By Ronald Knox
ILLUSTRATED BY KENNETH HAUFF
NI i how Lb ciii know all tine?"
"Thei i l here the eheenie gout cunicsUI. Seet'UtnIQ done: but eliew• mg ewe le mere croon. I do ne: pruiese to thee-re:awl ithy people
chew . entire:aloe is tied 11 is merale a haul el lidgeting. 'Hose people who talk about the uneotiseioue would probably tell you that all fidgeting is a form of 't.• o it ipr osal.ton: Olaerve ?het word, for it le the great Loh) in their logic. Their idea ie that reetatteleeo does itrv murder his grandmother, but he does twiddle his
thumbs. They will tell yule consequently, that twiddling your thumbs is a kind of compensation for not murdering your grandmother. But the whole strength of their case should it oti their hirtilit.y In prove hi. (on) ection belwi'en the two things, and instead of proving it you will mot they steedily is1i1Lic 1. 1Icevevei as I was saying-the peculiarity or ran 1-leered's special chewing-gunt this: that it can be drawn out to an
naletinee lenetla heel forme n thread of almost invisible fineness. It you :dere") such threads, say, between cite t'hair end another till over ti room, is 1 ind round your room, Reeves, last night. the great probability is that a casual visitor will walk into it and
carry whole Strands of it away With him, witholit noticing anything pettillar."
"What!" said Reeves, • you mean like Sherlouk Ilonnes and tIle Cigarette-ash on the earget." "It was not on of Holmes's more I. riginat performances. Ile hail been anticipated, in print of fact., by the prophet Daniel. You should read tlie. story of 13e1 and the Dragon, Beeves."
-And now." mid Gordon, "I suppose we proceed to the station, and take a good look et the tronspr-ends of all tam elutefellows as they wait for the Londoe tvain?"
'Why, no. I do not think that method would be very fruitftll. My idea was not to discover who it is that visit Reeves's room, roll !flake siiie that there Is somebody who does so, aiill that lie does not L-unitt through door.'
'' Ill Fact, that he comes through the V. Indoe ?'
"No, iny dear Gerrclon, it. Is not iNerybody vA ho has your agility in negoliateig windows. The windows
Ii I ithestiuti are a gOutt twenty feet train the ground; there is no Oreill e Irenear them; and anyone wave attempted 10 put a ladder lip to thorn leave traces among the b▪ egonias oenrath which even a eaddie would not find it dancult to fellow op." 4. 'Wen, conic on, don't be so Mrhat IS 11? A. secret paesage?" " Dalt eeenis to be the only sensible
Enhitloti. Ono dreee not, uf course, expeet a secret pa.ssage n (dub h ouse. But then, you see, this is not
I ike oilier eitilahousee, and you. Iteeves, must have been etruek liiai 1.:ysell by the :significance of what Matra-at% was saying last night."
-What. N1-ds Marryatt SUYing last 'Aetna' Why. that the Oatvtles were Catholics, nay, Werft noted Recusants, Tight hip 1e l•he time of the third 'William. That means, Of cOurst. ihat they harboured prrieste; and you (ii Id not harbour prieste within this chi-tenet if Crindon witheut having a priestee hiding-hole. There was a mart. his name eerapes trie at the moment, eho made it his -speetal feeeinetes to go about construeting these hitlitighnles. A priori. then, it is fairly certain that there must be seinie architectural secret about the old nianor-hreise of the Oatviles. And nerhhips, lii this as they rail to a Keret ei.teeee,1 'Ilveve:. my boy," said Gordon, " you'll have to Lee p thie dark, or they'li be putting up the lent of your loom, "
Iteeves still scented a little die eatistied. "But surely, Carmichael, while we W CFO 111/0111 11 We could have kept w ulli Ili 1110 11.101i!
.t.eeli where the hiding place is, and who comee out el II.'
" I.CH1111 110 len ine.
how much of oi i. eohversetion doeS
thie geieleinen uverheer? .enel where
innuutsiiijou.: room timid e-rit have
hidden with any salety? Honest ly, don t believe he would have (-erne out except while he knew that you and tierdon w ere busy watching the wrung bide or 111e door.'
"You're assuming. of COLOSV, that ac can't have got in at the door by a dupla. lie key after Reeves and 1 event to bed?"
"I ant not assuming thee I know it, milt the liberty of putting .a I-0.1 ot It:at-Useful ithewing-guni across the
lock of the door, mid it was still undis turbed in the morning. ee herein; the cheeimegum which stretched between the eheire lied been ploughed up in every nireetion."
