Dr. Spencer Whiles was sitting
in a very comfortable easy chair,
smoking a particularly good cigar,
with a pile of newspapers by
his side. His appearance certainly
showed no signs of hardship.
His linen, and the details of
his toilet generally, supplied
from some mysterious source into
which he had not inquired, were
much improved. Notwithstanding
his increased comfort, however,
he was looking perplexed, even
a little worried, and the cause
of it was there in front of him,
in the advertisement sheets of
the various newspapers which
had been duly laid upon his table.
The Prince came in quietly
and closed the door behind him.
"Good afternoon, my friend!" he
said. "I understood that you
wished to see me."
The doctor had made up his
mind to adopt a firm attitude.
Nevertheless the genial courtesy
of the Prince's tone and manner
had the same effect upon him
as it had upon most people. He
half rose to his feet and became
at once apologetic.
"I hope that I have not disturbed
you, Prince," he said. "I thought
that I should like to have a
word or two with you concerning
something which I have come across
in these journals."
He tapped them with his forefinger,
and the Prince nodded thoughtfully.
"Your wonderful Press!" he
exclaimed. "How much it is responsible
for! Well, Dr. Whiles, what have
the newspapers to say to you?"
The doctor handed across a
carefully folded journal and
pointed to a certain paragraph.
"Will you kindly read this?" he
The Prince accepted the sheet
and read the paragraph aloud:
REWARD! Disappeared from his
home in Long Whatton
on Wednesday morning last, Herbert
Spencer Whiles, Surgeon. The
above reward will be paid to
any one giving information which
will lead to the discovery of
his present whereabouts. Was
last seen in a motor car, Limousine
body, painted dark green, leaving
Long Whatton in the direction
The Prince laid down the paper,
"Well?" he asked. "That
seems clear enough. Some one
to give fifty pounds to know
where you are."
The doctor tapped the advertisement
with his forefinger impressively.
"Fifty pounds!" he repeated. "There
isn't a person in the world to
whom the knowledge of my movements
is worth fifty pounds--except--"
"Except Mr. Inspector Jacks," Dr.
Whiles said slowly.
The Prince seemed scarcely
to grasp the situation.
"Well," he said, "fifty
pounds is not a great deal
Some unknown person--possibly,
as you suggest, Mr. Jacks--is
willing to give fifty pounds
to discover your whereabouts.
I, on the other hand, am giving
a thousand guineas to keep you
here as my guest. The odds do
not seem even, do they?"
"Put in that way," Dr. Whiles
admitted, "they certainly do
not. But there is another thing
which has come into my mind."
The Prince smiled and helped
himself to one of the very excellent
cigarettes which had been provided
for the delectation of his visitor.
"Pray treat me with every confidence,
Dr. Whiles," he said. "Tell me
exactly what is in your thoughts."
"Well, then, I will," the doctor
answered. "Sitting here with
nothing particular to do, one
has plenty of leisure to think.
For the first time, I have seriously
tried to puzzle out what Mr.
Inspector Jacks really wanted
with me, why he came down to
ask me about the person whom
I treated for injuries resulting
from a bicycle accident one Wednesday
evening not long ago, why he
took me up to London to see if
I could identify that person
in a very different guise. I
have tried to put the pieces
together and to ask myself what
he meant by it all."
"With so much time upon your
hands, Dr. Whiles," the Prince
remarked, "you can scarcely fail
to have arrived at some reasonable
"I don't know whether it is
reasonable or not," the doctor
answered, "but the obvious explanation
is getting on my nerves. There
are two things which I cannot
get away from. One is that I
cannot for the life of me imagine
your riding a bicycle twelve
or fifteen miles north of London
between eleven o'clock and midnight;
and the other--"
"Come, the other?" the
Prince remarked encouragingly.
"The other," the doctor continued, "is
the fact that within half a mile
of my house runs the main London
and North Western line."
"The London and North Western
Railway line," the Prince repeated, "and
what has that to do with it?"
"This much," the doctor answered, "that
on that very night, about half
an hour before your--shall we
call it bicycle accident?--the
special train from Liverpool
to London passed along that line.
