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stairs I think you will still find the letter lying
on the hall table.

"'I read it after Mr. Knopf left; it was not
from his brother, but from a gentleman who
signed himself J. Collins, M. D. I don't remem-
ber the exact words, but, of course, you'll be able
to read the letter Mr. J. Collins said he had
been called in very suddenly to see Mr. Emile
Knopf, who, he added, had not many hours to
live, and had begged of the doctor to communi-
cate at once with his brother in London.

' Before leaving, Mr. Knopf warned me that
there were some valuables in his desk diamonds
mostly, and told me to be particularly careful
about locking up the house. He often has left
me like this in charge of his premises, and usually
there have been diamonds in his desk, for Mr.
Knopf has no regular city office, as he is a com-
mercial traveller.'

" This, briefly, was the gist of the matter which
Robertson related to the inspector with many rep-
etitions and persistent volubility.

' The detective and inspector, before returning

to the station with their report, thought they

would call at No. 26, on Mr. Shipman, the great

jeweller.

"You remember, of course," added the man in



38 THE MAN IN THE CORNER

the corner, dreamily contemplating his bit of
string, " the exciting developments of this ex-
traordinary case. Mr. Arthur Shipman is the
head of the firm of Shipman and Co., the wealthy
jewellers. He is a widower, and lives very
quietly by himself in his own old-fashioned way
in the small Kensington house, leaving it to his
two married sons to keep up the style and swagger
befitting the representatives of so wealthy a firm.

" ' I have only known Mr. Knopf a very little
while,' he explained to the detectives. ' He sold
me two or three stones once or twice, I think;
but we are both single men, and we have often
dined together. Last night he dined with me. He
had that afternoon received a very fine consign-
ment of Brazilian diamonds, as he told me, and
knowing how beset I am with callers at my busi-
ness place, he had brought the stones with him,
hoping, perhaps, to do a bit of trade over the nuts
and wine.

" ' I bought 25,000 worth of him,' added the
jeweller, as if he were speaking of so many far-
things, 'and gave him a cheque across the dinner
table for that amount. I think we were both
pleased with our bargain, and we had a final
bottle of '48 port over it together. Mr. Knopf
left me at about 9.30, for he knows I go very early
to bed, and I took my new stock upstairs with me,
and locked it up in the safe. I certainly heard
nothing of the noise in the mews last night. I



ROBBERY IN PHILLIMORE TERRACE 39

sleep on the second floor, in the front of the house,
and this is the first I have heard of poor Mr.
Knopf's loss '

"At this point of his narrative Mr. Shipman
very suddenly paused, and his face became very
pale. With a hasty word of excuse he uncere-
moniously left the room, and the detective heard
him running quickly upstairs.

" Less than two minutes later Mr. Shipman re-
turned. There was no need for him to speak;
both the detective and the inspector guessed the
truth in a moment by the look upon his face.

" ' The diamonds ' he gasped. ' I have

been robbed.' "



CHAPTER V

A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE

"Now I must tell you," continued the man in
the corner, " that after I had read the account
of the double robbery, which appeared in the early
afternoon papers, I set to work and had a good
think yes ! " he added with a smile, noting Polly's
look at the bit of string, on which he was still
at work, " yes ! aided by this small adjunct to
continued thought I made notes as to how I
should proceed to discover the clever thief, who
had carried off a small fortune in a single night.
Of course, my methods are not those of a London
detective! he had his own way of going to work.
The one who was conducting this case questioned
the unfortunate jeweller very closely about his
servants and his household generally.

" ' I have three servants,' explained Mr. Ship-
man, ' two of whom have been with me for many
years; one, the housemaid, is a fairly new-comer
she has been here about six months. She came
recommended by a friend, and bore an excellent
character. She and the parlour-maid room to-
gether. The cook, who knew me when I was a
schoolboy, sleeps alone; all three servants sleep
on the floor above. I locked the jewels up in

40



A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE 41

the safe which stands in the dressing-room. My
keys and watch I placed, as usual, beside my bed.
As a rule, I am a fairly light sleeper.

