The Coin Of Dionysius





It was eight o'clock at night and raining, scarcely a time when a

business so limited in its clientele as that of a coin dealer could

hope to attract any customer, but a light was still showing in the

small shop that bore over its window the name of Baxter, and in the

even smaller office at the back the proprietor himself sat reading the

latest Pall Mall. His enterprise seemed to be justified, for

presently the door bell gave its announcement, and throwing down his

paper Mr. Baxter went forward.



As a matter of fact the dealer had been expecting someone and his

manner as he passed into the shop was unmistakably suggestive of a

caller of importance. But at the first glance towards his visitor the

excess of deference melted out of his bearing, leaving the urbane,

self-possessed shopman in the presence of the casual customer.



"Mr. Baxter, I think?" said the latter. He had laid aside his dripping

umbrella and was unbuttoning overcoat and coat to reach an inner

pocket. "You hardly remember me, I suppose? Mr. Carlyle--two years ago

I took up a case for you--"



"To be sure. Mr. Carlyle, the private detective--"



"Inquiry agent," corrected Mr. Carlyle precisely.



"Well," smiled Mr. Baxter, "for that matter I am a coin dealer and not

an antiquarian or a numismatist. Is there anything in that way that I

can do for you?"



"Yes," replied his visitor; "it is my turn to consult you." He had

taken a small wash-leather bag from the inner pocket and now turned

something carefully out upon the counter. "What can you tell me about

that?"



The dealer gave the coin a moment's scrutiny.



"There is no question about this," he replied. "It is a Sicilian

tetradrachm of Dionysius."



"Yes, I know that--I have it on the label out of the cabinet. I can

tell you further that it's supposed to be one that Lord Seastoke gave

two hundred and fifty pounds for at the Brice sale in '94."



"It seems to me that you can tell me more about it than I can tell

you," remarked Mr. Baxter. "What is it that you really want to know?"



"I want to know," replied Mr. Carlyle, "whether it is genuine or not."



"Has any doubt been cast upon it?"



"Certain circumstances raised a suspicion--that is all."



The dealer took another look at the tetradrachm through his magnifying

glass, holding it by the edge with the careful touch of an expert.

Then he shook his head slowly in a confession of ignorance.



"Of course I could make a guess--"



"No, don't," interrupted Mr. Carlyle hastily. "An arrest hangs on it

and nothing short of certainty is any good to me."



"Is that so, Mr. Carlyle?" said Mr. Baxter, with increased interest.

"Well, to be quite candid, the thing is out of my line. Now if it was

a rare Saxon penny or a doubtful noble I'd stake my reputation on my

opinion, but I do very little in the classical series."



Mr. Carlyle did not attempt to conceal his disappointment as he

returned the coin to the bag and replaced the bag in the inner pocket.



"I had been relying on you," he grumbled reproachfully. "Where on

earth am I to go now?"



"There is always the British Museum."



"Ah, to be sure, thanks. But will anyone who can tell me be there

now?"



"Now? No fear!" replied Mr. Baxter. "Go round in the morning--"



"But I must know to-night," explained the visitor, reduced to despair

again. "To-morrow will be too late for the purpose."



Mr. Baxter did not hold out much encouragement in the circumstances.



"You can scarcely expect to find anyone at business now," he remarked.

"I should have been gone these two hours myself only I happened to

have an appointment with an American millionaire who fixed his own

time." Something indistinguishable from a wink slid off Mr. Baxter's

right eye. "Offmunson he's called, and a bright young pedigree-hunter

has traced his descent from Offa, King of Mercia. So he--quite

naturally--wants a set of Offas as a sort of collateral proof."



"Very interesting," murmured Mr. Carlyle, fidgeting with his watch. "I

should love an hour's chat with you about your millionaire

customers--some other time. Just now--look here, Baxter, can't you

give me a line of introduction to some dealer in this sort of thing

who happens to live in town? You must know dozens of experts."



