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Not from me, be assured. Your aunt, so you have just told me, believes that your dog is in danger of being stolen. Why? Because she knows that the person most interested has been scheming against the animal, and yet she is afraid to warn you openly. Doesn’t that indicate who it is?” “Mr. Jones, I’ve no right even to let you talk like this to me. Have you anything definite against judge Ackroyd?” “In this case, killtest reviews only suspicion.” Her head went up. “Then I think there is nothing more to be said.” The young man flushed, but his voice was steady as he returned: “I disagree with you. And I beg you to cut short your visit here, and return to your home at once.” In spite of herself the girl was shaken by his persistence. “I can’t do that,” she said uneasily. And added, with a flash of anger, “I think you had better leave this house.” “If I leave this house now I may never have any chance to see you again.” The girl regarded him with level, non-committal eyes. “And I have every intention of seeing you again–and–again–and again. Give me a chance; a moment,” Average Jones’ mind was of the emergency type. It summoned to its aid, without effort of cerebration on the part of its owner, whatever was most needed at the moment. Now it came to his rescue with the memory of judge Ackroyd’s encounter with the drug clerk, as mentioned by Bertram. There was a strangely hopeful suggestion of some link between a drug-store quarrel and the arrival of a million-dollar dog, “better dead” in the hopes of his host. “Miss Graham; I’ve gone rather far, I’ll admit,” said Jones; “but, if you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt, I think I can show you some basis to work on. If I can produce something tangible, may I come back here this afternoon? I’ll promise not to come unless I have good reason.” “Very well,” conceded Miss Graham reluctantly, “it’s a most unusual thing. But I’ll agree to that.” “Au revoir, then,” he said, and was gone. Somewhat to her surprise and uneasiness, Sylvia Graham experienced a distinct testpassport reviews satisfaction when, late that afternoon, she beheld her unconventional acquaintance mounting the steps with a buoyant and assured step. Upon being admitted, he went promptly to the point. “I’ve got it.” “Your justification for coming back?” she asked. “Exactly. Have you heard anything of some trouble in which judge Ackroyd was involved last week?” “Uncle has a very violent temper,” admitted the girl evasively. “But I don’t see what–” “Pardon me. You will see. That row was with a drug clerk.” “In an obscure drug store several blocks from here.” “Yes.” “The drug clerk insisted–as the law requires–on judge Ackroyd registering for a certain purchase.” “Perhaps he was impertinent about it.” “Possibly. The point is that the prospective purchase was cyanide of potassium, a deadly and instantaneous poison.” “Are you sure?” asked the girl, in a low voice. “I’ve just come from the store. How long have you been here at your uncle’s?” “A week.” “Then just about the time of your coming with the dog, your uncle undertook to obtain a swift and sure poison. Have I gone far enough?” “I–I don’t know.” “Well, am I still ordered out of the house?” “N-n-no.” “Thank you for your enthusiastic hospitality,” said Average Jones so dryly that a smile relaxed the girl’s troubled face. “With that encouragement we’ll go on. What is your uncle’s attitude toward the dog?” “Almost what you might call ingratiating. But Peter Paul–that’s my dog’s name, you know–doesn’t take to uncle. He’s a crotchety old doggie.” “He’s a wise old doggie,” amended the other, with emphasis. “Has your uncle taken him out, at all?” “Once he tried to. I met them at the corner. testpassport review All four of Peter Paul’s poor old fat legs were braced, and he was hauling back as hard as he could against the leash.” “And the occurrence didn’t strike you as peculiar?” “Well, not then.” “When does your uncle give up this house?” “At the end of the week. Uncle and aunt leave for Europe.” “Then let me suggest again that you and Peter Paul go at once.” Miss Graham pondered. “That would mean explanations and a quarrel, and more strain for auntie, who is nervous enough, anyway. No, I can’t do that.” “Do you realize that every day Peter Paul remains here is an added opportunity for judge Ackroyd to make a million dollars, or a big share of it, by some very simple stratagem?” “I haven’t admitted yet that I believe my uncle to be a–a murderer,” Miss Graham quietly reminded him. “A strong word,” said Average Jones smiling. “The law would hardly support your view. Now, Miss Graham, would it grieve you very much if Peter Paul were to die?”

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