He handed me the paper and pointed to the attestation clause with which it ended. And I saw the two names at once—John Phillips, Michael Carstairs—and I let out a cry of astonishment.
“Aye, you may well exclaim!” said he, taking the will back. “John Phillips!—that’s the man was murdered the other night! Michael Carstairs—that’s the elder brother of Sir Gilbert yonder at Hathercleugh, the man that would have succeeded to the title and estates if he hadn’t predeceased old Sir Alexander. What would he be doing now, a friend of Gilverthwaite’s?”
“I’ve heard that this Mr. Michael Carstairs went abroad as a young man, Mr. Lindsey, and never came home again,” I remarked. “Likely he foregathered with Gilverthwaite out yonder.”
“Just that,” he agreed. “That would be the way of it, no doubt. To be sure! He’s set down in this attestation clause as Michael Carstairs, engineer, American Quarter, Colon; and John Phillips is described as sub-contractor, of the same address. The three of ’em’ll have been working in connection with the Panama Canal. But—God bless us!—there’s some queer facts coming out, my lad! Michael Carstairs knows Gilverthwaite and Phillips in yon corner of the world—Phillips and Gilverthwaite, when Michael Carstairs is dead, come home to the corner of the world that Michael Carstairs sprang from. And Phillips is murdered as soon as he gets here—and Gilverthwaite dies that suddenly that he can’t tell us a word of what it’s all about! What is it all about—and who’s going to piece it all together? Man!—there’s more than murder at the bottom of all this!”
It’s a wonder that I didn’t let out everything that I knew at that minute. And it may have been on the tip of my tongue, but just then he gave me a push towards our door.
“I heard your mother say your dinner was waiting you,” he said. “Go in, now; we’ll talk more this afternoon.”
He strode off up the street, and I turned back and made haste with my dinner. I wanted to drop in at Crone’s before I went again to the office: what had just happened, had made me resolved that Crone and I should speak out; and if he wouldn’t, then I would. And presently I was hurrying away to his place, and as I turned into the back lane that led to it I ran up against Sergeant Chisholm.
“Here’s another fine to-do, Mr. Moneylaws!” said he. “You’ll know yon Abel Crone, the marine-store dealer? Aye, well, he’s been found drowned, not an hour ago, and by this and that, there’s queer marks, that looks like violence, on him!”
THE SALMON GAFF
I gave such a jump on hearing this that Chisholm himself started, and he stared at me with a question in his eyes. But I was quick enough to let him know that he was giving me news that I hadn’t heard until he opened his lips.
“You don’t tell me that!” I exclaimed. “What!—more of it?”