For the better part of their journey
to town Caldegard and Randal Bellamy ate their hearts
in silence. The road was good, and they had it
almost to themselves.
As they were nearing London, Caldegard spoke.
“Bellamy,” he said, “that brother
of yours won’t stop at killing if ”
“He’ll begin with it,” replied Randal,
“if he gets a fair chance.”
“It gives me unreasonable hope,” said
“Men who’ve trusted Dick would call your
“Yet he’s sent us after
Ambrotox,” complained the father, “and
my heart’s breaking for my little girl.”
“His argument convinced you, anyhow,”
At New Scotland Yard Sir Randal’s
card gained them instant admission to the presence
of the Superintendent of the Criminal Investigation
He listened without a word to Randal’s
compact and lucid statement of the facts.
“It’s a good thing I was
kept here so late to-night, gentlemen,” he said.
“We shall act without losing a moment in the
matter of your daughter’s disappearance, Dr.
Caldegard. But the theft of your secret, of which
both Sir Charles Colombe and the Home Secretary have
spoken to me, is a matter of such tremendous importance,
that I am obliged to communicate immediately with
both these gentlemen and the Commissioner. And
you will be doing me a great kindness if you will both
remain here until I hear from them.”
An hour later a sombre group of six,
after protracted discussion, seemed almost to have
exhausted the evidence, suggestion and counsel which
could be brought to bear upon a crime so sudden and
Sir Charles Colombe looked anxiously
round him as he spoke.
“That is the danger,”
he said, “which we have to face: that these
foul pests of society should escape with Professor
Caldegard’s discovery and master his secret a
peril to which all the dangers mankind has run since
the world began from greed, bigotry, alcohol and opium
are child’s play. The bill of which Sir
Gregory has just spoken would give us powers to lay
hands on all these local branches of what Superintendent
Finucane has described as ‘the Dope Gang.’
We know already some twenty-five or thirty of them.
If we were as well advanced in our knowledge of their
central organisation, we might even now do something
fairly vigorous under the law of conspiracy.
As it is, we can only proceed against individuals
trafficking in and supplying certain specified drugs.
The secret of this greatest drug of all must not,
if human power can prevent it, come into the hands
of the inner ring before we have our grip on it.
Needles, before now, have been successfully hunted
in haystacks, and perhaps even you, Professor Caldegard,
have no adequate conception of how close the meshes
are in the net Superintendent Finucane is spreading.
And I should like you to understand, sir,” he
said, drawing nearer to the old man who sat staring
with fixed eyes out of a ghastly face, “that,
though our duty makes us think of millions where you
can think only of one, every effort which the Criminal
Investigation Department makes, every trap it lays,
every device it contrives to recover your property
is equally adapted to finding your daughter. In
your fear for her safety you have forgotten your drug;
in our fear for the drug we cannot let your daughter
out of our minds.”
“She may be dead,” said Caldegard.
The Superintendent answered him.
“I don’t believe it,”
he declared. “You see, sir, the thief’s
plan worked smoothly, bar the one unexpected factor the
young lady in the room. If he didn’t kill
her then, he don’t mean to kill her.”
“That’s my brother’s argument,”
said Randal, adding his word of comfort.
There was a tap at the door, and a constable entered.
“Sir Randal Bellamy’s
chauffeur, sir,” he said to Finucane. “He
has brought this letter. Says it’s from
Mr. Richard Bellamy.”
Randal glanced at the note and then read aloud:
the man we want. Get his address. ’Phone
Wire me address P.D.Q.”
“From my brother Richard,”
he said. “Dr. Caldegard knows this Melchard,
When Caldegard had told them all he
knew of the man, the Superintendent looked at the
“I think, sir,” he said,
“we’d better inquire about Mr. Alban Melchard.”
“Rather a wildgoose chase,” grumbled the
“I shouldn’t wonder, sir,”
replied Finucane, “if Mr. Richard Bellamy isn’t
a very wideawake young gentleman.”