" ' I cannot understand how it could have hap-
pened but you had better come up and have a
look at the safe. The key must have been ab-
stracted from my bedside, the safe opened, and
the keys replaced all while I was fast asleep.
Though I had no occasion to look into the safe
until just now, I should have discovered my loss
before going to business, for I intended to take
the diamonds away with me '

" The detective and the inspector went up to
have a look at the safe. The lock had in no way
been tampered with it had been opened with its
own key. The detective spoke of chloroform, but
Mr. Shipman declared that when he woke in the
morning at about half-past seven there was no
smell of chloroform in the room. However, the
proceedings of the daring thief certainly pointed
to the use of an anaesthetic. An examination of
the premises brought to light the fact that the
burglar had, as in Mr. Knopf's house, used the
glass-panelled door from the garden as a means
of entrance, but in this instance he had carefully
cut out the pane of glass with a diamond, slipped
the bolts, turned the key, and walked in.

" ' Which among your servants knew that you
had the diamonds in your house last night, Mr.
Shipman?' asked the detective.



42 THE MAN IN THE CORNER

* Not one, I should say,' replied the jeweller,
* though, perhaps, the parlour-maid, whilst wait-
ing at table, may have heard me and Mr. Knopf
discussing our bargain.'

'Would you object to my searching all your
servants' boxes ? '

' Certainly not. They would not object,
either, I am sure. They are perfectly honest.'

" The searching of servants' belongings is in-
variably a useless proceeding," added the man in
the corner, with a shrug of the shoulders. " No
one, not even a latter-day domestic, would be fool
enough to keep stolen property in the house. How-
ever, the usual farce was gone through, with more
or less protest on the part of Mr. Shipman's serv-
ants, and with the usual result.

"The jeweller could give no further informa-
tion; the detective and inspector, to do them jus-
tice, did their work of investigation minutely and,
what is more, intelligently. It seemed evident,
from their deductions, that the burglar had com-
menced proceedings on No. 26 Phillimore Ter-
race, and had then gone on, probably climbing
over the garden walls between the houses to No.
22, where he was almost caught in the act by
Robertson. The facts were simple enough, but
the mystery remained as to the individual who had
managed to glean the information of the presence
of the diamonds in both the houses, and the means
which he had adopted to get that information. It



A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE 43

was obvious that the thief or thieves knew more
about Mr. Knopf's affairs than Mr. Shipman's,
since they had known how to use Mr. Emile
Knopf's name in order to get his brother out of
the way.

" It was now nearly ten o'clock, and the de-
tectives, having taken leave of Mr. Shipman, went
back to No. 22, in order to ascertain whether Mr.
Knopf had come back; the door was opened by
the old charwoman, who said that her master had
returned, and was having some breakfast in the
dining-room.

" Mr. Ferdinand Knopf was a middle-aged
man, with sallow complexion, black hair and
beard, of obviously Hebrew extraction. He spoke
with a marked foreign accent, but very courte-
ously, to the two officials, who, he begged, would
excuse him if he went on with his breakfast.

" ' I was fully prepared to hear the bad news,'
he explained, ' which my man Robertson told me
when I arrived. The letter I got last night was
a bogus one; there is no such person as J. Collins,
M. D. My brother had never felt better in his
life. You will, I am sure, very soon trace the
cunning writer of that epistle ah! but I was in
a rage, I can tell you, when I got to the Metro-
pole at Brighton, and found that Emile, my
brother, had never heard of any Doctor Collins.
' The last train to town had gone, although I
raced back to the station as hard as I could. Poor



44

old Robertson, he has a terrible cold. Ah yes!
my loss! it is for me a very serious one; if I had
not made that lucky bargain with Mr. Shipman
last night I should, perhaps, at this moment be a
ruined man.

" * The stones I had yesterday were, firstly, some
magnificent Brazilians; these I sold to Mr. Ship-
man mostly. Then I had some very good Cape
diamonds all gone ; and some quite special Paris-
ians, of wonderful work and finish, entrusted to
me for sale by a great French house. I tell you,
sir, my loss will be nearly 10,000 altogether. I
sell on commission, and, of course, have to make
good the loss.'

" He was evidently trying to bear up man-
fully, and as a business man should, under his sad
fate. He refused in any way to attach the slight-
est blame to his old and faithful servant Robert-
son, who had caught, perhaps, his death of cold
in his zeal for his absent master. As for any hint
of suspicion falling even remotely upon the man,
the very idea appeared to Mr. Knopf absolutely
preposterous.

" With regard to the old charwoman, Mr.
Knopf certainly knew nothing about her, beyond
the fact that she had been recommended to him
by one of the tradespeople in the neighbourhood,
and seemed perfectly honest, respectable, and
sober.

