The Grand Babylon Hotel

22. In The Wine Cellars Of The Grand Babylon
'DO you know anything of the antecedents of this Jules,' asked Theodore
Racksole, helping himself to whisky.
'Nothing whatever,' said Babylon. 'Until you told me, I don't think I was aware that
his true name was Thomas Jackson, though of course I knew that it was not
Jules. I certainly was not aware that Miss Spencer was his wife, but I had long
suspected that their relations were somewhat more intimate than the nature of
their respective duties in the hotel absolutely demanded. All that I do know of
Jules - he will always be called Jules - is that he gradually, by some mysterious
personal force, acquired a prominent position in the hotel. Decidedly he was the
cleverest and most intellectual waiter I have ever known, and he was specially
skilled in the difficult task of retaining his own dignity while not interfering with
that of other people.
I'm afraid this information is a little too vague to be of any practical assistance in
the present difficulty.'
'What is the present difficulty?' Racksole queried, with a simple air.
'I should imagine that the present difficulty is to account for the man's presence in
'That is easily accounted for,' said Racksole.
'How? Do you suppose he is anxious to give himself up to justice, or that the
chains of habit bind him to the hotel?'
'Neither,' said Racksole. 'Jules is going to have another try - that's all.'
'Another try at what?'
'At Prince Eugen. Either at his life or his liberty. Most probably the former this
time; almost certainly the former. He has guessed that we are somewhat
handicapped by our anxiety to keep Prince Eugen's predicament quite quiet, and
he is taking advantage, of that fact. As he already is fairly rich, on his own
admission, the reward which has been offered to him must be enormous, and he
is absolutely determined to get it. He has several times recently proved himself to
be a daring fellow; unless I am mistaken he will shortly prove himself to be still
more daring.'
'But what can he do? Surely you don't suggest that he will attempt the life of
Prince Eugen in this hotel?'
'Why not? If Reginald Dimmock fell on mere suspicion that he would turn out
unfaithful to the conspiracy, why not Prince Eugen?'
'But it would be an unspeakable crime, and do infinite harm to the hotel!'
'True!' Racksole admitted, smiling. Little Felix Babylon seemed to brace himself
for the grasping of his monstrous idea.
'How could it possibly be done?' he asked at length.
'Dimmock was poisoned.'
'Yes, but you had Rocco here then, and Rocco was in the plot. It is conceivable
that Rocco could have managed it - barely conceivable. But without Rocco I
cannot think it possible. I cannot even think that Jules would attempt it. You see,
in a place like the Grand Babylon, as probably I needn't point out to you, food has