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safer for all parties. I bolted two bits of gum in that excursion."

But Drummond was already out of earshot, dodging rapidly through the bushes on his way to The Larches; and when the American finally overtook him, he was standing by a side-door knocking hard on the panels.

"Seems kind of empty," said the detective thoughtfully, as the minutes went by and no one came. "Why not try the front door?"

"Because it's in sight of the other house," said Hugh briefly. "I'm going to break in."

He retreated a yard from the door, then, bracing his shoulder, he charged it once. And the door, as a door, was not…. Rapidly the two men went from room to room—bedrooms, servants' quarters, even the bathroom. Every one was empty: not a sound could be heard in the house. Finally, only the dining-room remained, and as they stood by the door looking round, the American shifted his third piece of gum to a new point of vantage.

"Somebody has been rough-housing by the look of things," he remarked judicially. "Looks like a boozing den after a thick night."

"It does," remarked Hugh grimly, taking in the disorder of the room. The tablecloth was pulled off, the telephone lay on the floor. China and glass, smashed to pieces, littered the carpet; but what caught his eye, and caused him suddenly to step forward and pick it up, was a plain circle of glass with a black cord attached to it through a small hole.

"Algy Longworth's eyeglass," he muttered. "So he's been caught too."