You will remember the tragic
occurrence which took place before
she reached London, the murder
of the man Hamilton Fynes. If
you read the report of the evidence
at the inquest, you will notice
the engine driver's declaration
that the only time on the whole
journey when he travelled at
less than forty miles an hour
was when passing over the viaduct
and before entering the tunnel
which is plainly visible from
"This is very interesting," the
Prince remarked, "but it is not
new. We have known all this before.
Perhaps, though, some fresh thing
has come into your mind connected
with these happenings. If so,
please do not hesitate. Let me
"It is a fresh thing to me," the
doctor said,--"fresh, in a sense,
though all the time I have had
an uneasy feeling at the back
of my head. I know now what it
was which brought Inspector Jacks
to see me. I know now what it
was he had at the back of his
head concerning the man who met
with a bicycle accident at this
"Inspector Jacks is a very
shrewd fellow," the Prince said. "I
should not be in the least surprised
if you were entirely right."
The doctor moved restlessly
in his chair. His eyes remained
on his companion's face, as though
"Can't you understand," he
said, "that Inspector Jacks is
on your track? Rightly or wrongly,
he believes that you had something
to do with the murder on the
train that night."
The Prince nodded amiably.
He seemed in no way discomposed.
"I feel convinced," he said, "that
you are right. I agree with you.
I believe that Inspector Jacks
has had that idea for some little
The doctor gripped the sides
of his chair and stared at this
man who discussed a matter so
terrible with calm and perfect
"Yes, I have felt that more
than once," the Prince continued. "My
presence upon the spot at that
precise moment with injuries
which had to be explained somehow
or other, was, without doubt,
The two men sat for several
moments without further speech.
The doctor's features seemed
to reflect something of the horror
which he undoubtedly felt. The
Prince appeared only a trifle
"So that is why," the former
exclaimed hoarsely, "I have been
appointed your physician in chief!"
"I had given you the credit,
my dear doctor," the Prince said
smoothly, "of having arrived
at that decision some time ago.
To a man of your perceptions
there can scarcely have been
any question about it at all.
Besides, even Princes, you know,
do not give fees of a thousand
guineas for nothing."
Dr. Whiles rose slowly to his
"You know the secret of that
murder!" he declared.
"Why ask me?" the Prince answered. "If
I tell you that I do, you may
find conscientious scruples about
remaining here. A man is not
bound, you know, to give himself
away. Make the best of things,
and do not try to see too far."
The doctor was looking a little
"If you were mixed up in that
affair," he said, "and if I remain
here when my evidence is needed,
I become an accomplice."
"Only if you remain here voluntarily," the
Prince reminded him cheerfully. "Remember
that and be comforted. No effort
that you could make now would
bring you into touch with Mr.
Inspector Jacks until I am quite
prepared. So you see, my dear
doctor, that you have nothing
with which to reproach yourself.
I will not insult you," he continued, "by
suggesting that a reward of fifty
pounds could possibly have influenced
your attitude. If you have suffered
your mind to dwell upon it for
a single moment, try and remember
the relative unimportance of
such an amount when compared
with a thousand guineas."
The doctor moved to the window
and back again.
"Supposing," he said, "I
decline to remain here? Supposing
that, believing you now to have
a guilty knowledge of this murder,
I repudiate our bargain? Supposing
I say that I will have nothing
more to do with your thousand
guineas,--that I will leave this
"Then we come to close quarters," the
Prince answered, "and you force
me to tell you in plain words
that, until I am ready for you
to leave it, you are as much
a prisoner in this room as though
the keys of the strongest fortress
in Europe were turned upon you.
I have told you this before.
I thought that we perfectly understood
"I did not understand," the
doctor protested. "I knew that
there was trouble, but I did
not know that it was this!"
"The fact of your knowing or
not knowing makes no difference," the
Prince answered. "You are no
longer a free agent. The only
question for you to decide is
whether you remain here willingly
or whether you will force me
to remind you of our bargain."
The doctor was sitting down
again now. All the time he watched
the Prince with a gleam in his
eyes, partly of horror, partly
of fear. He no longer doubted
but that he was in the presence
of a criminal.