" About the tramp Mr. Knopf knew still less,



A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE 45

nor could he Imagine how he, or in fact anybody
else, could possibly know that he happened to
have diamonds in his house that night.

"This certainly seemed the great hitch in the
case.

" Mr. Ferdinand Knopf, at the instance of the
police, later on went to the station and had a look
at the suspected tramp. He declared that he had
never set eyes on him before.

" Mr. Shipman, on his way home from busi-
ness in the afternoon, had done likewise, and made
a similar statement.

" Brought before the magistrate, the tramp
gave but a poor account of himself. He gave a
name and address, which latter, of course, proved
to be false. After that he absolutely refused to
speak. He seemed not to care whether he was
kept in custody or not. Very soon even the police
realised that, for the present, at any rate, nothing
could be got out of the suspected tramp.

" Mr. Francis Howard, the detective, who had
charge of the case, though he would not admit it
even to himself, was at his wits' ends. You must
remember that the burglary, through its very sim-
plicity, was an exceedingly mysterious affair. The
constable, D 21, who had stood in Adam and Eve
mews, presumably while Mr. Knopf's house was
being robbed, had seen no one turn out from the
cul-de-sac into the main passage of the mews.

" The stables, which immediately faced the back



46 THE MAN IN THE CORNER

entrance of the Phillimore Terrace houses, were
all private ones belonging to residents in the neigh-
bourhood. The coachmen, their families, and all
the grooms who slept in the stablings were rigidly
watched and questioned. One and all had seen
nothing, heard nothing, until Robertson's shrieks
had roused them from their sleep.

" As for the letter from Brighton, it was ab-
solutely commonplace, and written upon notepaper
which the detective, with Macchiavellian cunning,
traced to a stationer's shop in West Street. But
the trade at that particular shop was a very brisk
one; scores of people had bought notepaper there,
similar to that on which the supposed doctor had
written his tricky letter. The handwriting was
cramped, perhaps a disguised one; in any case,
except under very exceptional circumstances, it
could afford no clue to the identity of the thief.
Needless to say, the tramp, when told to write
his name, wrote a totally different and absolutely
uneducated hand.

"Matters stood, however, in the same persist-
ently mysterious state when a small discovery was
made, which suggested to Mr. Francis Howard
an idea, which, if properly carried out, would,
he hoped, inevitably bring the cunning burglar
safely within the grasp of the police.

" That was the discovery of a few of Mr.
Knopf's diamonds," continued the man in the cor-
ner after a slight pause, " evidently trampled into



A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE 47

the ground by the thief whilst making his hur-
ried exit through the garden of No. 22 Philli-
more Terrace.

" At the end of this garden there is a small
studio which had been built by a former owner
of the house, and behind it a small piece of waste
ground about seven feet square which had once
been a rockery, and is still filled with large loose
stones, in the shadow of which earwigs and wood-
lice innumerable have made a happy hunting
ground.

" It was Robertson who, two days after the
robbery, having need one day of a large stone,
for some household purpose or other, dislodged
one from that piece of waste ground, and found
a few shining pebbles beneath it. Mr. Knopf
took them round to the police-station himself im-
mediately, and identified the stones as some of
his Parisian ones.

" Later on the detective went to view the place
where the find had been made, and there con-
ceived the plan upon which he built his cherished
hopes.

"Acting upon the advice of Mr. Francis
Howard, the police decided to let the anonymous
tramp out of his safe retreat within the station,
and to allow him to wander whithersoever he
chose. A good idea, perhaps the presumption
being that, sooner or later, if the man was in
any way mixed up with the cunning thieves, he



48 THE MAN IN THE CORNER

would either rejoin his comrades or even lead the
police to where the remnant of his hoard lay
hidden; needless to say, his footsteps were to be
literally dogged.

"The wretched tramp, on his discharge, wan-
dered out of the yard, wrapping his thin coat
round his shoulders, for it was a bitterly cold af-
ternoon. He began operations by turning into
the Town Hall Tavern for a good feed and a
copious drink. Mr. Francis Howard noted that
he seemed to eye every passer-by with suspicion,
but he seemed to enjoy his dinner, and sat some
time over his bottle of wine.

" It was close upon four o'clock when he left
the tavern, and then began for the indefatigable
Mr. Howard one of the most wearisome and un-
interesting chases, through the mazes of the Lon-
don streets, he ever remembers to have made.
Up Netting Hill, down the slums of Netting
Dale, along the High Street, beyond Hammer-
smith, and through Shepherd's Bush did that
anonymous tramp lead the unfortunate detective,
never hurrying himself, stopping every now
and then at a public-house to get a drink,
whither Mr. Howard did not always care to fol-
low him.

