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van Heerden is very clever,” he said; “he has great schemes, in one of which I a air max m–ah–financially interested, That is all–I have put money into his–ah–syndicate, without, of course, knowing the nature of the work which is being carried out. That I would impress upon you.”
“You are a trusting investor,” said the good-humoured McNorton.
“I am a child in matters of finance,” admitted Mr. White, but added quickly, “except, of course, in so far as the finance of Punsonby’s, which is one of the soundest business concerns in London, Mr. McNorton. We pay our dividends regularly and our balance sheets are a model for the industrial world.”
“So I have heard nike air max 90 ,” said McNorton dryly. “I am interested in syndicates, too. By the way, what is Doctor van Heerden’s scheme?”
Mr. White shrugged his shoulders.
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” he confessed with a melancholy smile. “I suppose it is very foolish of me, but I have such faith in the doctor’s genius that when he came to me and said: ‘My dear White cheap nike air max , I want you to invest a few thousand in one of my concerns,’ I said: ‘My dear doctor, here is my cheque, don’t bother me about the details but send in my dividends regularly.’ Ha! ha!”
His laugh was hollow, and would not have deceived a child of ten.
“So you invested L40,000—-” began McNorton.
“Forty thousand!” gasped Mr. White, “how did you know?”
He went a trifle paler.
“These things get about,” said McNorton, “as I was going to say, you invested L40,000 without troubling to discover what sort of work the syndicate was undertaking. I am not speaking now as a police officer, Mr. White,” he went on, and White did not disguise his relief, “but as an old acquaintance of yours.”
“Say friend,” said the fervent Mr. White. “I have alw nike air max ays regarded you, Mr. McNorton, as a friend of mine. Let me see, how long have we known one another? I think the first time we met was when Punsonby’s was burgled in ’93.”
“It’s a long time,” said McNorton; “but don’t let us get off the subject of your investment, which interests me as a friend. You gave Doctor van Heerden all this money without even troubling to discover whether his enterprise was a legal one. I am not suggesting it was illegal,” he said, as White opened his mouth to protest, “but it seems strange that you did not trouble to inquire.”
“Oh, of course, I inquired, naturally nike air max classic I inquired, Mr. McNorton,” said White eagerly, “it was for some chemical process and I know nothing about chemistry. I don’t mind admitting to you,” he lowered his voice, though there was no necessity, “that I regret my investment very much. We business men have many calls. We cannot allow our money to be tied up for too long a time, and it happens–ah–th nike air max 90 sale at just at this moment I should be very glad, very glad indeed, to liquidate that investment.”
McNorton nodded. He knew a great deal more about White’s financial embarrassments than that gentleman gave him credit for. He knew, for example, that the immaculate managing director of Punsonby’s was in the hands of moneylenders, and that those moneylenders were squeezing him. He suspected that all was not well with Punsonby’s. There had been curious rumours in the City amongst the bill discounters that Punsonby’s “paper” left much to be desired.
“Do you know the nationality of van Heerden?” he asked.
“Dutch,” replied Mr. White promptly.
“Are you sure of this?”
“I would stake my life on it,” answered the heroic Mr cheap nike air max trainers . White.
“As I came through to your office I saw a young lady at the cashier’s desk–Miss Glaum, I think her name is. Is she Dutch, too?”
“Miss Glaum–ah–well Miss Glaum.” White hesitated. “A very nice, industrious girl, and a friend of Doctor van Heerden’s. As a matter of fact, I engaged her at his recommendation. You see, I was under an obligation to the doctor. He had–ah–attended me in my illness.”
That this was untrue McNorton knew. White was one of those financial shuttlecocks which shrewd moneylenders toss from one to the other. White had been introduced by van Heerden to capital in a moment of hectic despair and had responded when his financial horizon was clearer by pledging his credit for the furtherance of van Heerden’s scheme.
