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"Yes, so I gathered from Juliet. But I thought you might have gleaned some notion of the line of defence from your work in the laboratory—the microscopical and photographic work I mean."

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"Ah! you don't think you have." Sir Hector Trumpler smiled significantly at the jury, and continued—

CHAPTER XIII. THE LAST BATTLE

"I did tell him," he said, "for I felt I owed it to him. He was a good friend to me, was Mr. Minchin; and neither of us was getting enough for all we did. That was what I felt; to have his own way, the boss'd ride roughshod over us both, and he himself only—but that's tellings again. You must wait a bit, mister! Mr. Minchin hadn't to wait so very long, because I thought we could make him listen to two of us, so one night I told him what I knew. You could ha' knocked him down with a feather. Nobody dreamt of it in New South Wales. No, there wasn't a hand on the place who would have thought it o' the boss! Well, he was fond of Minchin, treated him like a son, and perhaps he wasn't such a good son as he might have been. But when he told the boss what I told him, and made the suggestion that I thought would come best from a gent like him—"

This secret concerned the existence and described the whereabouts of a tremendous treasure, belonging to the kings, which increased in dimensions from century to century.

“I must thank you,” said Sherlock Holmes, “for calling my attention to a case which certainly presents some features of interest. I had observed some newspaper comment at the time, but I was exceedingly preoccupied by that little affair of the Vatican cameos, and in my anxiety to oblige the Pope I lost touch with several interesting English cases. This article, you say, contains all the public facts?”

"If they came with the intention of killing Mlle. de Saint-Veran, why didn't they murder her in her room?"

The jury had been absent but forty minutes after all; and their expedition seemed as ill an omen as their nervous and responsible faces. There was a moment's hush, another moment of prophetic murmurs, and then a stillness worthy of its subsequent description in every newspaper. The prisoner was standing in the front of the dock, a female warder upon either hand. The lightning pencil of the new journalist had its will of her at last. For Mrs. Minchin had dispensed not only with the chair which she had occupied all the week, but also with the heavy veil which she had but partially lifted during her brief sojourn in the witness-box, and never once in the dock. The veil was now flung back over the widow's bonnet, peaking and falling like a sable cowl, against which the unearthly pallor of her face was whiter far then that of the merely dead, just as mere death was the least part of the fate confronting her. Yet she had raised her veil to look it fairly in the face, and the packed assembly marvelled as it gazed.

"I will call them the footprints of the deceased," replied Thorndyke imperturbably. "I took a mould of one of them, and with it, on the same mould, one of my own footprints. Here is the mould, and here is a cast from it." (He turned and took them from the triumphant Polton, who had tenderly lifted them out of the trunk in readiness.) "On looking at the cast, it will be seen that the appearances are not such as would be expected. The deceased was five feet nine inches high, but was very thin and light, weighing only nine stone six pounds, as I ascertained by weighing the body, whereas I am five feet eleven and weigh nearly thirteen stone. But yet the footprint of the deceased is nearly twice as deep as mine—that is to say, the lighter man has sunk into the sand nearly twice as deeply as the heavier man."

1.Langholm walked back to his hotel, revolving this advice. Its soundness was undeniable, while the source from which it came gave it exceptional weight and value. It was an expert opinion which no man in his senses could afford to ignore, and Langholm felt that Mrs. Steel also ought at least to hear it before building on his efforts. The letter would prepare her for his ultimate failure, as it was only fair that she should be prepared, and yet would leave him free to strain every nerve in any fresh direction in which a chance ray lit the path. But it would be a difficult letter to write, and Langholm was still battling with the first sentence when he reached the Cadogan.

2.

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