It was the knife that had done the deed.
The doctor had found it left in the body--had withdrawn it to probe the wound--and had laid it on the bedside table. It was one of those useful knives which contain a saw, a corkscrew, and other like implements. The big blade fastened back, when open, with a spring. Except where the blood was on it, it was as bright as when it had been purchased. A small metal plate was fastened to the horn handle, containing an inscription, only partly engraved, which ran thus: "To John Zebedee, from--" There it stopped, strangely enough.
Who or what had interrupted the engraver's work? It was impossible even to guess. Nevertheless, the Inspector was encouraged.
"This ought to help us," he said--and then he gave an attentive ear (looking all the while at the poor creature in the corner) to what Mrs. Crosscapel had to tell him.
The landlady having done, he said he must now see the lodger who slept in the next bed-chamber.
Mr. Deluc made his appearance, standing at the door of the room, and turning away his head with horror from the sight inside.
He was wrapped in a splendid blue dressing-gown, with a golden girdle and trimmings. His scanty brownish hair curled (whether artificially or not, I am unable to say) in little ringlets. His complexion was yellow; his greenish-brown eyes were of the sort called "goggle"--they looked as if they might drop out of his face, if you held a spoon under them. His mustache and goat's beard were beautifully oiled; and, to complete his equipment, he had a long black cigar in his mouth.
"It isn't insensibility to this terrible tragedy," he explained. "My nerves have been shattered, Mr. Policeman, and I can only repair the mischief in this way. Be pleased to excuse and feel for me."