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The Grand Babylon Hotel

4. Entrance Of The Prince
NEVERTHELESS, sundry small things weighed on Racksole's mind. First there
was Jules' wink. Then there was the ribbon on the door-handle and Jules'
visit to No. 111, and the broken window - broken from the outside. Racksole did
not forget that the time was 3 a.m. He slept but little that night, but he was glad
that he had bought the Grand Babylon Hotel. It was an acquisition which seemed
to promise fun and diversion.
The next morning he came across Mr Babylon early. 'I have emptied my private
room of all personal papers,' said Babylon, 'and it is now at your disposal.
I purpose, if agreeable to yourself, to stay on in the hotel as a guest for the
present. We have much to settle with regard to the completion of the purchase,
and also there are things which you might want to ask me. Also, to tell the truth, I
am not anxious to leave the old place with too much suddenness. It will be a
wrench to me.'
'I shall be delighted if you will stay,' said the millionaire, 'but it must be as my
guest, not as the guest of the hotel.'
'You are very kind.'
'As for wishing to consult you, no doubt I shall have need to do so, but I must say
that the show seems to run itself.'
'Ah!' said Babylon thoughtfully. 'I have heard of hotels that run themselves. If they
do, you may be sure that they obey the laws of gravity and run downwards. You
will have your hands full. For example, have you yet heard about Miss Spencer?'
'No,' said Racksole. 'What of her?'
'She has mysteriously vanished during the night, and nobody appears to be able
to throw any light on the affair. Her room is empty, her boxes gone.
You will want someone to take her place, and that someone will not be very easy
to get.'
'H'm!' Racksole said, after a pause. 'Hers is not the only post that falls vacant to-
day.'
A little later, the millionaire installed himself in the late owner's private room and
rang the bell.
'I want Jules,' he said to the page.
While waiting for Jules, Racksole considered the question of Miss Spencer's
disappearance.
'Good morning, Jules,' was his cheerful greeting, when the imperturbable waiter
arrived.
'Good morning, sir.'
'Take a chair.'
'Thank you, sir.'
'We have met before this morning, Jules.'
'Yes, sir, at 3 a.m.'
'Rather strange about Miss Spencer's departure, is it not?' suggested Racksole.
'It is remarkable, sir.'
 
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