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Chapter 13

  • 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?"
  • "An hour."
  • "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'
  • office."
  • "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.