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The Grand Babylon Hotel

12. Rocco And Room No.111
ON the afternoon of the same day - the interview just described had occurred in
the morning - Racksole was visited by another idea, and he said to himself that
he ought to have thought of it before. The conversation with Mr Sampson Levi
had continued for a considerable time, and the two men had exchanged various
notions, and agreed to meet again, but the theory that Reginald Dimmock had
probably been a traitor to his family - a traitor whose repentance had caused his
death - had not been thoroughly discussed; the talk had tended rather to
Continental politics, with a view to discovering what princely family might have an
interest in the temporary disappearance of Prince Eugen. Now, as Racksole
considered in detail the particular affair of Reginald Dimmock, deceased, he was
struck by one point especially, to wit: Why had Dimmock and Jules manoeuvred
to turn Nella Racksole out of Room No. 111 on that first night? That they had so
manoeuvred, that the broken window-pane was not a mere accident, Racksole
felt perfectly sure. He had felt perfectly sure all along; but the significance of the
facts had not struck him. It was plain to him now that there must be something of
extraordinary and peculiar importance about Room No. 111. After lunch he
wandered quietly upstairs and looked at Room No. 111; that is to say, he looked
at the outside of it; it happened to be occupied, but the guest was leaving that
evening. The thought crossed his mind that there could be no object in gazing
blankly at the outside of a room; yet he gazed; then he wandered quickly down
again to the next floor, and in passing along the corridor of that floor he stopped,
and with an involuntary gesture stamped his foot.
'Great Scott!' he said, 'I've got hold of something - No. 111 is exactly over the
State apartments.'
He went to the bureau, and issued instructions that No. 111 was not to be re-let
to anyone until further orders. At the bureau they gave him Nella's note, which
ran thus:
Dearest Papa, - I am going away for a day or two on the trail of a due.
If I'm not back in three days, begin to inquire for me at Ostend. Till then leave me
alone. - Your sagacious daughter, NELL.
These few words, in Nella's large scrawling hand, filled one side of the paper. At
the bottom was a P.T.O. He turned over, and read the sentence, underlined,
'P.S. - Keep an eye on Rocco.'
'I wonder what the little creature is up to?' he murmured, as he tore the letter into
small fragments, and threw them into the waste-paper basket.
Then, without any delay, he took the lift down to the basement, with the object of
making a preliminary inspection of Rocco in his lair. He could scarcely bring
himself to believe that this suave and stately gentleman, this enthusiast of
gastronomy, was concerned in the machinations of Jules and other rascals
unknown. Nevertheless, from habit, he obeyed his daughter, giving her credit for
a certain amount of perspicuity and cleverness.
The kitchens of the Grand Babylon Hotel are one of the wonders of Europe.