The Illustrious Prince HTML version
20. The Answer
Mr. Coulson moved his cigar into a corner of his mouth, as though to obtain a clear view
of his questioner's face. His expression was one of bland interest.
"Well, I guess you've got me puzzled, Sir Edward," he said. "You aren't thinking of doing
anything in woollen machinery, are you?"
Sir Edward smiled.
"I think not, Mr. Coulson," he answered. "At any rate, my question had nothing to do
with your other very interesting avocation. What I wanted to ask you was whether you
could tell me anything about a compatriot of yours--a Mr. Hamilton Fynes?"
"Hamilton Fynes!" Mr. Coulson repeated thoughtfully. "Why, that's the man who got
murdered on the cars, going from Liverpool to London."
"That is so," Sir Edward admitted.
Mr. Coulson shook his head.
"I told that reporter fellow all I knew about him," he said. "He was an unsociable sort of
chap, you know, Sir Edward, and he wasn't in any line of business."
"H'm! I thought he might have been," the Minister answered, glancing keenly for a
moment at his visitor. "To tell you the truth, Mr. Coulson, we have been a great deal
bothered about that unfortunate incident, and by the subsequent murder of the young man
who was attached to your Embassy here. Scotland Yard has strained every nerve to bring
the guilty people to justice, but so far unsuccessfully. It seems to me that your friends on
the other side scarcely seem to give us credit for our exertions. They do not help us in the
least. They assure us that they had no knowledge of Mr. Fynes other than has appeared in
the papers. They recognize him only as an American citizen going about his legitimate
business. A little more confidence on their part would, I think, render our task easier."
Mr. Coulson scratched his chin for a moment thoughtfully.
"Well," he said, "I can understand their feeling a bit sore about it. I'm not exactly given to
brag when I'm away from my own country--one hears too much of that all the time--but
between you and me, I shouldn't say that it was possible for two crimes like that to be
committed in New York City and for the murderer to get off scot free in either case."
"The matter," Sir Edward declared, "has given us a great deal of anxiety, and I can assure
you that the Home Secretary himself has taken a strong personal interest in it, but at the
same time, as I have just pointed out to you, our investigations are rendered the more
difficult from the fact that we cannot learn anything definite concerning this Mr.