Bat Wing HTML version

Colin Camber's Secret
"I brought this bat wing from Haiti," he explained, replacing it in the tray. "It was
found beneath the pillow of a negro missionary who had died mysteriously during
the night."
He returned the tray to the drawer, closed the latter, and, standing erect, raised
clenched hands above his head.
"With no thought of blasphemy," he said, "but with reverence, I thank God from
the bottom of my heart that Juan Menendez is dead."
He reseated himself, whilst Harley regarded him silently, then:
"'The evil that men do lives after them,'" he murmured. He rested his chin upon
his hand. "A bat wing," he continued, musingly, "a bat wing was nailed to
Menendez's door." He stared across at Harley. "Am I to believe, sir, that this was
the clue which led you to the Guest House?"
Paul Harley nodded.
"It was."
"I understand. I must therefore take no more excursions into my special subject,
but must endeavour to regard the matter from the point of view of the enquiry.
Am I to assume that Menendez was acquainted with the significance of this
"He had seen it employed in the West Indies."
"Ah, the black-hearted devil! But I fear I am involving myself more deeply in
suspicion. Perhaps, Mr. Harley, the ends of justice would be better served if you
were to question me, and I to confine myself to answering you."
"Very well," Harley agreed: "when and where did you meet the late Colonel
"I never met him in my life."
"Do you mean that you had never spoken to him?"
"Hm. Tell me, Mr. Camber, where were you at twelve o'clock last night?"
"Here, writing."
"And where was Ah Tsong?"
"Ah Tsong?" Colin Camber stared uncomprehendingly. "Ah Tsong was in bed."
"Oh, Did anything disturb you?"
"Yes, the sound of a rifle shot."
"You knew it for a rifle shot?"
"It was unmistakable."
"What did you do?"
"I was in the midst of a most important passage, and I should probably have
taken no steps in the matter but that Ah Tsong knocked upon the study door, to
inform me that my wife had been awakened by the sound of the shot. She is
somewhat nervous and had rung for Ah Tsong, asking him to see if all were well
with me."
"Do I understand that she imagined the sound to have come from this room?"