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7. Further Evidence
The examination of Quentin Gray was three times interrupted by telephone
messages from Vine Street; and to the unsatisfactory character of these the
growing irascibility of Chief Inspector Kerry bore testimony. Then the divisional
surgeon arrived, and Burton incurred the wrath of the Chief Inspector by deserting
his post to show the doctor upstairs.
"If inspired idiocy can help the law," shouted Kerry, "the man who did this job is as
good as dead!" He turned his fierce gaze in Gray's direction. "Thank you, sir. I
need trouble you no further."
"Do you wish me to remain?"
"No. Inspector Whiteleaf, see these two gentlemen past the Sergeant on duty."
"But damn it all!" cried Gray, his pent-up emotions at last demanding an outlet, "I
won't submit to your infernal dragooning! Do you realize that while you're standing
here, doing nothing--absolutely nothing--an unhappy woman is--"
"I realize," snapped Kerry, showing his teeth in canine fashion, "that if you're not
outside in ten seconds there's going to be a cloud of dust on the stairs!"
White with passion, Gray was on the point of uttering other angry and provocative
words when Seton took his arm in a firm grip. "Gray!" he said sharply. "You leave
with me now or I leave alone."
The two walked from the room, followed by Whiteleaf. As they disappeared:
"Read out all the times mentioned in the last witness's evidence," directed Kerry,
undisturbed by the rencontre.
Sergeant Coombes smiled rather uneasily, consulting his notebook.
"'At about half-past six I drove to Bond Street,'" he began.
"I said the times," rapped Kerry. "I know to what they refer. Just give me the times
as mentioned."
"Oh," murmured Coombes, "Yes. 'About half-past six.'" He ran his finger down the
page. "'A quarter to seven.' 'Seven o'clock.' 'Twenty-five minutes past seven.' 'Eight
o'clock.' "
"Stop!" said Kerry. "That's enough." He fixed a baleful glance upon Gunn, who
from a point of the room discreetly distant from the terrible red man was watching
with watery eyes. "Who's the smart in all the overcoats?" he demanded.
"My name is James Gunn," replied this greatly insulted man in a husky voice.
"Who are you? What are you? What are you doing here?"
"I'm employed by Spinker's Agency, and--"
"Oh!" shouted Kerry, moving his shoulders. He approached the speaker and glared
menacingly into his purple face. "Ho, ho! So you're one of the queer birds out of
that roost, are you? Spinker's Agency! Ah, yes!" He fixed his gaze now upon the
pale features of Brisley. "I've seen you before, haven't I?"
"Yes, Chief Inspector," said Brisley, licking his lips. "Hayward's Heath. We have
been retained by--"
"You have been retained!" shouted Kerry. "You have!"