"Why, bless my soul, Mr. Carlyle, I don't know a man of them away from

his business," said Mr. Baxter, staring. "They may live in Park Lane

or they may live in Petticoat Lane for all I know. Besides, there

aren't so many experts as you seem to imagine. And the two best will

very likely quarrel over it. You've had to do with 'expert witnesses,'

I suppose?"



"I don't want a witness; there will be no need to give evidence. All I

want is an absolutely authoritative pronouncement that I can act on.

Is there no one who can really say whether the thing is genuine or

not?"



Mr. Baxter's meaning silence became cynical in its implication as he

continued to look at his visitor across the counter. Then he relaxed.



"Stay a bit; there is a man--an amateur--I remember hearing wonderful

things about some time ago. They say he really does know."



"There you are," explained Mr. Carlyle, much relieved. "There always

is someone. Who is he?"



"Funny name," replied Baxter. "Something Wynn or Wynn something." He

craned his neck to catch sight of an important motor-car that was

drawing to the kerb before his window. "Wynn Carrados! You'll excuse

me now, Mr. Carlyle, won't you? This looks like Mr. Offmunson."



Mr. Carlyle hastily scribbled the name down on his cuff.



"Wynn Carrados, right. Where does he live?"



"Haven't the remotest idea," replied Baxter, referring the arrangement

of his tie to the judgment of the wall mirror. "I have never seen the

man myself. Now, Mr. Carlyle, I'm sorry I can't do any more for you.

You won't mind, will you?"



Mr. Carlyle could not pretend to misunderstand. He enjoyed the

distinction of holding open the door for the transatlantic

representative of the line of Offa as he went out, and then made his

way through the muddy streets back to his office. There was only one

way of tracing a private individual at such short notice--through the

pages of the directories, and the gentleman did not flatter himself by

a very high estimate of his chances.



Fortune favoured him, however. He very soon discovered a Wynn Carrados

living at Richmond, and, better still, further search failed to

unearth another. There was, apparently, only one householder at all

events of that name in the neighbourhood of London. He jotted down the

address and set out for Richmond.



The house was some distance from the station, Mr. Carlyle learned. He

took a taxicab and drove, dismissing the vehicle at the gate. He

prided himself on his power of observation and the accuracy of his

deductions which resulted from it-a detail of his business. "It's

nothing more than using one's eyes and putting two and two together,"

he would modestly declare, when he wished to be deprecatory rather

than impressive. By the time he had reached the front door of "The

Turrets" he had formed some opinion of the position and tastes of the

people who lived there.



A man-servant admitted Mr. Carlyle and took his card--his private

card, with the bare request for an interview that would not detain Mr.

Carrados for ten minutes. Luck still favoured him; Mr. Carrados was at

home and would see him at once. The servant, the hall through which

they passed, and the room into which he was shown, all contributed

something to the deductions which the quietly observant gentleman, was

half unconsciously recording.



"Mr. Carlyle," announced the servant.



The room was a library or study. The only occupant, a man of about

Carlyle's own age, had been using a typewriter up to the moment of his

visitor's entrance. He now turned and stood up with an expression of

formal courtesy.



"It's very good of you to see me at this hour," apologised Mr.

Carlyle.



The conventional expression of Mr. Carrados's face changed a little.



"Surely my man has got your name wrong?" he explained. "Isn't it Louis

Calling?"



Mr. Carlyle stopped short and his agreeable smile gave place to a

sudden flash of anger or annoyance.



"No sir," he replied stiffly. "My name is on the card which you have

before you."



"I beg your pardon," said Mr. Carrados, with perfect good-humour. "I

hadn't seen it. But I used to know a Calling some years ago--at St.

Michael's."



"St. Michael's!" Mr. Carlyle's features underwent another change, no

less instant and sweeping than before. "St. Michael's! Wynn Carrados?

Good heavens! it isn't Max Wynn--old 'Winning' Wynn"?



"A little older and a little fatter--yes," replied Carrados. "I have

changed my name you see."



