an_ower the window-curtains alternately. These shifting contra-lights put _trange life into the gems; they not only scintillated, they breathed. Or, perhaps the pyramid would be of emeralds; and he would peer into their coo_reen depths as he might have peered into the sea.
He kept these treasures in an ornamented iron-chest, old, battered, of simpl_echanism. It had been his father's and his father's father's; it had been i_he family since the days of the Peacock Throne, and most of the jewel_esides. Night and day the chest was guarded. It lay upon an ancient Ispaha_ug, in the center of the bedroom, which no hotel servant was permitted t_nter. His five servants saw to it that all his wants were properly attende_o, that no indignity to his high caste might be offered: as having his foo_repared by pariah hands in the hotel kitchens, foul hands to make his bed. H_as thoroughly religious; the gods of his fathers were his in all thei_amifications; he wore the Brahmin thread about his neck.
He was unique among Indian princes. An Oxford graduate, he persistently an_onsistently clung to the elaborate costumes of his native state. And when h_ondescended to visit any one, it was invariably stipulated that he should b_ermitted to bring along his habits, his costumes and his retinue. In hi_uite or apartments he was the barbarian; in the drawing-room, in th_allroom, in the dining-room (where he ate nothing), he was the suave, th_ourteous, the educated Oriental. He drank no wines, made his own cigarettes, and never offered his hand to any one, not even to the handsome women wh_dmired his beautiful skin and his magnificent ropes of pearls.
Some one had entered the bedroom, overpowered the guard, and looted the ba_ontaining the emeralds. The prince, the lightest of sleepers, had slep_hrough it all. He had awakened with a violent headache, as had four of hi_ervants. The big Rajput who had stood watch was in the hospital, stil_nconscious.
All the way from San Francisco the police had been waiting for such _atastrophe. The newspapers had taken up and published broadcast the story o_he prince's pastime. Naturally enough, there was not a crook in all Americ_ho was not waiting for a possible chance. Ten emeralds, weighing from six t_en carats each; a fortune, even if broken up.
Haggerty laid aside the newspaper and gravely finished his ham and eggs. "I'l_ake a peek int' this, Milly," he said to his wife. "We've been waiting fo_his t' happen. A million dollars in jools in a chest y' could open with _an-opener. Queer ginks, these Hindus. We see lots o' fakers, but this one i_he real article. Mebbe a reward. All right; little ol' Haggerty can use th'
money. I may not be home t' supper."
"Anything more about Mr. Crawford's valet?"
Haggerty scowled. "Not a line. I've been living in gambling joints, but n_ign of him. He gambled in th' ol' days; some time 'r other he'll wander i_omewhere an' try t' copper th' king. No sign of him round Crawford's ol'
place. But I'll get him; it's a hunch. By-by!"
Later, the detective was conducted into the Maharajah's reception-room. Th_rince, in his soft drawling English (far more erudite and polished tha_aggerty's, if not so direct), explained the situation, omitting no detail. H_ould give two thousand five hundred for the recovery of the stones.
"At what are they valued?"
"By your customs appraisers, forty thousand. To me they are priceless."
"Six t' ten carats? Why, they're worth more than that."
The prince smiled. "That was for the public."
"I'll take a look int' your bedroom," said Haggerty, rising. "Oh, no; that i_ot at all necessary," protested the prince.
"How d' you suppose I'm going t' find out who done it, or how it was done, then?" demanded Haggerty, bewildered.
A swift oriental gesture.
The hotel manager soothed Haggerty by explaining that the prince's caste woul_ot permit an alien to touch anything in the bedroom while it contained th_rince's belongings.
"Well, wouldn't that get your goat!" exploded Haggerty. "That lets me out.
You'll have to get a clairyvoint."
The prince suggested that he be given another suite. His servants would remov_is belongings. He promised that nothing else should be touched.
"How long'll it take you?"
"All right," assented Haggerty. "Who's got th' suite across th' hall?" h_sked of the manager, as they left the prince.
"Lord Monckton. He and his valet left this morning for Bar Harbor. Bac_uesday. A house-party of Fifth Avenue people."
"Uhuh." Haggerty tugged at his mustache. "I might look around in there whil_'m waiting for his Majesty t' change. Did y'ever hear th' likes? Bug-house."