"As It Is, though, we've still got tQ find the entranCe tt) t110 passag,e."
"As you say, I thought we might spend U happy mortung looking for iI.
ret's see, there is a piano in your rooms; do you play Br
°Titat'S eXactly what we want.* HON du you. mean?"
"Why, •ie you sit in your morns playing the piano, the gentleman on the other side of the partition will probably aetanne that. nothing much is happening. If you play it loudly, you will drown any little thumping noises we may happen to make. And if you plaeit very badly, the gentleman on the ether side, if he is at all musie,al. Nvill probably retreat to tho' utmost lirnies of his hiding-place."
"But look here," sal id Gordon, "we're itet certain that tine man is the murderer. Is it, quite hutuatte-"
"Oh, shut up," said Mordaunt 'levees. "You're right, Carmichael, es lisual. What's wrong with marling now? " iteevre it must be eonfieesej. did his part of the programme adintra.bly. Ile nen sang to kis own aceomehiniinene \alien he got to "Land of Hope and Glory." tiurclOri asked if he might not have eOttOn-wool itt his eats. lie also expressed a .fear that all the other residents N‘'Calld come in asking Reeves In stop. nut fortunately ii waS a tilrlo f day at which residents are either in London on business, or going round the links like Sensible men.
INIel.uNvhile, under eL,vcr of Tleeve.,', Inirrag,e, the spareli as pri.J(1!.edj:i.a
-The said Cartnielinel, "Is out ur hie question. Even if there was a concealed nap-door iii it. it tvould be In risky to let down ladders and mill them iip again. Now, h. w about -Ow floor: There's this telt. undereerpet I eiipprae. that'e nailed down all light, Reevee?
"Wider sine and whirr." isti.rlw 11C.C.1-(14,
" it down myself
Bougie. in Tottenham Court Road Just a yea.-car
" lioilody.ti .beP1-1 ill a position to take liberties with the carpet. iliat's clear, and it goes right iip to the , does, or the floor, -el I think ea irea rule the floor out, too. Noe-, (Jordon, :veleta four walls Sr choose from-eine 'NMI t he door in it, one opposite with the windows in it, one with the fireplere iii it. and on blank, where the hook-cese :tends. Which are you beteing on?
'I'm riot betting on any. But I'm maintaining that the door wall is the one to seareti first, benause We've only to open the door to era what thickness It is."
"There's eon-lathing in I lial. JIII Pc, ; 'The door standein n hit or a ri.re5:. Where's that tape mea,sure? A Loot and a half-hardly gond enough, is it Ion see, if you lap the panelling here the sound is quite dull, and that memo. there's iank behind the panelling. And there's something thicker than mete pla.-ter on the paseage :hide, too. The, neeterious gentleman curt be quite tes thie as all that. No bulges in the well, exeept of ceurse that big oak chest. Du Neel know what's Weide t•hat uhest, Rervee'r " "Yes. I ken that ebest. it's as full as can be
With my own odds and endB, and it's all full of drawers.
And the key's on the mantelpiece if you don't believe ma With eis hounds and his born in the morning...* was the 'reassuring, it nut x•ery metrical
"Then fled does for the wall. Now, 1110 window wall's thiek; yott ears see that front the window EtteeSSeS. On the other hand, its got to carry the thickness ol' the outer wall, and the outer walls of Ttidor buildings are generally 1.retty Mich. Artillery, you see, had abolished the pestle idea, but from force of lia.bit, they went on inaking their °Weide walls llink, Ine :thee you never knew what rnight liapieen. And Of course sotne or levee bre ti hooses did stand siege---yeei 'mow Aeleal elate
I expect. in Birmingham. It snunds genuine when you tap it, doesn't it?"
yeea eetd h,erdein, liatenine.
"Re.sides, if you rome to think of it this house is pre-Reformation. There was no reaehon why they ehould wane a. secret passage in it when it was built. But when the hart limes started, and they wanted a refuge for the priesle, the, man who ra.rne to build the hiding
place wouldn't plea tiny tricks with a great solid oilL-Iiir. wall. He woula
sureiy run up a lalee partake) between two rooms."
I" Admirable," said t.armichael. ." It ;004 aa et vie should have to trespaet
mi Reeves's neighbours. Reeves, who lives in the rooms next yours?"
"Tbe ono no the left," sung Reeves, "is iLoionet Steele;
I fancy you both mnst know him, And Mr. Murdoch's on the right. He plays dm 'rear,. blow him! Both or them work in London town,
So they're both of them out this morning;
Of that them is tia manner of doubt. No possible. prOha.ble shadow of doubt, No manner of doubt whatever."