"I am sorry," the Prince continued, "that
you have allowed this little
matter to disturb you. I thought
that we had arranged it all at
our last interview. If you did
not surmise my reasons for keeping
you here, then I am afraid I
gave you credit for more intelligence
than you possess. You will excuse
me now, I am sure," he added,
rising. "I have some letters
to send off before I change.
By the bye, do you care to give
me your parole? It might, perhaps,
lessen the inconvenience to which
you are unfortunately subject."
The doctor shook his head.
"No," he said, "I
will not give my parole!"
Late that night, he tried the
handle of his door and found
it open. The corridor outside
was in thick darkness. He felt
his way along by the wall. Suddenly,
from behind, a pair of large
soft hands gripped him by the
throat. Slowly he was drawn back--almost
"Let me go!" he
called out, struggling in vain
to find a
body upon which he could gain
The grasp only tightened.
"Back to your rooms!" came
a whisper through the darkness.
The doctor returned. When he
staggered into his sitting room,
he turned up the electric light.
There were red marks upon his
throat and perspiration upon
his forehead. He opened the door
once more and looked out upon
the landing, striking a match
and holding it over his head.
There was no one in sight, yet
all the time he had the uncomfortable
feeling that he was being watched.
For the first time in his life
he wondered whether a thousand
guineas was, after all, such
a magnificent fee!
Almost at the same time the
Prince sat back in the shadows
of the Duchess of Devenham's
box at the Opera and talked quietly
to Lady Grace.
"But tell me, Prince," she
begged, "I know that you are
glad to go home, but won't you
really miss this a little,--the
music, the life, all these things
that make up existence here?
Your own country is wonderful,
I know, but it has not progressed
so far, has it?"
He shook his head.
"I think," he said, "that
the portion of our education
we have most grievously neglected
is the development of our recreations.
But then you must remember that
we are to a certain extent without
that craving for amusement which
makes these things necessary
for you others. We are perhaps
too serious in my country, Lady
Grace. We lack altogether that
delightful air of irresponsibility
with which you Londoners seem
to make your effortless way through
She was a little perplexed.
"I don't believe," she said, "that
in your heart you approve of
us at all."
"Do not say that, Lady Grace," he
begged. "It is simply that I
have been brought up in so different
a school. This sort of thing
is very wonderful, and I shall
surely miss it. Yet nowadays
the world is being linked together
in marvellous fashion. Tokio
and London are closer today than
ever they have been in the world's
"And our people?" she asked. "Do
you really think that our people
are so far apart? Between you
and me, for instance," she added,
meaning to ask the question naturally
enough, but suddenly losing confidence
and looking away from him,--"between
you and me there seems no radical
difference of race. You might
almost be an Englishman--not
one of these men of fashion,
of course, but a statesman or
a man of letters, some one who
had taken hold of the serious
side of life."
"You pay me a very delightful
compliment," he murmured.
"Please repay me, then, by
being candid," she answered. "Consider
for a moment that I am a typical
English girl, and tell me whether
I am so very different from the
Japanese women of your own class?"
He hesitated for a moment.
The question was not without
"Men," he said, "are
very much the same, all the
They are like the coarse grass
which grows everywhere. But the
flowers, you know, are different
in every country."
Lady Grace sighed. Perhaps
she had been a trifle too daring!
She was willing enough, at any
rate, to let the subject drift
"Soon the curtain will go up," she
said, "and we can talk no longer.
I should like to tell you, though,
how glad I am--how glad we all
are--that you can come to us
"I can assure you that I am
looking forward to it," he answered
a little gravely. "It is my farewell
to all of you, you know, and
it seems to me that those who
will be your father's guests
are just those with whom I have
been on the most intimate terms
since I came to England.
"Penelope is coming," she said
quickly,--"you know that?--Penelope
and Sir Charles Somerfield."
"Yes," he answered, "I
The curtain went up. The faint
murmur of the violins was suddenly
caught up and absorbed in the
thunderous music of a march.
Lady Grace moved nearer to the
front. Prince Maiyo remained
where he was among the shadows.
The music was in his ears, but
his eyes were half closed.