"I was going to suggest, sir," said Mr. Marigold diffidently, "if you had the time, you might care to look in at the Yard, and see the prisoner. I don't mind telling you that he is swearing by all the tribes of Judah that he's innocent of the murder of old Mackwayte. He's got an amazing yarn... perhaps you'd like to hear it!"
Mr. Marigold suddenly began to interest Desmond. His proposal was put forward so modestly that one would have thought the last thing he believed possible was that the Chief should acquiesce in his suggestion. Yet Desmond had the feeling that the detective was far from being so disinterested as he wished to seem. It struck Desmond that the case was more complicated than Mr. Marigold admitted and that the detective knew it. Had Mr. Marigold discovered that the Chief knew a great deal more about this mysterious affair than the detective knew himself? And was not his attitude of having already solved the problem of the murder, his treatment of the Chief as a dilettante criminologist simply an elaborate pose, to extract from the Chief information which had not been proffered?
The Chief glanced at his watch.
"Right," he said, "I think I'd like to go along."
"I have a good deal to do here still," observed Mr. Marigold, "so, if you don't mind, I won't accompany you. But perhaps, sir, you would like to see me this afternoon?"
The Chief swung round on his heel and fairly searched Mr. Marigold with a glance from beneath his bushy eyebrows. The detective returned his gaze with an expression of supreme innocence.
"Why, Marigold," answered the Chief, "I believe I should. Six o'clock suit you?"
"Certainly, sir," said Mr. Marigold.