" In spite of his fatigue, Mr. Francis Howard's
hopes rose with every half hour of this weary
tramp. The man was obviously striving to kill
time; he seemed to feel no weariness, but walked



A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE 49

on and on, perhaps suspecting that he was being
followed.

" At last, with a beating heart, though half per-
ished with cold, and with terribly sore feet, the
detective began to realise that the tramp was
gradually working his way back towards Ken-
sington. It was then close upon eleven o'clock
at night; once or twice the man had walked up
and down the High Street, from St. Paul's School
to Derry and Toms' shops and back again, he
had looked down one or two of the side streets
and at last he turned into Phillimore Terrace.
He seemed in no hurry, he even stopped once in
the middle of the road, trying to light a pipe,
which, as there was a high east wind, took him
some considerable time. Then he leisurely saun-
tered down the street, and turned into Adam and
Eve mews, with Mr. Francis Howard now close
at his heels.

" Acting upon the detective's instructions, there
were several men in plain clothes ready to his call
in the immediate neighbourhood. Two stood
within the shadow of the steps of the Congrega-
tional Church at the corner of the mews, others
were stationed well within a soft call.

" Hardly, therefore, had the hare turned into
the cul-de-sac at the back of Phillimore Terrace
than, at a slight sound from Mr. Francis Howard,
every egress was barred to him, and he was
caught like a rat in a trap.



50 THE MAN IN THE CORNER

"As soon as the tramp had advanced some
thirty yards or so (the whole length of this part
of the mews is about one hundred yards) and was
lost in the shadow, Mr. Francis Howard directed
four or five of his men to proceed cautiously up
the mews, whilst the same number were to form
a line all along the front of Phillimore Terrace
between the mews and the High Street.

" Remember, the back-garden walls threw long
and dense shadows, but the silhouette of the man
would be clearly outlined if he made any attempt
at climbing over them. Mr. Howard felt quite
sure that the thief was bent on recovering the
stolen goods, which, no doubt, he had hidden in
the rear of one of the houses. He would be
caught in flagrante delicto, and, with a heavy
sentence hovering over him, he would probably be
induced to name his accomplice. Mr. Francis
Howard was thoroughly enjoying himself.

" The minutes sped on ; absolute silence, in spite
of the presence of so many men, reigned in the
dark and deserted mews.

" Of course, this night's adventure was never
allowed to get into the papers," added the man
in the corner with his mild smile. " Had the plan
been successful, we should have heard all about
it, with a long eulogistic article as to the astute-
ness of our police ; but as it was well, the tramp
sauntered up the mews and there he remained
for aught Mr. Francis Howard or the other con-



A NIGHT'S ADVENTURE 51

stables could ever explain. The earth or the
shadows swallowed him up. No one saw him
climb one of the garden walls, no one heard him
break open a door; he had retreated within the
shadow of the garden walls, and was seen or
heard of no more."

" One of the servants in the Phillimore Terrace
houses must have belonged to the gang," said
Polly with quick decision.

"Ah, yes! but which?" said the man in the
corner, making a beautiful knot in his bit of string.
" I can assure you that the police left not a stone
unturned once more to catch sight of that tramp
whom they had had in custody for two days, but
not a trace of him could they find, nor of the dia-
monds, from that day to this."



CHAPTER VI

ALL HE KNEW

" THE tramp was missing," continued the man
in the corner, " and Mr. Francis Howard tried
to find the missing tramp. Going round to the
front, and seeing the lights at No. 26 still in, he
called upon Mr. Shipman. The jeweller had had
a few friends to dinner, and was giving them
whiskies and sodas before saying good-night. The
servants had just finished washing up, and were
waiting to go to bed; neither they nor Mr. Ship-
man nor his guests had seen or heard anything of
the suspicious individual.

" Mr. Francis Howard went on to see Mr. Fer-
dinand Knopf. This gentleman was having his
warm bath, preparatory to going to bed. So
Robertson told the detective. However, Mr.
Knopf insisted on talking to Mr. Howard through
his bath-room door. Mr. Knopf thanked him for
all the trouble he was taking, and felt sure that
he and Mr. Shipman would soon recover posses-
sion of their diamonds, thanks to the persever-
ing detective.