"Extraordinary thing meeting like this," said his visitor, dropping

into a chair and staring hard at Mr. Carrados. "I have changed more

than my name. How did you recognize me?"



"The voice," replied Carrados. "It took me back to that little

smoke-dried attic den of yours where we--"



"My God!" exclaimed Carlyle bitterly, "don't remind me of what we were

going to do in those days." He looked round the well-furnished,

handsome room and recalled the other signs of wealth that he had

noticed. "At all events, you seem fairly comfortable, Wynn."



"I am alternately envied and pitied," replied Carrados, with a placid

tolerance of circumstance that seemed characteristic of him. "Still,

as you say, I am fairly comfortable."



"Envied, I can understand. But why are you pitied?"



"Because I am blind," was the tranquil reply.



"Blind!" exclaimed Mr. Carlyle, using his own eyes superlatively. "Do

you mean--literally blind?"



"Literally.... I was riding along a bridle-path through a wood about a

dozen years ago with a friend. He was in front. At one point a twig

sprang back--you know how easily a thing like that happens. It just

flicked my eye--nothing to think twice about."



"And that blinded you?"



"Yes, ultimately. It's called amaurosis."



"I can scarcely believe it. You seem so sure and self-reliant. Your

eyes are full of expression--only a little quieter than they used to

be. I believe you were typing when I came....Aren't you having me?"



"You miss the dog and the stick?" smiled Carrados. "No; it's a fact."



"What an awful affliction for you, Max. You were always such an

impulsive, reckless sort of fellow--never quiet. You must miss such a

fearful lot."



"Has anyone else recognized you?" asked Carrados quietly.



"Ah, that was the voice, you said," replied Carlyle.



"Yes; but other people heard the voice as well. Only I had no

blundering, self-confident eyes to be hoodwinked."



"That's a rum way of putting it," said Carlyle. "Are your ears never

hoodwinked, may I ask?"



"Not now. Nor my fingers. Nor any of my other senses that have to look

out for themselves."



"Well, well," murmured Mr. Carlyle, cut short in his sympathetic

emotions. "I'm glad you take it so well. Of course, if you find it an

advantage to be blind, old man----" He stopped and reddened. "I beg

your pardon," he concluded stiffly.



"Not an advantage perhaps," replied the other thoughtfully. "Still it

has compensations that one might not think of. A new world to explore,

new experiences, new powers awakening; strange new perceptions; life

in the fourth dimension. But why do you beg my pardon, Louis?"



"I am an ex-solicitor, struck off in connexion with the falsifying of

a trust account, Mr. Carrados," replied Carlyle, rising.



"Sit down, Louis," said Carrados suavely. His face, even his

incredibly living eyes, beamed placid good-nature. "The chair on which

you will sit, the roof above you, all the comfortable surroundings to

which you have so amiably alluded, are the direct result of falsifying

a trust account. But do I call you 'Mr. Carlyle' in consequence?

Certainly not, Louis."



"I did not falsify the account," cried Carlyle hotly. He sat down

however, and added more quietly: "But why do I tell you all this? I

have never spoken of it before."



"Blindness invites confidence," replied Carrados. "We are out of the

running--human rivalry ceases to exist. Besides, why shouldn't you? In

my case the account was falsified."



"Of course that's all bunkum, Max" commented Carlyle. "Still, I

appreciate your motive."



"Practically everything I possess was left to me by an American

cousin, on the condition that I took the name of Carrados. He made his

fortune by an ingenious conspiracy of doctoring the crop reports and

unloading favourably in consequence. And I need hardly remind you that

the receiver is equally guilty with the thief."



"But twice as safe. I know something of that, Max ... Have you any

idea what my business is?"



"You shall tell me," replied Carrados.



"I run a private inquiry agency. When I lost my profession I had to do

something for a living. This occurred. I dropped my name, changed my

appearance and opened an office. I knew the legal side down to the

ground and I got a retired Scotland Yard man to organize the outside

work."



