Chapter 9 – Frustration
The three of them and Fellini went as fast as the cab could carry them in the hope of catching the villains at St Pancreas before they could get on the train to Liverpool. Amelia was worried that they did not have a policeman with authority with them who they could call on to apprehend the crooks or in the last resort, prevent the train from leaving. Then, with a sigh of relief she remembered Jane. “Do you have your police badge with you?” she asked and Jane nodded. unfortunately, when they arrived they discovered to their dismay that the Liverpool train had already left.
“They have been clever and timed this whole episode just right to catch the train” The others could not miss the sound of disappointment in Amelia’s voice. “But before we leave, let us have a quick look round the station just in case they have tried a double bluff.” They had no luck searching for Pablo and Beech. Ruddock had no better luck at the cab rank. He located the name of the driver who had brought them to the station. It was not difficult, because he had been the centre of attention of the other drivers as he described the bizarre happenings he had witnessed.Unfortunately he had already left with another fare and could be anywhere in the City. Ruddock found out what time he would be off duty and where he stabled his horse. There was nothing that could be done before then and Ruddock agreed to go and talk to him then.
Jane piped up “If we go back to Scotland Yard we can get someone to send a telegram to Liverpool to see if they can be apprehended at the station” and they agreed it was worth a try. There did not seem any point in Fellini going with them and Amelia proposed that she returned with him to the Dorchester, while Jane and Ruddock went off to Scotland Yard. It had been such a mess and they had been out-thought every step of the way.
On their way back in the cab to the Dorchester Amelia apologised to Fellini. She was depressed and felt that she and Scotland Yard had let him down, but he was not too disappointed “You were let down by the War Department. It was they who insisted that Pablo and Beech were given the Bonds to pass on to me. As it is, if they still want the rifles, they will have to pay me direct. I will contact Robert Garstang tomorrow to act for me. I know I can trust him.”
“At least I helped to rescue him” Amelia consoled herself “and after all I was retained to do that. All this fraud came later. But before we part, have you any thoughts about where the villains might go with their ill-gotten gains? There must be a limited number of places for them to turn them into funds they can spend.”
“Well, the Bonds are in dollars, so they may head for America. Pablo may try to contact his family back in Turin. You could get the Italian police to try them.”
“That is a good idea. I shall ask Scotland Yard to follow it up. One other thing I did not ask you in all the commotion was just who did you negotiate your rifles deal at the War Department? I think he may be worth following up. The villains must have had someone on the inside at the Department, I’m sure.”
“The two people I negotiated with were Mr Knightly and Mr Wilson. You have met Mr Wilson of course.” As he finished speaking, the cab pulled up outside the Dorchester. As he rose to leave, Fellini leaned across to Amelia and kissed her gloved hand. She flushed with pleasure, but then he was gone. She instructed the cab man to take her to Conaught Mews and sat back in her seat. She needed to have a hot bath to take away the smells of their chasing about, then sit back and have a long think about what to do next, if anything at all. And of that she was non too sure.
Once home, Amelia bathed then settled down in her favourite arm chair to try make sense of what had happened and what they should do next. It was clearly a 3 pipe problem as Sherlock Holmes would have said, and as Amelia did not smoke she took up her needlework which she always resorted to when she had to think. She went through the events of the day and admitted to herself that she had been out-thought by Pablo and Beech. It did not make it any easier that the police had been fooled also. What was she left with? Fellini could be in league with the villains she realised with a shock, but she dismissed that as too complicated. He would have had to be so deceitful that he would have been unable to keep up the pretence. Her thoughts turned to Pablo. As far as she knew he had no relatives in England so any contact would have to be with his family in Italy, and she could follow them up through Fellini. But what about Beech? He was a total mystery, in both his private and business life, and that was a rich vein of investigation. Then there was the War Department. Was there a traitor in their midst, and if there was, where would she start to investigate. There was the 4th man in the coach, the one who had pitched Cousins out into the street. Could Cousins identify him and if they could track him down, would he be able to give them a lead. She must have been thinking for about an hour to go by how much progress she had made with needlework. She laid it down and idly wondered what had happened to Jane. The problem may have been a 3 pipe problem, but today she was not up to thinking it through. She felt quite relaxed after her bath, she laid her head back on the chair and fell asleep.
She was rudely awaked by loud voices at the door, and came to her senses in time to watch Jane bound into the room, followed at a distance by Ruddock. Jane was excited and behaving like a school girl. “Amelia” she burst out “We are off to Dublin.”
“We are taking the mail train to Liverpool and the early ferry to Dublin. Knott has fixed it all up. I must go an pack.”
“Wait a minute. Can you tell me what is going on and please stop acting like a silly schoolgirl about to go on a school trip.” Amelia regretted immediately that the effect of her words had been to calm down Jane’s enthusiasm. She had never seen Jane so excited and animated before.
However it had enough effect to stop Jane bouncing from one foot to the other. She was still very excited and she could see from Amelia’s expression that she would not be allowed to leave the house until she had provided some sort of explanation. “We went to Scotland Yard to report what had happened at St Pancras and in return were told how Knott and Jones had drawn a blank at Waterloo. They dispatched a telegram to Liverpool police. We thought of course that the villains would take the ferry to Ireland, but Liverpool drew a blank and we were stuck. Anyway, Ruddock and I went to meet the cab driver at his base, and there we had some luck. First he told us that the 3rd man in the carriage had left the other two at the station, so it is unlikely that he went with them.” Amelia made a mental note, but there was a lot to take in. Jane continued “The cabbie also told us that as Pablo and Beech were collecting their luggage and saying goodbye to the third man he heard the words ‘ferry’ and ‘Ireland’.” Here she paused for breath. “And now I must pack. now that we know, or think we know, that the villains are bound for Ireland, Knott instructed Jones and me” she said ‘me’ with enormous pride “to follow in their footsteps and see if we can help the Irish police bring the villains to justice. Now I really must go” and off she went to pack. Amelia had been fired up by Jane’s story, her mind had been working whilst she was asleep and she had come up with her own plan of action. She turned to Ruddock who had remained silent during Jane’s outburst. “Sit down Jeremiah” she didn’t often call him by his christian name “I will send for a flaggon of ale. Tonight we will inspect the offices of Pablo and Beech. I have been deflected by my admiration of the flawless escape plan they carried out, but they are bound to have made a mistake and I intend to find out what it is. Drink your ale then go home and come back at half past ten and we will carry out a thorough search of their offices.” Ruddock protested that he had not ‘cased the joint’ but Amelia was adamant that they would go. “The longer we leave it the more chance there is that someone will destroy an evidence that is there.
As Ruddock was quenching his thirst Jane reappeared hauling a large case. Amelia wished her well and they agreed that as far as possible they would keep in touch via telegram. She had a cab waiting outside and handing her case to Joseph to carry, took her leave.