"He! he! he!" laughed the man in the
corner. " Poor Mr. Howard. He persevered
but got no farther; no, nor anyone else, for that

s*



ALL HE KNEW 53

matter. Even I might not be able to convict
the thieves if I told all I knew to the police.

" Now, follow my reasoning, point by point,"
he added eagerly.

"Who knew of the presence of the diamonds
in the house of Mr. Shipman and Mr. Knopf?
Firstly," he said, putting up an ugly clawlike
finger, " Mr. Shipman, then Mr. Knopf, then pre-
sumably, the man Robertson."

"And the tramp?" said Polly.

"Leave the tramp alone for the present since
he has vanished, and take point number two.
Mr. Shipman was drugged. That was pretty ob-
vious; no man under ordinary circumstances
would, without waking, have his keys abstracted
and then replaced at his own bedside. Mr.
Howard suggested that the thief was armed with
some anaesthetic; but how did the thief get into
Mr. Shipman's room without waking him from
his natural sleep? Is it not simpler to suppose
that the thief had taken the precaution to drug
the jeweller before the latter went to bed?"

" But "

" Wait a moment, and take point number
three. Though there was every proof that Mr.
Shipman had been in possession of 25,000 worth
of goods since Mr. Knopf had a cheque from him
for that amount, there was no proof that in Mr.
Knopf's house there was even an odd stone worth
a sovereign.



54 THE MAN IN THE CORNER

" And then again," went on the scarecrow, get-
ting more and more excited, " did it ever strike
you, or anybody else, that at no time, while the
tramp was in custody, while all that searching ex-
amination was being gone on with, no one ever
saw Mr. Knopf and his man Robertson together at
the same time?

" Ah ! " he continued, whilst suddenly the young
girl seemed to see the whole thing as in a vision,
" they did not forget a single detail follow them
with me, point by point. Two cunning scoundrels.
geniuses they should be called well provided
with some ill-gotten funds but determined on a
grand coup. They play at respectability, for six
months, say. One is the master, the other the ser-
vant; they take a house in the same street as their
intended victim, make friends with him, accom-
plish one or two creditable but very small busi-
ness transactions, always drawing on the reserve
funds, which might even have amounted to a few
hundred and a bit of credit.

"Then the Brazilian diamonds, and the Paris-
ians which, remember, were so perfect that they
required chemical testing to be detected. The
Parisian stones are sold not in business, of course
in the evening, after dinner and a good deal of
wine. Mr. Knopf's Brazilians were beautiful;
perfect! Mr. Knopf was a well-known diamond
merchant.

" Mr. Shipman bought but with the morning



ALL HE KNEW 55

would have come sober sense, the cheque stopped
before it could have been presented, the swindler
caught. No ! those exquisite Parisians were never
intended to rest in Mr. Shipman's safe until the
morning. That last bottle of '48 port, with the
aid of a powerful soporific, insured that Mr. Ship-
man would sleep undisturbed during the night.

" Ah ! remember all the details, they were so
admirable! the letter posted in Brighton by the
cunning rogue to himself, the smashed desk, the
broken pane of glass in his own house. The man
Robertson on the watch, while Knopf himself in
ragged clothing found his way into No. 26. If
Constable D 21 had not appeared upon the scene
that exciting comedy in the early morning would
not have been enacted. As it was, in the supposed
fight, Mr. Shipman's diamonds passed from the
hands of the tramp into those of his accomplice.

l< Then, later on, Robertson, ill in bed, while
his master was supposed to have returned by the
way, it never struck anybody that no one saw Mr.
Knopf come home, though he surely would have
driven up in a cab. Then the double part played
by one man for the next two days. It certainly
never struck either the police or the inspector. Re-
member they only saw Robertson when in bed
with a streaming cold. But Knopf had to be got
out of gaol as soon as possible; the dual role
could not have been kept up for long. Hence
the story of the diamonds found in the garden of



56 THE MAN IN THE CORNER

No. 22. The cunning rogues guessed that the
usual plan would be acted upon, and the suspected
thief allowed to visit the scene where his hoard lay
hidden.

" It had all been foreseen, and Robertson must
have been constantly on the watch. The tramp
stopped, mind you, in Phillimore Terrace for some
moments, lighting a pipe. The accomplice, then,
was fully on the alert; he slipped the bolts of the
back garden gate. Five minutes later Knopf was
in the house, in a hot bath, getting rid of the dis-


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