"Excellent!" cried Carrados. "Do you unearth many murders?"



"No," admitted Mr. Carlyle; "our business lies mostly on the

conventional lines among divorce and defalcation."



"That's a pity," remarked Carrados. "Do you know, Louis, I always had

a secret ambition to be a detective myself. I have even thought lately

that I might still be able to do something at it if the chance came my

way. That makes you smile?"



"Well, certainly, the idea----"



"Yes, the idea of a blind detective--the blind tracking the alert--"



"Of course, as you say, certain facilities are no doubt quickened,"

Mr. Carlyle hastened to add considerately, "but, seriously, with the

exception of an artist, I don't suppose there is any man who is more

utterly dependent on his eyes."



Whatever opinion Carrados might have held privately, his genial

exterior did not betray a shadow of dissent. For a full minute he

continued to smoke as though he derived an actual visual enjoyment

from the blue sprays that travelled and dispersed across the room. He

had already placed before his visitor a box containing cigars of a

brand which that gentleman keenly appreciated but generally regarded

as unattainable, and the matter-of-fact ease and certainty with which

the blind man had brought the box and put it before him had sent a

questioning flicker through Carlyle's mind.



"You used to be rather fond of art yourself, Louis," he remarked

presently. "Give me your opinion of my latest purchase--the bronze

lion on the cabinet there." Then, as Carlyle's gaze went about the

room, he added quickly: "No, not that cabinet--the one on your left."



Carlyle shot a sharp glance at his host as he got up, but Carrados's

expression was merely benignly complacent. Then he strolled across to

the figure.



"Very nice," he admitted. "Late Flemish, isn't it?"



"No, It is a copy of Vidal's 'Roaring Lion.'"



"Vidal?"



"A French artist." The voice became indescribably flat. "He, also, had

the misfortune to be blind, by the way."



"You old humbug, Max!" shrieked Carlyle, "you've been thinking that

out for the last five minutes." Then the unfortunate man bit his lip

and turned his back towards his host.



"Do you remember how we used to pile it up on that obtuse ass Sanders,

and then roast him?" asked Carrados, ignoring the half-smothered

exclamation with which the other man had recalled himself.



"Yes," replied Carlyle quietly. "This is very good," he continued,

addressing himself to the bronze again. "How ever did he do it?"



"With his hands."



"Naturally. But, I mean, how did he study his model?"



"Also with his hands. He called it 'seeing near.'"



"Even with a lion--handled it?"



"In such cases he required the services of a keeper, who brought the

animal to bay while Vidal exercised his own particular gifts ... You

don't feel inclined to put me on the track of a mystery, Louis?"



Unable to regard this request as anything but one of old Max's

unquenchable pleasantries, Mr. Carlyle was on the point of making a

suitable reply when a sudden thought caused him to smile knowingly. Up

to that point, he had, indeed, completely forgotten the object of his

visit. Now that he remembered the doubtful Dionysius and Baxter's

recommendation he immediately assumed that some mistake had been made.

Either Max was not the Wynn Carrados he had been seeking or else the

dealer had been misinformed; for although his host was wonderfully

expert in the face of his misfortune, it was inconceivable that he

could decide the genuineness of a coin without seeing it. The

opportunity seemed a good one of getting even with Carrados by taking

him at his word.



"Yes," he accordingly replied, with crisp deliberation, as he

re-crossed the room; "yes, I will, Max. Here is the clue to what seems

to be a rather remarkable fraud." He put the tetradrachm into his

host's hand. "What do you make of it?"



For a few seconds Carrados handled the piece with the delicate

manipulation of his finger-tips while Carlyle looked on with a

self-appreciative grin. Then with equal gravity the blind man weighed

the coin in the balance of his hand. Finally he touched it with his

tongue.



"Well?" demanded the other.



"Of course I have not much to go on, and if I was more fully in your

confidence I might come to another conclusion----"



"Yes, yes," interposed Carlyle, with amused encouragement.



