“Aye!” he said. “You’ll be thinking that this is all of a piece with the other affair. And to be sure, they found Crone’s body close by where you found yon other man—Phillips.”
“Where, then?” I asked. “And when?”
“I tell you, not an hour ago,” he replied. “The news just came in. I was going down here to see if any of the neighbours at the shop saw Crone in any strange company last night.”
I hesitated for a second or two, and then spoke out.
“I saw him myself last night,” said I. “I went to his shop—maybe it was nine o’clock—to buy some bits of stuff to make Tom Dunlop a door to his rabbit-hutch, and I was there talking to him ten minutes or so. He was all right then—and I saw nobody else with him.”
“Aye, well, he never went home to his house last night,” observed Chisholm. “I called in there on my way down—he lived, you know, in a cottage by the police-station, and I dropped in and asked the woman that keeps house for him had she seen him this morning, and she said he never came home last night at all. And no wonder—as things are!”
“But you were saying where it happened,” I said.
“Where he was found?” said he. “Well, and it was where Till runs into Tweed—leastways, a bit up the Till. Do you know John McIlwraith’s lad—yon youngster that they’ve had such a bother with about the school—always running away to his play, and stopping out at nights, and the like—there was the question of sending him to a reformatory, you’ll remember? Aye, well, it turns out the young waster was out last night in those woods below Twizel, and early this morning—though he didn’t let on at it till some time after—he saw the body of a man lying in one of them deep pools in Till. And when he himself was caught by Turndale, who was on the look out for him, he told of what he’d seen, and Turndale and some other men went there, and they found—Crone!”
“You were saying there were marks of violence,” said I.
“I haven’t seen them myself,” he answered. “But by Turndale’s account—it was him brought in the news—there is queer marks on the body. Like as if—as near as Turndale could describe it—as if the man had been struck down before he was drowned. Bruises, you understand.”
“Where is he?” I asked.
“He’s where they took Phillips,” replied Chisholm. “Dod!—that’s two of ’em that’s been taken there within—aye, nearly within the week!”
“What are you going to do, now?” I inquired.
“I was just going, as I said, to ask a question or two down here—did anybody hear Crone say anything last night about going out that way?” he answered. “But, there, I don’t see the good of it. Between you and me, Crone was a bit of a night-bird—I’ve suspected him of poaching, time and again. Well, he’ll do no more of that! You’ll be on your way to the office, likely?”
“Straight there,” said I. “I’ll tell Mr. Lindsey of this.”