When we had left the house, the inspector turned to me and said—
"It was a piece of luck finding a dressmaker opposite. Commend me to ladies of that profession for knowing what goes on in the street. Now we will visit Messrs. Goddard and James and see who hired the things. Meantime, Williams" (here he called the plain-clothes constable to him), "you had better remain here and watch that house. If the man we saw comes out, follow him, and let me know where he goes."
"Very good, sir," the constable replied, and we left him to his vigil.
Then hailing a passing cab, we jumped into it and directed the driver to convey us to George Street. By this time it was getting on for midday, and we were both worn out. But I was in such a state of nervousness that I could not remain inactive. Phyllis had been in Nikola's hands nearly thirteen hours, and so far we had not obtained one single definite piece of information as to her whereabouts.
Arriving at the shop of Messrs. Goddard and James, we went inside and asked to see the chief partner. An assistant immediately conveyed us to an office at the rear of the building, where we found an elderly gentleman writing at a desk. He looked up as we entered, and then, seeing the inspector's uniform, rose and asked our business.
"The day before yesterday," began my companion, "you supplied a gentleman with a number of South Sea weapons and curios on hire, did you not?"
"I remember doing so—yes!" was the old gentle man's answer. "What about it?"
"Only I should be glad if you would favour me with