"Then I should advise you to arrest the parlourmaid, Nina Brun,

communicate with the police authorities of Padua for particulars of

the career of Helene Brunesi, and suggest to Lord Seastoke that he

should return to London to see what further depredations have been

made in his cabinet."



Mr. Carlyle's groping hand sought and found a chair, on to which he

dropped blankly. His eyes were unable to detach themselves for a

single moment from the very ordinary spectacle of Mr. Carrados's

mildly benevolent face, while the sterilized ghost of his now

forgotten amusement still lingered about his features.



"Good heavens!" he managed to articulate, "how do you know?"



"Isn't that what you wanted of me?" asked Carrados suavely.



"Don't humbug, Max," said Carlyle severely. "This is no joke." An

undefined mistrust of his own powers suddenly possessed him in the

presence of this mystery. "How do you come to know of Nina Brun and

Lord Seastoke?"



"You are a detective, Louis," replied Carrados. "How does one know

these things? By using one's eyes and putting two and two together."



Carlyle groaned and flung out an arm petulantly.



"Is it all bunkum, Max? Do you really see all the time--though that

doesn't go very far towards explaining it."



"Like Vidal, I see very well--at close quarters," replied Carrados,

lightly running a forefinger along the inscription on the tetradrachm.

"For longer range I keep another pair of eyes. Would you like to test

them?"



Mr. Carlyle's assent was not very gracious; it was, in fact, faintly

sulky. He was suffering the annoyance of feeling distinctly

unimpressive in his own department; but he was also curious.



"The bell is just behind you, if you don't mind," said his host.

"Parkinson will appear. You might take note of him while he is in."



The man who had admitted Mr. Carlyle proved to be Parkinson.



"This gentleman is Mr. Carlyle, Parkinson," explained Carrados the

moment the man entered. "You will remember him for the future?"



Parkinson's apologetic eye swept the visitor from head to foot, but so

lightly and swiftly that it conveyed to that gentleman the comparison

of being very deftly dusted.



"I will endeavour to do so, sir," replied Parkinson, turning again to

his master.



"I shall be at home to Mr. Carlyle whenever he calls. That is all."



"Very well, sir."



"Now, Louis," remarked Mr. Carrados briskly, when the door had closed

again, "you have had a good opportunity of studying Parkinson. What is

he like?"



"In what way?"



"I mean as a matter of description. I am a blind man--I haven't seen

my servant for twelve years--what idea can you give me of him? I asked

you to notice."



"I know you did, but your Parkinson is the sort of man who has very

little about him to describe. He is the embodiment of the ordinary.

His height is about average----"



"Five feet nine," murmured Carrados. "Slightly above the mean."



"Scarcely noticeably so. Clean-shaven. Medium brown hair. No

particularly marked features. Dark eyes. Good teeth."



"False," interposed Carrados. "The teeth--not the statement."



"Possibly," admitted Mr. Carlyle. "I am not a dental expert and I had

no opportunity of examining Mr. Parkinson's mouth in detail. But what

is the drift of all this?"



"His clothes?"



"Oh, just the ordinary evening dress of a valet. There is not much

room for variety in that."



"You noticed, in fact, nothing special by which Parkinson could be

identified?"



"Well, he wore an unusually broad gold ring on the little finger of

the left hand."



"But that is removable. And yet Parkinson has an ineradicable mole--a

small one, I admit--on his chin. And you a human sleuth-hound. Oh,

Louis!"



"At all events," retorted Carlyle, writhing a little under this

good-humoured satire, although it was easy enough to see in it

Carrados's affectionate intention--"at all events, I dare say I can

give as good a description of Parkinson as he can give of me."



"That is what we are going to test. Ring the bell again."



"Seriously?"



"Quite. I am trying my eyes against yours. If I can't give you fifty

out of a hundred I'll renounce my private detectorial ambition for

ever."



"It isn't quite the same," objected Carlyle, but he rang the bell.



