Nothing was more surprising and
bewildering to Tuppence than the ease and simplicity
with which everything was arranged, owing to Sir James’s
skilful handling. The doctor accepted quite readily
the theory that Mrs. Vandemeyer had accidentally taken
an overdose of chloral. He doubted whether an
inquest would be necessary. If so, he would let
Sir James know. He understood that Mrs. Vandemeyer
was on the eve of departure for abroad, and that the
servants had already left? Sir James and his young
friends had been paying a call upon her, when she was
suddenly stricken down and they had spent the night
in the flat, not liking to leave her alone. Did
they know of any relatives? They did not, but
Sir James referred him to Mrs. Vandemeyer’s
Shortly afterwards a nurse arrived
to take charge, and the other left the ill-omened
“And what now?” asked
Julius, with a gesture of despair. “I guess
we’re down and out for good.”
Sir James stroked his chin thoughtfully.
“No,” he said quietly.
“There is still the chance that Dr. Hall may
be able to tell us something.”
“Gee! I’d forgotten him.”
“The chance is slight, but it
must not be neglected. I think I told you that
he is staying at the Metropole. I should
suggest that we call upon him there as soon as possible.
Shall we say after a bath and breakfast?”
It was arranged that Tuppence and
Julius should return to the Ritz, and call for Sir
James in the car. This programme was faithfully
carried out, and a little after eleven they drew up
before the Metropole. They asked for Dr.
Hall, and a page-boy went in search of him. In
a few minutes the little doctor came hurrying towards
“Can you spare us a few minutes,
Dr. Hall?” said Sir James pleasantly. “Let
me introduce you to Miss Cowley. Mr. Hersheimmer,
I think, you already know.”
A quizzical gleam came into the doctor’s
eye as he shook hands with Julius.
“Ah, yes, my young friend of
the tree episode! Ankle all right, eh?”
“I guess it’s cured owing
to your skilful treatment, doc.”
“And the heart trouble? Ha ha!”
“Still searching,” said Julius briefly.
“To come to the point, can we
have a word with you in private?” asked Sir
“Certainly. I think there
is a room here where we shall be quite undisturbed.”
He led the way, and the others followed
him. They sat down, and the doctor looked inquiringly
at Sir James.
“Dr. Hall, I am very anxious
to find a certain young lady for the purpose of obtaining
a statement from her. I have reason to believe
that she has been at one time or another in your establishment
at Bournemouth. I hope I am transgressing no
professional etiquette in questioning you on the subject?”
“I suppose it is a matter of testimony?”
Sir James hesitated a moment, then he replied:
“I shall be pleased to give
you any information in my power. What is the
young lady’s name? Mr. Hersheimmer asked
me, I remember ” He half
turned to Julius.
“The name,” said Sir James
bluntly, “is really immaterial. She would
be almost certainly sent to you under an assumed one.
But I should like to know if you are acquainted with
a Mrs. Vandemeyer?”
“Mrs. Vandemeyer, of 20 South
Audley Mansions? I know her slightly.”
“You are not aware of what has happened?”
“What do you mean?”
“You do not know that Mrs. Vandemeyer is dead?”
“Dear, dear, I had no idea of it! When
did it happen?”
“She took an overdose of chloral last night.”
“Accidentally, it is believed.
I should not like to say myself. Anyway, she
was found dead this morning.”
“Very sad. A singularly
handsome woman. I presume she was a friend of
yours, since you are acquainted with all these details.”
“I am acquainted with the details
because well, it was I who found her dead.”
“Indeed,” said the doctor, starting.
“Yes,” said Sir James, and stroked his
“This is very sad news, but
you will excuse me if I say that I do not see how
it bears on the subject of your inquiry?”
“It bears on it in this way,
is it not a fact that Mrs. Vandemeyer committed a
young relative of hers to your charge?”
Julius leaned forward eagerly.
“That is the case,” said the doctor quietly.
“Under the name of ?”
“Janet Vandemeyer. I understood her to
be a niece of Mrs. Vandemeyer’s.”
“And she came to you?”
“As far as I can remember in June or July of
“Was she a mental case?”
“She is perfectly sane, if that
is what you mean. I understood from Mrs. Vandemeyer
that the girl had been with her on the Lusitania when
that ill-fated ship was sunk, and had suffered a severe
shock in consequence.”
“We’re on the right track, I think?”
Sir James looked round.
“As I said before, I’m a mutt!”
The doctor looked at them all curiously.
“You spoke of wanting a statement
from her,” he said. “Supposing she
is not able to give one?”
“What? You have just said that she is perfectly
“So she is. Nevertheless,
if you want a statement from her concerning any events
prior to May 7, 1915, she will not be able to give
it to you.”
They looked at the little man, stupefied. He
“It’s a pity,” he
said. “A great pity, especially as I gather,
Sir James, that the matter is important. But
there it is, she can tell you nothing.”
“But why, man? Darn it all, why?”
The little man shifted his benevolent
glance to the excited young American.
“Because Janet Vandemeyer is suffering from
a complete loss of memory.”
