The Man in Lower Ten HTML version

5. The Woman In The Next Car
With the departure of the conductor and the doctor, the group around lower ten broke up,
to re-form in smaller knots through the car. The porter remained on guard. With
something of relief I sank into a seat. I wanted to think, to try to remember the details of
the previous night. But my inquisitive acquaintance had other intentions. He came up and
sat down beside me. Like the conductor, he had taken notes of the dead man's belongings,
his name, address, clothing and the general circumstances of the crime. Now with his
little note-book open before him, he prepared to enjoy the minor sensation of the robbery.
"And now for the second victim," he began cheerfully. "What is your name and address,
please?" I eyed him with suspicion.
"I have lost everything but my name and address," I parried. "What do you want them
for? Publication?"
"Oh, no; dear, no!" he said, shocked at my misapprehension. "Merely for my own
enlightenment. I like to gather data of this kind and draw my own conclusions. Most
interesting and engrossing. Once or twice I have forestalled the results of police
investigation - but entirely for my own amusement."
I nodded tolerantly. Most of us have hobbies; I knew a man once who carried his
handkerchief up his sleeve and had a mania for old colored prints cut out of Godey's
Lady's Book.
"I use that inductive method originated by Poe and followed since with such success by
Conan Doyle. Have you ever read Gaboriau? Ah, you have missed a treat, indeed. And
now, to get down to business, what is the name of our escaped thief and probable
"How on earth do I know?" I demanded impatiently. "He didn't write it in blood
anywhere, did he?"
The little man looked hurt and disappointed.
"Do you mean to say," he asked, "that the pockets of those clothes are entirely empty?"
The pockets! In the excitement I had forgotten entirely the sealskin grip which the porter
now sat at my feet, and I had not investigated the pockets at all. With the inquisitive
man's pencil taking note of everything that I found, I emptied them on the opposite seat.
Upper left-hand waist-coat, two lead pencils and a fountain pen; lower right waist-coat,
match-box and a small stamp book; right-hand pocket coat, pair of gray suede gloves,
new, size seven and a half; left-hand pocket, gun-metal cigarette case studded with pearls,
half-full of Egyptian cigarettes. The trousers pockets contained a gold penknife, a small
amount of money in bills and change, and a handkerchief with the initial "S" on it.