FIVE minutes later, standing in another room—his own—the Hawk rapidly changed the light-grey suit he had been wearing for one of a darker material. From the pockets of the discarded suit he transferred to the pockets of the suit he had just put on, amongst other things, his automatic and his bunch of skeleton keys. He opened his trunk, removed the false tray, and smiled with a sort of grim complacency as his glance inventoried its unhallowed contents; and particularly he smiled, as, opening a little box, he allowed a stream of gleaming stones to trickle out into the palm of his hand—the twenty thousand dollars' worth of diamonds robbed from the Fast Mail three nights ago.

“Some haul!” observed the Hawk softly. “And, with any luck, there'll be something else there worth the whole outfit put together before to-night is over.” He replaced the diamonds in the box, the box in the tray, and spoke again, but now his smile was hard and twisted; not an article there but he had scooped from under the noses of the gang. “Yes, I guess I'd go out like you'd snuff a candle if they ever get me, and I guess they're getting—querulous!”

The Hawk, however, had not opened the trunk purely for the opportunity it afforded of inspecting these few mementos, interesting as they might be. It was an excellent safeguard to change his clothes, but it would avail him very little if—well, any one, say—were still permitted to recognise—his face! From the top of the tray, where it lay upon the packages of banknotes that had once reposed in the paymaster's safe, the Hawk picked up a mask and slipped it into his pocket. He fitted the false tray back into the lid of the trunk, closed the trunk, locked it, put on a wide-brimmed, soft felt hat, locked the door of his room behind him, descended the narrow staircase, and stepped out on the street.

His destination was the Corona Hotel, but there was no particular hurry. Undoubtedly from the moment the Frenchman had left the train some, or one, of the gang had fastened on the man's trail; but the companionship of the Selkirk physician guaranteed the Frenchman's immediate safety. His own plan, as far as it was matured, was very simple. He meant to “spot” if he could, should that particular member, or members, of the gang be unknown to him personally, the man, or men, selected by the Wire Devils to shadow the Frenchman—and then watch the gang! The Hawk had no intention whatever of making an attempt on the Frenchman's property with the gang watching him—that would have been little less than the act of a fool who was bent on suicide! Since, therefore, he had no choice in the matter, he was quite content to have the gang take the initiatory risk in relieving the Frenchman of the handbag! After that—the Hawk's old twisted smile was back on his lips as he walked along—after that it became his business to see that the bag did not get very far out of his sight!

He reached and crossed the city park upon which the Corona Hotel fronted, entered the hotel, and, sauntering leisurely through the lobby, approached the desk. He glanced casually over the register; then, lighting a cigar, he selected a chair near the front windows where he could command a general view of the lobby, and sat down.

Doctor Meunier's room was Number 106.

Once the Hawk's eyes lazily surveyed the lobby; thereafter they appeared to be intent on what was passing in the street. He was in luck! The first trick, at least, had gone to him. Lolling in a chair near the elevator doors, and apparently drowsy from a heavy luncheon, was—the Bantam. The Hawk smoked on. Half an hour went by. The Bantam appeared to awaken with a start, smiled sheepishly about him, went over to the news stand, bought a paper—and returned to his seat. The Hawk finished his cigar, rose, strolled to the main entrance, and went out. The Bantam could be safely trusted to see that Doctor Meunier did not vanish into thin air! He would do the like for the Bantam! He crossed over into the park.

The Hawk chose a bench—strategically. Sheltered by a row of trees, he had the corner upon which the hotel was built diagonally before him, and could see both the side entrance on the cross street and the front entrance on the main thoroughfare.

The Hawk's vigil, however, was not immediately rewarded. An hour passed—and yet another—and the greater portion of the afternoon. Five o'clock came. A newsboy passed, crying the Evening Journal. The Hawk bought one. A headline in heavy type on the front page instantly caught his eye:

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