They did not linger long over their examination of the rooms. But after
replacing the broken doors as best they could and sealing them, they
went out by the main entrance to question the watchman, whom they found
dozing in his chair.
Had he seen anything of Mrs. Athelstone? Sure; he'd called a cab for her
about an hour ago and she'd driven off with her brother.
"Her brother!" echoed Simpkins.
"Yep," yawned the watchman; "you know him--parson--Doctor Brander.
"Nothing," Simpkins returned sourly, but to himself he added, "Oh,
Once in the street again, after a word of explanation to the watchman,
the officers and Simpkins separated, they to report and send out an
alarm for Mrs. Athelstone and Brander, he to call up his office before
rejoining them. His exultation over his beat was keyed somewhat lower,
now that he understood what Brander's real interest in Mrs. Athelstone
was. Mentally, he wrung the neck of Buttons for not having known it;
figuratively, he kicked himself for not having guessed it; literally, he
damned his employers for their British reserve, their cool assumption
that because he was their clerk he was not interested in their family
affairs. "Cuss 'em for snobs," he wound up finally, a deep sense of his
personal grievance stirring his sociable Yankee soul.