Murder in the Gunroom HTML version

Chapter 6
The Fleming butler—Walters, Rand remembered Gladys Fleming having called him—
became apologetic upon learning who the visitor was.
"Forgive me, Colonel Rand, but I'm afraid I must put you to some inconvenience, sir," he
said. "You see, we have no chauffeur, at present, and I don't drive very well, myself.
Would you object to putting up your own car, sir? The garage is under the house, at the
rear; just follow the driveway around. I'll go through the house and meet you there for the
luggage. I'm dreadfully sorry to put you to the trouble, but...."
"Oh, that's all right," Rand comforted him. "Just as soon do it, myself, now, anyhow. I
expect to be in and out with the car while I'm here, and I'd better learn the layout of the
garage now."
"You may back in, sir, or drive straight in and back out," the butler told him. "One way's
about as easy as the other."
Rand returned to his car, driving around the house. A row of doors opened out of the
basement garage; Walters, who must have gone through the house on the double, was
waiting for him. Having what amounted to a conditioned reflex to park his car so that he
could get it out as fast as possible, he cut over to the right, jockeyed a little, and backed
in. There were already two cars in the garage; a big maroon Packard sedan, and a sand-
colored Packard station-wagon, standing side by side. Rand put his Lincoln in on the left
of the sedan.
"Bags in the luggage-compartment; it isn't locked," he told the butler, making sure that
the glove-compartment, where he had placed the Leech & Rigdon revolver, was locked.
As he got out, the servant went to the rear of the car and took out the Gladstone and the
B-4 bag Rand had brought with him.
"If you don't mind entering the house from the rear, sir, we can go up those steps, there,
and through the rear hall," the butler suggested, almost as though he were making some
indecent and criminal proposal.
Rand told him to forget the protocol and lead the way. The butler picked up the bags and
conducted him up a short flight of concrete steps to a landing and a door opening into a
short hall above. An open door from this gave access to a longer hall, stretching to the
front of the house, and there was a third door, closed, which probably led to the servants'
Rand followed his guide through the open door and into the long hall, which passed
under an arch to extend to the front door. There was a door on either side, about midway
to the arch under the front stairway; the one on the right was the dining-room, Walters
explained, and the one on the left was the library. He seemed to be still suffering from the
ignominy of admitting a house-guest through any but the main portal.