“Of course you know that as a shareholder in van Heerden’s syndicate you cannot escape responsibility for the purposes to which your money is put,” he said, as he rose to go. “I hope you get your money back.”
“Do y cheap nike air max ou think there is any doubt?” demanded White, in consternation.
“There is always a doubt about getting money back from syndicates,” said McNorton cryptically.
“Please don’t go yet.” Mr. White passed round the end of his desk and intercepted the detective with unexpected agility, taking, so to speak, the door out of his hands and closing it. “I am alarmed, Mr. McNorton,” he said, as he led the other back to his chair, “I won’t disguise it. I am seriously alarmed by what you have said. It is not the thought of losing the money, oh dear, no. Punsonby’s would not be ruined by–ah–a paltry L40,000. It is, if I may be allowed to say so, the sinister suggestion in your speech, inspector–superintendent I mean. Is it possible”- nike air max 95 -he stood squarely in front of McNorton, his hands on his hips, his eyeglass dangling from his fastidious fingers and his head pulled back as though he wished to avoid contact with the possibility, “is it possible that in my ignorance I have been assisting to finance a scheme which is–ah–illegal, immoral, improper and contrary–ah–to the best interests of the common weal?”
He shook his head as though he were unable to believe his own words.
“Everything is possible in finance,” said McNorton with a smile. “I am not saying that Doctor van Heerden’s syndicate is an iniquitous one, I have not even seen a copy of his art nike air max icles of association. Doubtless you could oblige me in that respect.”
“I haven’t got such a thing,” denied Mr. White vigorously, “the syndicate was not registered. It was, so to speak, a private concern.”
“But the exploitation of Green Rust?” suggested the superintendent, and the man’s face lost the last vestige of colour it possessed.
“The Green Rust?” he faltered. “I have heard the phrase. I know nothing—-”
“Y nike air max 1 ou know nothing, but suspect the worst,” said McNorton. “Now I am going to speak plainly to you. The reason you know nothing about this syndicate of van Heerden’s is because you had a suspicion that it was being formed for an illegal purpose–please don’t interrupt me–you know nothing because you did not want to know. I doubt even whether you deceived yourself. You saw a chance of making big money, Mr. White, and big money has always had an attraction for you. There isn’t a fool’s scheme that was ever hatched in a back alley bar that you haven’t dropped money over. And you saw a chance here, more tangible than any that had been presented to you.”
“I swear to you—-” began White.
“The time has not come for you to swear anything,” said McNorton sternly, “there is only one place where a man need take his oath, and that is on nike air max sale the witness-stand. I will tell you this frankly, that we are as much in the dark as you pretend to be. There is only one man who knows or guesses the secret of the Green Rust, and that man is Beale.”
“You have met the gentleman, I believe? I hope you don’t have to meet him again. The Green Rust may mean little. It may mean no more than that you will lose your money, and I should imagine that is the least which will happen to you. On the other hand, Mr. White, I do not disguise from you the fact that it may also mean your death at the hands of the law.”
White made a gurgling noise in his throat and held on to the desk for support.
“I have only the haziest information as to what it is all about, but somehow”–McNorton knit his brows in a frown and was speaking half to himself–“I seem to feel that it is a bad busine cheap nike air max ss–a damnably bad business.”
He took up his hat from the table and walked to the door.
“I don’t know whether to say au revoir or good-bye,” he said with twitching lips.
“Good-bye–ah–is a very good old-fashioned word,” said Mr. White, in an heroic attempt to imitate the other’s good humour.
Chapter 18 Bridgers Breaks Loose
Dr. van Heerden sat by the side of the big four-poster bed, where the girl lay, and his cold blue eyes held a spark of amusement.
“You look very foolish,” he said.
Oliva Cresswell turned her head sharply so as to remove the man from her line of vision.
More than this she could not do, for her hands and feet were strapped, and on the pillow, near her head, was a big bath-towel saturated with water which had been employed in

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