letter and through a magnifying glass scrutinised both carefully. Having done so, he asked for the envelope in which it had arrived. Mr. Wetherell had thrown it into the waste-paper basket, but a moment's search brought it to light. Again he scrutinised both the first envelope and the letter, and then compared them with the second cover.
"Yes; I thought so," he said. "This letter was written either by Nikola or at his desire. The paper is the same as he purchased at the stationer's shop we visited."
"And what had we better do now?" queried Wetherell, who had been eagerly waiting for him to give his opinion.
"We must think," said the inspector. "In the first place, I suppose you don't feel inclined to pay the large sum mentioned here?"
"Not if I can help it, of course," answered Wetherell. "But if the worst comes to the worst, and I cannot rescue my poor girl in any other way, I would sacrifice even more than that."
"Well, we'll see if we can find her without paying anything," the inspector cried. "I've got an idea in my head."
"And what is that?" I cried, for I, too, had been thinking out a plan.
"Well, first and foremost," he answered, "I want you, Mr. Wetherell, to tell me all you can about your servants. Let us begin with the butler. How long has he been with you?"
"Nearly twenty years."
"A good servant, I presume, and a trustworthy man?"
"To the last degree. I have implicit confidence in him."