"Come in and close the door, Parkinson," said Carrados when the man

appeared. "Don't look at Mr. Carlyle again--in fact, you had better

stand with your back towards him, he won't mind. Now describe to me

his appearance as you observed it."



Parkinson tendered his respectful apologies to Mr. Carlyle for the

liberty he was compelled to take, by the deferential quality of his

voice.



"Mr. Carlyle, sir, wears patent leather boots of about size seven and

very little used. There are five buttons, but on the left boot one

button--the third up--is missing, leaving loose threads and not the

more usual metal fastener. Mr. Carlyle's trousers, sir, are of a dark

material, a dark grey line of about a quarter of an inch width on a

darker ground. The bottoms are turned permanently up and are, just

now, a little muddy, if I may say so."



"Very muddy," interposed Mr. Carlyle generously. "It is a wet night,

Parkinson."



"Yes, sir; very unpleasant weather. If you will allow me, sir, I will

brush you in the hall. The mud is dry now, I notice. Then, sir,"

continued Parkinson, reverting to the business in hand, "there are

dark green cashmere hose. A curb-pattern key-chain passes into the

left-hand trouser pocket."



From the visitor's nether garments the photographic-eyed Parkinson

proceeded to higher ground, and with increasing wonder Mr. Carlyle

listened to the faithful catalogue of his possessions. His

fetter-and-link albert of gold and platinum was minutely described.

His spotted blue ascot, with its gentlemanly pearl scarfpin, was set

forth, and the fact that the buttonhole in the left lapel of his

morning coat showed signs of use was duly noted. What Parkinson saw he

recorded, but he made no deductions. A handkerchief carried in the

cuff of the right sleeve was simply that to him and not an indication

that Mr. Carlyle was, indeed, left-handed.



But a more delicate part of Parkinson's undertaking remained. He

approached it with a double cough.



"As regards Mr. Carlyle's personal appearance, sir--"



"No, enough!" cried the gentleman concerned hastily. "I am more than

satisfied. You are a keen observer, Parkinson."



"I have trained myself to suit my master's requirements, sir," replied

the man. He looked towards Mr. Carrados, received a nod and withdrew.



Mr. Carlyle was the first to speak.



"That man of yours would be worth five pounds a week to me, Max," he

remarked thoughtfully. "But, of course--"



"I don't think that he would take it," replied Carrados, in a voice of

equally detached speculation. "He suits me very well. But you have the

chance of using his services--indirectly."



"You still mean that--seriously?"



"I notice in you a chronic disinclination to take me seriously, Louis.

It is really--to an Englishman--almost painful. Is there something

inherently comic about me or the atmosphere of The Turrets?"



"No, my friend," replied Mr. Carlyle, "but there is something

essentially prosperous. That is what points to the improbable. Now

what is it?"



"It might be merely a whim, but it is more than that," replied Carrados.

"It is, well, partly vanity, partly ennui, partly"--certainly there

was something more nearly tragic in his voice than comic now--"partly

hope."



Mr. Carlyle was too tactful to pursue the subject.



"Those are three tolerable motives," he acquiesced. "I'll do anything

you want, Max, on one condition."



"Agreed. And it is?"



"That you tell me how you knew so much of this affair." He tapped the

silver coin which lay on the table near them. "I am not easily

flabbergasted," he added.



"You won't believe that there is nothing to explain--that it was

purely second-sight?"



"No," replied Carlyle tersely: "I won't."



"You are quite right. And yet the thing is very simple."



"They always are--when you know," soliloquised the other. "That's what

makes them so confoundedly difficult when you don't."



"Here is this one then. In Padua, which seems to be regaining its old

reputation as the birthplace of spurious antiques, by the way, there

lives an ingenious craftsman named Pietro Stelli. This simple soul,

who possesses a talent not inferior to that of Cavino at his best, has

for many years turned his hand to the not unprofitable occupation of

forging rare Greek and Roman coins. As a collector and student of

certain Greek colonials and a specialist in forgeries I have been

familiar with Stelli's workmanship for years. Latterly he seems to

have come under the influence of an international crook called--at the

moment--Dompierre, who soon saw a way of utilizing Stelli's genius on

a royal scale. Helene Brunesi, who in private life is--and really is,

I believe--Madame Dompierre, readily lent her services to the

enterprise."