“Quite so. An interesting
case, a very interesting case. Not so uncommon,
really, as you would think. There are several
very well known parallels. It’s the first
case of the kind that I’ve had under my own
personal observation, and I must admit that I’ve
found it of absorbing interest.” There
was something rather ghoulish in the little man’s
“And she remembers nothing,” said Sir
“Nothing prior to May 7, 1915.
After that date her memory is as good as yours or
“Then the first thing she remembers?”
“Is landing with the survivors.
Everything before that is a blank. She did not
know her own name, or where she had come from, or where
she was. She couldn’t even speak her own
“But surely all this is most unusual?”
put in Julius.
“No, my dear sir. Quite
normal under the circumstances. Severe shock to
the nervous system. Loss of memory proceeds nearly
always on the same lines. I suggested a specialist,
of course. There’s a very good man in Paris makes
a study of these cases but Mrs. Vandemeyer
opposed the idea of publicity that might result from
such a course.”
“I can imagine she would,” said Sir James
“I fell in with her views.
There is a certain notoriety given to these cases.
And the girl was very young nineteen, I
believe. It seemed a pity that her infirmity
should be talked about might damage her
prospects. Besides, there is no special treatment
to pursue in such cases. It is really a matter
“Yes, sooner or later, the memory
will return as suddenly as it went.
But in all probability the girl will have entirely
forgotten the intervening period, and will take up
life where she left off at the sinking
of the Lusitania.”
“And when do you expect this to happen?”
The doctor shrugged his shoulders.
“Ah, that I cannot say.
Sometimes it is a matter of months, sometimes it has
been known to be as long as twenty years! Sometimes
another shock does the trick. One restores what
the other took away.”
“Another shock, eh?” said Julius thoughtfully.
“Exactly. There was a case
in Colorado ” The little man’s
voice trailed on, voluble, mildly enthusiastic.
Julius did not seem to be listening.
He had relapsed into his own thoughts and was frowning.
Suddenly he came out of his brown study, and hit the
table such a resounding bang with his fist that every
one jumped, the doctor most of all.
“I’ve got it! I guess,
doc, I’d like your medical opinion on the plan
I’m about to outline. Say Jane was to cross
the herring pond again, and the same thing was to
happen. The submarine, the sinking ship, every
one to take to the boats and so on.
Wouldn’t that do the trick? Wouldn’t
it give a mighty big bump to her subconscious self,
or whatever the jargon is, and start it functioning
again right away?”
“A very interesting speculation,
Mr. Hersheimmer. In my own opinion, it would
be successful. It is unfortunate that there is
no chance of the conditions repeating themselves as
“Not by nature, perhaps, doc. But I’m
talking about art.”
“Why, yes. What’s the difficulty?
Hire a liner ”
“A liner!” murmured Dr. Hall faintly.
“Hire some passengers, hire
a submarine that’s the only difficulty,
I guess. Governments are apt to be a bit hidebound
over their engines of war. They won’t sell
to the firstcomer. Still, I guess that can be
got over. Ever heard of the word ‘graft,’
sir? Well, graft gets there every time!
I reckon that we shan’t really need to fire a
torpedo. If every one hustles round and screams
loud enough that the ship is sinking, it ought to
be enough for an innocent young girl like Jane.
By the time she’s got a life-belt on her, and
is being hustled into a boat, with a well-drilled
lot of artistes doing the hysterical stunt on
deck, why she ought to be right back where
she was in May, 1915. How’s that for the
Dr. Hall looked at Julius. Everything
that he was for the moment incapable of saying was
eloquent in that look.
“No,” said Julius, in
answer to it, “I’m not crazy. The
thing’s perfectly possible. It’s
done every day in the States for the movies.
Haven’t you seen trains in collision on the screen?
What’s the difference between buying up a train
and buying up a liner? Get the properties and
you can go right ahead!”
Dr. Hall found his voice.
“But the expense, my dear sir.”
His voice rose. “The expense! It will
“Money doesn’t worry me any,” explained
Dr. Hall turned an appealing face to Sir James, who
“Mr. Hersheimmer is very well off very
well off indeed.”
The doctor’s glance came back
to Julius with a new and subtle quality in it.
This was no longer an eccentric young fellow with a
habit of falling off trees. The doctor’s
eyes held the deference accorded to a really rich
“Very remarkable plan.
Very remarkable,” he murmured. “The
movies of course! Your American word
for the kinema. Very interesting. I fear
we are perhaps a little behind the times over here
in our methods. And you really mean to carry
out this remarkable plan of yours.”
“You bet your bottom dollar I do.”
The doctor believed him which
was a tribute to his nationality. If an Englishman
had suggested such a thing, he would have had grave
doubts as to his sanity.
“I cannot guarantee a cure,”
he pointed out. “Perhaps I ought to make
that quite clear.”
“Sure, that’s all right,”
said Julius. “You just trot out Jane, and
leave the rest to me.”
“Miss Janet Vandemeyer, then.
Can we get on the long distance to your place right
away, and ask them to send her up; or shall I run down
and fetch her in my car?”
The doctor stared.
“I beg your pardon, Mr. Hersheimmer. I
thought you understood.”
“That Miss Vandemeyer is no longer under my