'Good," .said Gordon. " I'll etep the rooms, shall 1, while you step the passage? We hardly need the tapemeasure yet.'
" Better do bulb, it you wun't mind; then the paee will he the same." And Ca rmithaie letsied himself in wander ing round the room looking for cracks till Gorden, reappeared. 'Well,' he Said, " 1V1 I at news?'
"The fireplace wall, T fancy." said Gordon. "From the door ■.ir colonel Steele's room 4ir cluor of thie, walk
ing down the 1.:1----ege, it takes twelve Si rides. Inside his room, I only take
five strides so the wall. Inside this room, 1 take a bii over five .stricles to
the same wall. Therefore there must Iii' a thickness of about. H. pax*. and a
half between Colonel Steele's room and Reeveles. Now ono POWS In thirds of ji.
hi` wouldn't hear Mnedoch's
tpere was that thirkneee the other side."
".1 pare and :I half? The priests must have been on the thin side. Yes, that would he it: there must be ft length of
aboet ten feet from the lireplare to the well en the side of the fireplace opposite lo the window.. Somewhere in that ten feet we've got to find the spring."
"Good heavens!" said Gordon suddenly, "suppose there's a sliding panel."
"A man couldn't get through one or these panels-not even yell. Gordon, in yolir human-124)1)ra Opt.,"
said Reeves, who had stopped singing for the moment.
"No, but a man might put his arm
:through it and take the photograph
away, and put another in its place, while the people in the room were closely occupied-arranging their hands at bridge, for example."
" You've got it! " said Cermichael. " But why, why? " HP and Gordon hoth went to t.lw SpOt WilPri! the Martograph had rested on the cornice two nights before. There was a erect: hear it, through tvhich it might be eessible for a man standieg in the dark beyond to keep a watch on the inside of the room, but this crack seemed to hold no further secret. It was Gordon who eventually, fingering the little mouldings on the lower side of the cornice, found one which pushed upwards, acting es a sort of latch. A little tug at the remaining mouldings made the panel turn Sideways and disclose a triangular opening of a few inches across. through which Beeves' vointerone rendering of " Annie Laurie." burst into the stillness of the priests' hiding-place.
CHAPTER XIII The Mon in the Passage
" Well." said Gordon, " what do we do next? "
" The first thing," said Cearrnichael, "is to shut up this hole again exactly as it was The next thing is to discuss %Oat we do next. Arid, Reeves, I think It might be best if you went on playing for a little:"
"If music be the food of detection,"
agreed Gordon, " Pisa' on6 fte 11; excess of it, that surfeiting, teae mysterious gentleman he.hind the panelling may sicken, and so die, Well, be can't have conic through that
"No," said Carmichael, "hut there's certain to be another catch .just inside which will open the secret door. You see, that hole is obviously for a man to put his arm through. And as the nrmhole opens from this side, the catch .a the deer will clearly open from the other. But, just, personally, 1 iii n•t.
very much Nvant to open that door without considering first het we're going to find on the other side, Is this man arthed, • for eXan,ple? Is theta likely to be another opening he can escape tlirough? 1 confess to an aversion from taking any risks,''
"If be came here straight from the railway," said Reeves front the Manta 'he wouldn't be likely to have any lire anus with him.'
"But you forget," said Gordon, "h must have tin aceurnpliCe outside. somebody who brings him food-wh not weapons, too?'
"It's a conceivable plan," said Car micheel. "to keep a loolouut and catch' this confederate of hie. Because the confederate presumably uses some other entrance, arid if we found e: could wait at and end, and let go on pleaing the piano to trthe.aetNvNee.
he couldn't stick it much longer. No, that's all very wetl, but I really think we ought to do something at, once, before this man sees that. there's something up. and possibly makes it bolt for it. I know the direct method sounds silly, but t Propose that we should go in and take a look round. I don't mind going first,"
" don't see much good in all three of us going in. What happens it our man breaks cover through the ether entrance. Inn see, it may be a member of the club all the time; who could turn up smiling at the other end, and nobody have a right to question ham" "One moment,' said C.annieha Pl. " Nov we conic to think of it, we di" know where the other end of the pas sawgt;ivia-s. We know that the old chape was tile present billiards-room, why not lock this door, and go and have a look at the billiards-roonyt You and Gordon can have a came, or pretend to, while I take a loa: Found the To be continued