"Quite so," nodded Mr. Carlyle, as his host paused.



"You see the whole sequence, of course?"



"Not exactly--not in detail," confessed Mr. Carlyle.



"Dompierre's idea was to gain access to some of the most celebrated

cabinets of Europe and substitute Stelli's fabrications for the

genuine coins. The princely collection of rarities that he would thus

amass might be difficult to dispose of safely, but I have no doubt

that he had matured his plans. Helene, in the person of Nina Brun, an

Anglicised French parlourmaid--a part which she fills to

perfection--was to obtain wax impressions of the most valuable pieces

and to make the exchange when the counterfeits reached her. In this

way it was obviously hoped that the fraud would not come to light

until long after the real coins had been sold, and I gather that she

has already done her work successfully in general houses. Then,

impressed by her excellent references and capable manner, my

housekeeper engaged her, and for a few weeks she went about her duties

here. It was fatal to this detail of the scheme, however, that I have

the misfortune to be blind. I am told that Helene has so innocently

angelic a face as to disarm suspicion, but I was incapable of being

impressed and that good material was thrown away. But one morning my

material fingers--which, of course, knew nothing of Helene's angelic

face--discovered an unfamiliar touch about the surface of my favourite

Euclideas, and, although there was doubtless nothing to be seen, my

critical sense of smell reported that wax had been recently pressed

against it. I began to make discreet inquiries and in the meantime my

cabinets went to the local bank for safety. Helene countered by

receiving a telegram from Angiers, calling her to the death-bed of her

aged mother. The aged mother succumbed; duty compelled Helene to

remain at the side of her stricken patriarchal father, and doubtless

The Turrets was written off the syndicate's operations as a bad debt."



"Very interesting," admitted Mr. Carlyle; "but at the risk of seeming

obtuse"--his manner had become delicately chastened--"I must say that

I fail to trace the inevitable connexion between Nina Brun and this

particular forgery--assuming that it is a forgery."



"Set your mind at rest about that, Louis," replied Carrados. "It is a

forgery, and it is a forgery that none but Pietro Stelli could have

achieved. That is the essential connexion. Of course, there are

accessories. A private detective coming urgently to see me with a

notable tetradrachm in his pocket, which he announces to be the clue

to a remarkable fraud--well, really, Louis, one scarcely needs to be

blind to see through that."



"And Lord Seastoke? I suppose you happened to discover that Nina Brun

had gone there?"



"No, I cannot claim to have discovered that, or I should certainly

have warned him at once when I found out--only recently--about the

gang. As a matter of fact, the last information I had of Lord Seastoke

was a line in yesterday's Morning Post to the effect that he was

still at Cairo. But many of these pieces--" He brushed his finger

almost lovingly across the vivid chariot race that embellished the

reverse of the coin, and broke off to remark: "You really ought to

take up the subject, Louis. You have no idea how useful it might prove

to you some day."



"I really think I must," replied Carlyle grimly. "Two hundred and

fifty pounds the original of this cost, I believe."



"Cheap, too; it would make five hundred pounds in New York to-day. As

I was saying, many are literally unique. This gem by Kimon is--here is

his signature, you see; Peter is particularly good at lettering--and

as I handled the genuine tetradrachm about two years ago, when Lord

Seastoke exhibited it at a meeting of our society in Albemarle Street,

there is nothing at all wonderful in my being able to fix the locale

of your mystery. Indeed, I feel that I ought to apologize for it all

being so simple."



"I think," remarked Mr. Carlyle, critically examining the loose

threads on his left boot, "that the apology on that head would be more

appropriate from me."





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