But for once even this time-tried detective found himself at fault. No marks were found on the old servant, nor
could they discover in the rooms above any signs by which this one remaining occupant of the house could be
directly associated with the crime which had taken place within it. Thereupon Mr. Gryce grew very thoughtful
and entered upon another examination of the two rooms which to his mind held all the clews that would ever
be given to this strange crime.
The result was meagre, and he was just losing himself again in contemplation of the upturned face, whose
fixed mouth and haunting expression told such a story of suffering and determination, when there came from
the dim recesses above his head a cry, which, forming itself into two words, rang down with startling
clearness in this most unexpected of appeals:
Remember Evelyn! Who was Evelyn? And to whom did this voice belong, in a house which had already been
ransacked in vain for other occupants? It seemed to come from the roof, and, sure enough, when Mr. Gryce
looked up he saw, swinging in a cage strung up nearly to the top of one of the windows I have mentioned, an
English starling, which, in seeming recognition of the attention it had drawn upon itself, craned its neck as
Mr. Gryce looked up, and shrieked again, with fiercer insistence than before:
It was the last uncanny touch in a series of uncanny experiences. With an odd sense of nightmare upon him,
Mr. Gryce leaned forward on the study table in his effort to obtain a better view of this bird, when, without
warning, the white light, which since his last contact with the electrical apparatus had spread itself through the
room, changed again to green, and he realized that he had unintentionally pressed a button and thus brought
into action another slide in the curious lamp over his head.
Annoyed, for these changing hues offered a problem he was as yet too absorbed in other matters to make any
attempt to solve, he left the vicinity of the table, and was about to leave the room when he heard Styles’s voice
rise from the adjoining antechamber, where Styles was keeping guard over the old butler:
“Shall I let him go, Mr. Gryce? He seems very uneasy; not dangerous, you know, but anxious; as if he had
forgotten something or recalled some unfulfilled duty.”
“Yes, let him go,” was the detective’s quick reply. “Only watch and follow him. Every movement he makes is
of interest. Unconsciously he may be giving us invaluable clews.” And he approached the door to note for
himself what the man might do.
“Remember Evelyn!” rang out the startling cry from above, as the detective passed between the curtains.
Irresistibly he looked back and up. To whom was this appeal from a bird’s throat so imperatively addressed?
To him or to the man on the floor beneath, whose ears were forever closed? It might be a matter of little
consequence, and it might be one involving the very secret of this tragedy. But whether important or not, he
could pay no heed to it at this juncture, for the old butler, coming from the front hall whither he had hurried on
being released by Styles, was at that moment approaching him, carrying in one hand his master’s hat and in
the other his master’s umbrella.