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The Diamond Queen
by [?]

It seemed to make no difference to the customs man that Kennedy did not exactly welcome him with open arms. “The De Guerres are well-known dealers in diamonds, one of the leading houses in the ‘city of diamonds,’ as Antwerp has been called. One of the De Guerres is on the Sylvania, the junior partner–” he paused, then added,–“the husband, I believe, of Rawaruska. I thought perhaps you might be willing to try to help me.”

“I should be glad to,” replied Kennedy tersely, pondering what the officer had told us.

Nothing more was said on the trip and at last we came to the Sylvania, lying grim and dark of hull off the little cluster of Quarantine buildings, with myriads of twinkling lights on her, far above but scarcely relieving the blackness of the leviathan form.

Thompson, the purser, a quiet, unexcitable Englishman, met us as we came over the side, and for the moment we lost sight of our new-found friend, Wade.

“Perhaps you didn’t know it,” informed Thompson as we made our way through the ship, “but Rawaruska was married–had been for some time.”

“Who was her husband?” queried Kennedy, seeking confirmation of what we had already heard.

“Armand De Guerre, a Belgian, of Antwerp,” was the reply, “one of the partners in a famous old diamond-cutting firm of that city.”

Kennedy looked at the purser keenly for a moment, then asked, “Were they traveling together?”

“Oh, yes,–that is, he had engaged a room, but you know how crowded the boats are with refugees fleeing to America from the war. He gave up his room, or rather his share of it, to a woman, a professional saleswoman, well known, I believe, in Antwerp as well as the Rue de la Paix in Paris and Maiden Lane and Fifth Avenue of your city, a Miss Hoffman–Elsa Hoffman. She shared the room with Rawaruska, while De Guerre took his chances in the steerage.”

As we walked down one of the main corridors we noticed ahead of us a seemingly very nervous and excited gentleman engaged apparently in a heated conversation with another.

“Monsieur De Guerre,” whispered Thompson as we approached.

The two seemed to be just on the point of parting, as we neared them, and, I think, our approach hastened them. I could not hear what one of them said, but I heard De Guerre almost hiss, as he turned on his heel, “Well, sir, you were the last one seen with her alive.”

A moment later the purser introduced us to De Guerre. There was something about him which I can hardly express on paper, a sort of hypnotic fascination. I felt instinctively that such a man would wield a powerful influence over some women. Was it in his eyes, or was it merely his ardent foreign grace?

“You must find out the truth,” he cried eagerly. “Already they are saying that it was suicide. But I cannot believe it. It cannot be. No,–she was murdered!”

Kennedy ventured no opinion, but now, more than ever, hastened to signify to the purser that he wanted to look over the ground as quickly as possible before the ship docked.

Rawaruska, we found, had occupied Room 186, on the port side of one of the lower decks. Kennedy seemed to be keenly interested, as we approached the room in which the body still lay, awaiting arrival at the pier a few hours later.

The stateroom, apparently, ran to the very skin of the vessel and the ports opened directly on the water, not upon an outside deck, as with the rooms above it. It was an outside room at the end of a sort of cross alleyway, and it was impossible that anyone could have reached it except through the corridors.

Attached to it was a little bath and directly across from the bath, on the other side, was another small room which was occupied by her maid, Cecilie, a French girl.