Challoner's eye, which had been somewhat restless since the trade of the detective had been named, now rested for a moment on the columns of the morning paper, where it lay spread upon the counter.
`By Jove,' he cried, `that's odd!'
`What is odd?' asked Paul.
`Oh, nothing,' returned the other: `only I once met a person called M'Guire.'
`So did I!' cried Somerset. `Is there anything about him?'
Challoner read as follows: `Mysterious death in Stepney. An inquest was held yesterday on the body of Patrick M'Guire, described as a carpenter. Doctor Dovering stated that he had for some time treated the deceased as a dispensary patient, for sleeplessness, loss of appetite, and nervous depression. There was no cause of death to be found. He would say the deceased had sunk. Deceased was not a temperate man, which doubtless accelerated death. Deceased complained of dumb ague, but witness had never been able to detect any positive disease. He did not know that he had any family. He regarded him as a person of unsound intellect, who believed himself a member and the victim of some secret society. If he were to hazard an opinion, he would say deceased had died of fear.'
`And the doctor would be right,' cried Somerset; `and my dear Challoner, I am so relieved to hear of his demise, that I will - Well, after all,' he added, `poor devil, he was well served.'
The door at this moment opened, and Desborough appeared upon the threshold. He was wrapped in a long waterproof, imperfectly supplied with buttons; his boots were full of water, his hat greasy with service; and yet he wore the air of one exceeding well content with life. He was hailed by the two others with exclamations of surprise and welcome.
`And did you try the detective business?' inquired Paul.
`No,' returned Harry. `Oh yes, by the way, I did though: twice, and got caught out both times. But I thought I should find my - my wife here?' he added, with a kind of proud confusion.
`What? are you married?' cried Somerset.
`Oh yes,' said Harry, `quite a long time: a month at least.'
`Money?' asked Challoner.
`That's the worst of it,' Desborough admitted. `We are deadly hard up. But the Pri- Mr. Godall is going to do something for us. That is what brings us here.'
`Who was Mrs. Desborough?' said Challoner, in the tone of a man of society.
`She was a Miss Luxmore,' returned Harry. `You fellows will be sure to like her, for she is much cleverer than I. She tells wonderful stories, too; better than a book.'
And just then the door opened, and Mrs. Desborough entered. Somerset cried out aloud to recognise the young lady of the Superfluous Mansion, and Challoner fell back a step and dropped his cigar as he beheld the sorceress of Chelsea.
`What!' cried Harry, `do you both know my wife?'
`I believe I have seen her,' said Somerset, a little wildly.
`I think I have met the gentleman,' said Mrs. Desborough sweetly; `but I cannot imagine where it was.'
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