29. A Lee-Enfield Rifle
What reply I should have offered to this astonishing remark I cannot say, but at
that moment the library door burst open unceremoniously, and outlined against
the warmly illuminated hall, where sunlight poured down through the dome, I
beheld the figure of Inspector Aylesbury.
"Ah!" he cried, loudly, "so you have come back, Mr. Harley? I thought you had
thrown up the case."
"Did you?" said Harley, smilingly. "No, I am still persevering in my ineffectual
"Oh, I see. And have you quite convinced yourself that Colin Camber is
"In one or two particulars my evidence remains incomplete."
"Oh, in one or two particulars, eh? But generally speaking you don't doubt his
"I don't doubt it for a moment."
Harley's words surprised me. I recognized, of course, that he might merely be
bluffing the Inspector, but it was totally alien to his character to score a rhetorical
success at the expense of what he knew to be the truth; and so sure was I of the
accuracy of my deductions that I no longer doubted Colin Camber to be the guilty
"At any rate," continued the Inspector, "he is in detention, and likely to remain
there. If you are going to defend him at the Assizes, I don't envy you your job, Mr.
He was blatantly triumphant, so that the fact was evident enough that he had
obtained some further piece of evidence which he regarded as conclusive.
"I have detained the man Ah Tsong as well," he went on. "He was an accomplice
of your innocent friend, Mr. Harley."
"Was he really?" murmured Harley.
"Finally," continued the Inspector, "I have only to satisfy myself regarding the
person who lured Colonel Menendez out into the grounds last night, to have my
I turned aside, unable to trust myself, but Harley remarked quite coolly:
"Your industry is admirable, Inspector Aylesbury, but I seem to perceive that you
have made a very important discovery of some kind."
"Ah, you have got wind of it, have you?"
"I have no information on the point," replied Harley, "but your manner urges me
to suggest that perhaps success has crowned your efforts?"
"It has," replied the Inspector. "I am a man that doesn't do things by halves. I
didn't content myself with just staring out of the window of that little hut in the
grounds of the Guest House, like you did, Mr. Harley, and saying 'twice one are
two'--I looked at every book on the shelves, and at every page of those books."
"You must have materially added to your information?"
"Ah, very likely, but my enquiries didn't stop there. I had the floor up."