"But he pays a hundred the day, Haggerty. I'll let you privately into Lor_onckton's suite. But you'll waste your time."
"Sure he left this morning?"
"I'll phone the office and make sure… Lord Monckton left shortly afte_idnight. His man followed early this morning. Lord Monckton went by hi_ost's yacht. But the man followed by rail."
"What's his man look like?"
"Slim and very dark, and very quiet."
"Well, I'll take a look."
The manager was right. Haggerty had his trouble for nothing. There was no clu_hatever in Lord Monckton's suite. There was no paper in the waste-baskets, i_he fireplace; the blotters on the writing-desk were spotless. Some clothe_ere hanging in the closets, but these revealed only their fashionable maker'_ame. In the reception-room, on a table, a pack of cards lay spread out in a_nfinished game of solitaire. All the small baggage had been taken for th_ourney. Truth to tell, Haggerty had not expected to find anything; he had no_ared to sit idly twiddling his thumbs while the Maharajah vacated his rooms.
In the bathroom (Lord Monckton's) he found two objects which aroused hi_ilent derision: a bottle of brilliantine and an ointment made of walnut- juice. Probably this Lord Monckton was a la-de-dah chap. Bah!
Once in the prince's vacated bedroom Haggerty went to work with classi_horoughness. Not a square foot of the room escaped his vigilant eye. Th_hief had not entered by the windows; he had come into the room by the doo_hich gave to the corridor. He stood on a chair and examined the transom sill.
The dust was undisturbed. He inspected the keyhole; sniffed; stood up, ben_nd sniffed again. It was an odor totally unknown to him. He stuffed th_orner of his fresh handkerchief into the keyhole, drew it out and sniffe_hat. Barely perceptible. He wrapped the corner into the heart of th_andkerchief, and put it back into his pocket. Some powerful narcotic had bee_orced into the room through the keyhole. This would account for the prince'_eadache. These Orientals were as bad as the Dutch; they never opened thei_indows for fresh air.
Beyond this faint, mysterious odor there was nothing else. The first ste_ould be to ascertain whether this narcotic was occidental or oriental.
"Nothing doing yet," he confessed to the anxious manager. "But there ain't an_ause for you t' worry. You're not responsible for jools not left in th'
"That isn't the idea. It's having the thing happen in this hotel. We'll ad_nother five hundred if you succeed. Not in ten years has there been so muc_s a spoon missing. What do you think about it?"
"Big case. I'll be back in a little while. Don't tell th' reporters anything."
Haggerty was on his way to a near-by chemist whom he knew, when he espie_rawford in his electric, stalled in a jam at Forty-second and Broadway. H_ad not seen the archeologist since his return from Europe.
"Hey, Mr. Crawford!" Haggerty bawled, putting his head into the window.
"Why, Haggerty, how are you? Can I give you a lift?"
"If it won't trouble you."
"Not at all. Pretty hot weather."
"For my business. Wish I could run off t' th' seashore like you folks. Hear_' th' Maharajah's emeralds?"
"Yes. You're on that case?"
"Trying t' get on it. Looks blank jus' now. Clever bit o' work; something new.
But I've got news for you, though. Your man Mason is back here again. _hought I wouldn't say nothing t' you till I put my hand on his shoulder."
"I'm sorry. I had hoped that the unfortunate devil would have had sense t_emain abroad."
"Then you knew he was over there?"—quickly. "See him?"
"No. I shall never feel anything but sorry for him. You can not live with _an as I did, for ten years, and not regret his misstep."
"Oh, I understand your side. But that man was a born crook, an' th' cleveres_ ever run up against. For all you know, he may have been back of a lot o'
tricks Central never got hold of. I'll bet that each time that you went ove_ith him, he took loot an' disposed of it. I may be pig-headed sometimes, bu_'m dead sure o' this. Wait some day an' see. Say, take a whiff o' this an'
tell me what y' think it is." Haggerty produced the handkerchief.
"I don't smell anything," said Crawford.
Haggerty seized the handkerchief and sniffed, gently, then violently. All h_ould smell was reminiscent of washtubs. The mysterious odor was gone.