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that I should unravel the tangled skein of crime and extricate papa."

In a spasm of uncontrollable excitement James sucked his teeth. "Lumme, it wouldn't 'alf go on the movies, would it?" he remarked. "Better than them Red Indians and things."

"I fear, James, that you are not in the habit of spending your spare time at the British Museum, as I hoped," said Drummond. "And your brain doesn't work very quickly. The point is not whether this hideous affair is better than Red Indians and things—but whether it's genuine. Am I to battle with murderers, or shall I find a house-party roaring with laughter on the lawn?"

"As long as you laughs like 'ell yourself, sir, I don't see as 'ow it makes much odds," answered James philosophically.

"The first sensible remark you've made this morning," said his master hopefully. "I will go prepared to laugh."

He picked up a pipe from the mantelpiece, and proceeded to fill it, while James Denny still waited in silence.

"A lady may ring up to-day," Drummond continued. "Miss Benton, to be exact. Don't say where I've gone if she does; but take down any message, and wire it to me at Godalming Post Office. If by any chance you don't hear from me for three days, get in touch with Scotland Yard, and tell 'em where I've gone. That covers everything if it's genuine. If, on the other hand, it's a hoax, and the house-party is a good one, I shall probably want you to come down with my evening clothes and some more kit."