“Have you ever known Sir Gilbert Carstairs visit Glasgow recently?” asked Mr. Lindsey, who had listened attentively to all this.
“He was there three weeks ago,” replied Hollins.
“And—Edinburgh?” suggested Mr. Lindsey.
“He went regularly to Edinburgh—at one time—twice a week,” said the butler. And then, Mr. Lindsey not making any further remark, he glanced at him and at Mr. Portlethorpe. “Of course, gentlemen,” he continued, “this is all between ourselves. I feel it my duty, you know.”
Mr. Lindsey answered that we all understood the situation, and presently he let the man out, after a whispered sentence or two between them in the hall. Then he came back to us, and without a word as to what had just transpired, drew the Smeaton letter from his pocket.
ALL IN ORDER
So that we might have it to ourselves, we had returned from Newcastle to Berwick in a first-class compartment, and in its privacy Mr. Lindsey had told Mr. Portlethorpe the whole of the Smeaton story. Mr. Portlethorpe had listened—so it seemed to me—with a good deal of irritation and impatience; he was clearly one of those people who do not like interference with what they regard as an established order of things, and it evidently irked him to have any questions raised as to the Carstairs affairs—which, of course, he himself had done much to settle when Sir Gilbert succeeded to the title. In his opinion, the whole thing was cut, dried, and done with, and he was still impatient and restive when Mr. Lindsey laid before him the letter which Mr. Gavin Smeaton had lent us, and invited him to look carefully at the handwriting. He made no proper response to that invitation; what he did was to give a peevish glance at the letter, and then push it aside, with an equally peevish exclamation.
“What of it?” he said. “It conveys nothing to me!”
“Take your time, Portlethorpe,” remonstrated Mr. Lindsey, who was unlocking a drawer in his desk. “It’ll perhaps convey something to you when you compare that writing with a certain signature which I shall now show you. This,” he continued, as he produced Gilverthwaite’s will, and laid it before his visitor, “is the will of the man whose coming to Berwick ushered in all these mysteries. Now, then—do you see who was one of the witnesses to the will? Look, man!”
Mr. Portlethorpe looked—and was startled out of his peevishness.