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Page 85

CHAPTER VIII - A DOUBLE TRAGEDY

seemed to be speaking in a trance, and labouring under some great emotion.
It was the first time he had spoken since they left the house. In that moment of confidence, Gerry's heart went out to him. This was not the manner of a man who was playing a double game. Yet-things still looked very queer against this little man who used to be so cheery, and now went about as if he had a horrible secret to hide. Now this had happened! True ! the Commander was at home at the timeand even in his hardest moments, Gerry had never connected him with murder. Still, things were decidedly suspicious. Gerry could not understand the situation at all. He could only await developments.
Before long, they were hurrying along the bare passages to the Commander's room. Gathered outside his office door was a little knot of people. A constable had just moved towards them to enquire their business, when a voice rang out from the doorway :
" It's all right, Smith. Come in, sir." It was the cheery voice of Sergeant Hall, of Newcastle Police Force. He knew Gerry. " The Yard is alert to-day," he added, with a sly smile at the young man.
" Oh ! Quite unofficially of course," Gerry returned with a smile. " This is Commander Finch."
The Sergeant's face went grave, as he looked at the Commander.
" I'm sorry about this, sir," he said. " But we are hoping that you can help us. We are torn between two opinions ".
" Just a moment, Sergeant," said Gerry. " May we close the door ? "
" By all means," said Hall. " This is the body. You will see that there is no sign of foul play. In fact, we have practically decided that it is just a case of heart-attack. But you see, sir, this place is so full of secrets, that as soon as we heard of this we had to

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