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43. The Story Of The Crime
"You are all aware," Seton continued, "that Sir Lucien Pyne was an admirer of Mrs.
Irvin. God knows, I hold no brief for the man, but this love of his was the one
redeeming feature of a bad life. How and when it began I don't profess to know,
but it became the only pure thing which he possessed. That he was instrumental in
introducing you, Mrs. Irvin, to the unfortunately prevalent drug habit, you will not
deny; but that he afterwards tried sincerely to redeem you from it I can positively
affirm. In seeking your redemption he found his own, for I know that he was
engaged at the time of his death in extricating himself from the group. You may say
that he had made a fortune, and was satisfied; that is your view, Gray. I prefer to
think that he was anxious to begin a new life and to make himself more worthy of
the respect of those he loved.
"There was one obstacle which proved too great for him--Mrs. Sin. Although Juan
Mareno was the spokesman of the group, Lola Mareno was the prompter. All Sir
Lucien's plans for weaning Mrs. Irvin from the habits which she had acquired were
deliberately and malignantly foiled by this woman. She endeavored to inveigle Mrs.
Irvin into indebtedness to you, Gray, as you know now. Failing in this, she
endeavored to kill her by depriving her of that which had at the time become
practically indispensable. A venomous jealousy led her to almost suicidal
measures. She risked exposure and ruin in her endeavors to dispose of one whom
she looked upon as a rival.
"During Sir Lucien's several absences from London she was particularly active,
and this brings me to the closing scene of the drama. On the night that you
determined, in desperation, Mrs. Irvin, to see Kazmah personally, you will recall
that Sir Lucien went out to telephone to him?"
Rita nodded but did not speak.
"Actually," Seton explained, "he instructed Mareno to go across the leads to
Kazmah's directly you had left the flat, and to give you a certain message as
'Kazmah.' He also instructed Mareno to telephone certain orders to Rashid, the
Egyptian attendant. In spite of the unforeseen meeting with Gray, all would have
gone well, no doubt, if Mrs. Sin had not chanced to be on the Kazmah premises at
the time that the message was received!
"I need not say that Mrs. Sin was a remarkable woman, possessing many
accomplishments, among them that of mimicry. She had often amused herself by
taking Mareno's place at the table behind Kazmah, and, speaking in her brother's
oracular voice, had delivered the 'revelations.' Mareno was like wax in his sister's
hands, and on this fateful night, when he arrived at the place--which he did a few
minutes before Mrs. Irvin, Gray and Sir Lucien--Mrs. Sin peremptorily ordered him
to wait upstairs in the Cubanis office, and she took her seat in the room from which
the Kazmah illusions were controlled.
"So carefully arranged was every detail of the business that Rashid, the Egyptian,
was ignorant of Sir Lucien's official connection with the Kazmah concern. He had
been ordered--by Mareno speaking from Sir Lucien's flat--to admit Mrs. Irvin to the