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Yes. I got there first and waited about ten minutes, and then he came up. He took the old label off the cask and nailed on another he had with him. Then he told me to take the cask to the State Railway Goods Station in the rue Cardinet and book it to London. He gave me the freight as well as the ten francs for myself. He said he should know if the cask did not get to London, and threatened that if I played any tricks he would inform Messrs. Corot what I had done.

You are sure of that?

PART ILONDON

The crossing was calm and uneventful. Before they passed between the twin piers at Calais the sun had burst out, the clouds were thinning, and blue sky showing in the distance.

The stout man rubbed his cheek.

And then La Touche saw that the whole business of the second cask must have been arranged simply to meet this difficulty. Boirac must have ordered it, forging Felixs handwriting. La Touche recollected that order was written on the same paper as the Le Gautier letter, suggesting a common origin for both. Boirac met it in London, took it to the shed, there removed and destroyed the statue, and had the cask returned to Paris. At the Gare du Nord he doubtless changed the labels, so that when it reached Dupierres it bore that with the address of his own house. The other label he must have altered from the Waterloo route to that of long sea. This would account for Duboiss statement that Boirac had changed the labels when he met him in the rue de La Fayette, as well as for the curious faking of that described by the clerk Broughton.

Not very wet, monsieur, but he had been evidently walking through rain.

And then began a period of tedious and unprofitable work. He was very efficient, very thorough and very pertinacious, but the only result of all his painstaking labours was to establish more firmly than ever the truth of Boiracs statements.

First he picked up and counted the money. There was 31 10s. in English gold and, having made a note of the amount, he slipped it into his pocket as a precaution against chance passers-by. With the 21 handed by Broughton to Mr. Avery, this made the 52 10s. referred to in the typewritten slip. Then he had the body moved to the dissecting-room and photographed from several points of view, after which it was stripped by a female assistant. The clothes he went through with great care, examining every inch of the material for makers names, initials, or other marks. Only on the delicate cambric handkerchief was his search rewarded, a small A. B. being embroidered amid the tracery of one corner. Having attached a label to each garment separately, as well as to the rings from the fingers and a diamond comb from the luxuriant hair, he packed them carefully in a small portmanteau, ready for transport to France.

I fear she is also away, monsieur. At least, I can only tell you what I know. She came in here about a fortnight ago, indeed, I remember now it was just this day fortnight, and said: Oh, Laroche, she said, you need not send anything for two or three weeks, till you hear from me again. We are going away and are shutting up the house. So, monsieur, I dont think youll see either of them if you go out.

The cask was of very peculiar construction, the woodwork being at least twice as heavy as that of an ordinary wine cask and secured by strong iron bands. And, sir, the point that has brought us to you is that your firms name was stencilled on it after the words Return to, and it was addressed on one of your firms labels.

Did you know who they were?

Clifford nodded and again referred to his notes.